John chapter 12

You’re killing me!

“When all the people heard of Jesus’ arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead. Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too.” – Vs 9-10 NLT

I love the Pharisees. Not in an admirable way, but in a kind of rubber-necking-wreck-on-the-side-of-the-highway kind of way. There’s just something about them that intrigues and attracts me. Maybe it’s because I see a lot of myself in them. In this story in chapter 11 of John, I find it quite humorous that their solution to the presence of Lazarus, this guy that Jesus miraculously raised from the dead, is to kill him. Think about it. Is that not a really bad solution to their problem? I mean, I understand that it was a real hassle having this guy walking around telling people that he had once been dead but now was alive all because of Jesus. Sure, his story of resucitation  from death to life was causing a lot of people to become followers of Jesus, but does killing him really makes sense? Is that the best solution you can come up with? After all, Jesus JUST raised him from the DEAD! Couldn’t He do it again?

But isn’t that the way men think? Rather than see the miraculous nature of what Christ had done as living proof of who He claimed to be, they would rather just destroy the evidence. Which is why I think Jesus warned us that the world would hate us. “The world would love you if you belonged to it, but you don’t. I chose you to come out of the world, and so it hates you” (John 15:9 NLT). The world hates the message and the messengers. It hates what and who we stand for. So its only solution is to destroy us. But Jesus told us, “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill you. They can only kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). The Psalmist reminds us, “In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psalms 56:11 NASB). They could have killed Lazarus, but Jesus could have just brought him back to life. I am not saying He would have, but He could have. And even if Jesus chose not to, the death of Lazarus would not have been the end. Jesus came to give abundant life now, but eternal life forever. That’s why death is not a dead end. For those who believe in Christ, it is just the beginning. In fact, Jesus says just a few verses later, “Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who despise their life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25 NLT). Jesus’ healing of Lazarus wasn’t about restoring physical life on this earth, but to prove that Jesus was the Messiah and had the power and authority to promise eternal life. The Pharisees didn’t know what to do with Jesus or His miracles. They didn’t know what to do with Lazarus. The best they could come up with was to kill him. But he had been dead before. He would live to die again. But he would rise again. Just like we all will. But the next time it would not be to more of the same kind of life he had come to know, but to a new life altogether. Eternal life. Free from sin, sickness, and death.

Recently I ran across the lyrics to a song that has really meant a lot to me. I catch myself listening to it throughout the day, even at night as I am going to sleep. Check out the lyrics and see if they are not an encouragement to you.

It is not death to die
To leave this weary road
And join the saints who dwell on high
Who’ve found their home with God
It is not death to close
The eyes long dimmed by tears
And wake in joy before Your throne
Delivered from our fears

O Jesus, conquering the grave
Your precious blood has power to save
Those who trust in You
Will in Your mercy find
That it is not death to die

It is not death to fling
Aside this earthly dust
And rise with strong and noble wing
To live among the just
It is not death to hear
The key unlock the door
That sets us free from mortal years
To praise You evermore

O Jesus, conquering the grave
Your precious blood has power to save
Those who trust in You
Will in Your mercy find
That it is not death to die

© 2008 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)

It is not death to die. It is to live!

Father, give me a boldness to face death fearlessly. Remind me constantly that I have nothing to fear from death or from men. They can only kill me, but you have already given me new life. It is not death to die. Help me believe that. They can kill the messenger, but not the message of hope that is found in the Gospel. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org