The Lazarus Plot

Bible Reading: John 12:1-11

John 12:10, “So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well.”

Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus had been dead and lying in a cave for four days. By His mere word, Jesus called him forth. It was an amazing miracle that testified clearly to the true identity and glory of Jesus (John 11:40). There were many witnesses and two differing responses. Some believed, others refused to accept the truth and instead did all they could to suppress it.

The chief priests and Pharisees heard about what happened.  They “gathered the council and said, ‘What are we to do?  For this man performs many signs.  If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation’” (John 11:47).  They had no heart or regard for the truth, but were concerned instead about maintaining their power and its associated monetary gain.  The verdict of their council?  “From that day on they made plans to put him to death” (John 11:53).

The miraculous raising of Lazarus from the dead was a problem for them.  A great multitude sought after Lazarus (John 12:9).  “The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness” (John 12:17).  The word regarding Jesus was spreading. 

The light of the world came into the world—and there are but two possible responses to Him—come to the light (love the light) or hate the light.  John 3:19-21, “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.  For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.  But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

So, the religious leaders met together and came up with a plan.  Kill Lazarus.  Put him back in a tomb.  Put a stop to his living testimony regarding Christ.  Stop the word from spreading.  Stop people from believing in Him.  It mattered not what the truth was.  They hated the light.  He revealed things about them they didn’t want disclosed.  He was a threat to their livelihood.  Instead of accepting the clear testimony borne by the miracle, they plotted to put Lazarus back in the grave!

Jesus Christ died on a cross and was buried in a tomb.  A stone, a seal, and a Roman guard were set in place to keep the light extinguished.  Their evil deed accomplished; the religious leaders rested.  But the light escaped.  The religious leaders assembled, took counsel, and bribed the soldiers to lie about what happened (Matthew 28:11-15)

Risen from the dead “He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs” (Acts 1:3; 1 Corinthians 15:5-7).  Peter and John and the others were witnesses to the light.  Filled with the Spirit, they were boldly “proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead” (Acts 4:2).  So, the religious leaders “gathered together” in another council (Acts 4:5).  They put Peter and John on trial and conspired again to extinguish the light of the truth (Acts 4:9).  They charged Peter and John “not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus” (Acts 4:18).  But the light, the witness to the truth of Jesus’ resurrection, could not be stopped.  People kept on believing.  The religious leaders kept on threatening and even murdering, the Apostles kept on preaching (Acts 4:31, 7:57-60, 12:1-2).  And so, it has been ever since.

“Light haters are always working to suppress the truth.  But Lazarus lived.  And Jesus now lives.  Nothing can change that truth.  You can try to shut up or lock up those who bear witness to the truth, ‘but the Word of God is not bound’ (2 Timothy 2:9)!  And not all will hate the Light.  Some hear the truth of the gospel—the power of God unto salvation—and believe (Romans 1:16).  They come into the light and rejoice in it!”


How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
is laid for your faith in God’s excellent Word!
What more can be said than to you God hath said,
to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

“Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
for I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

“When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
the rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
for I will be near thee, thy troubles to bless,
and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
my grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
the flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

“The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
that soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no, never, no, never forsake.”

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: