John 11:38-44 (Lazarus raised from the dead)
John 11:43b-44 NKJV
John 11:39 ESV
John 11:46-48 ESV
John 11:54 ESV
John 11:57b ESV
John 12:1-11, John 12:3-5 (Mary anoints Jesus’ feet)
John 12:6c ESV
John 12:9-11 ESV
John 12:12-15 ESV
Zechariah 9:9 ESV
The day began unlike other days. Jesus could feel the tension in the air.
See, we know from John 11:38-44, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. While Jesus had been known and remembered for many miracles, this miracle was different. Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. In John 11:39 even Lazarus’ sister warned Jesus going into the tomb wasn’t advisable. “Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.”
Jesus did not go into the tomb. Instead In John 11:43b-44 Jesus called Lazarus out of the tomb, ““Lazarus, come forth!” And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth.”
In John 11:46-48, we read some who were there, “went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees 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.”
This miracle not only was different than others, it raised eyebrows. The Pharisees and chief priests were suddenly afraid they might soon be out of a job.
In John 11:54 we learn, “Jesus therefore no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there to the region near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim, and there he stayed with the disciples.”
In John 11:57b the learn the Pharisees had said they were looking for Jesus and made it clear, “if anyone knew where he was, he should let them know, so that they might arrest him.”
The Pharisees weren’t about to take Lazarus’ resurrection lightly because they were not willing to let Jesus endanger their way of life.
These highly trained holy men who gave their lives to serving God weren’t willing to let anything…I mean ANYTHING upend their way of life.
In John 12:1-11 Jesus was in Bethany and the same Lazarus was there. Lazarus’ sisters Mary and Martha were there and Mary took expensive ointment and anointed Jesus’ feet. She then wiped His feet with her hair.
When Judas Iscariot saw what she did he complained that the expensive oil should have been used to feed the poor (John 12:3-5). In reality though, Judas was the disciple who held the money bag and he knew the oil could have been sold for 300 denarii. Judas wanted that money in the moneybag so he could “help himself to what was put into it” (John 12:6c.)
Are you starting to get an idea about what level of corruption one of Jesus’ own disciples was involved in?
Also, in John 12:9-11 we are reminded, yet again that “When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.”
So, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.
The Pharisees and chief priests were freaking out because this son of a carpenter (who wasn’t even an educated Pharisee) was ‘messing with’ their livelihood. I mean, seriously, they had studied for DECADES and they were afraid this Jesus man was about to put them out of a job.
They knew they needed to do something big FAST before Jesus pulled off more miracles that made them look even worse!
Behind the scenes they had to be developing a big scale plan to save their life’s work!
We also have to bear in mind the whole scene with Jesus and Mary with the oil.
Judas was very unhappy that she used such expensive oil to pour on Jesus’ feet. Judas could sure have used the 300 denarii in the moneybag. I mean, he was careful about how much money he skimmed out of the bag for himself but 300 denarii would have made a huge difference with his cash flow issues.
Just days before Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, that’s what Jesus was dealing with.
The truth is…Jesus is God’s own Son and He would have known everything that was going on behind the scenes. He would have known, not only that the chief priests and the Pharisees were plotting against Him, He would have known WHICH priests and Pharisees were plotting and what they were saying about Him.
Jesus would have also known WHY they were so upset. He could have confronted them about their plot to seize Him. They weren’t thinking about the people they served. They didn’t really care about the people who came to the Temple to worship. They were worried that their way of life was in danger. They were worried about their JOBs.
Jesus knew what they were thinking and why they were plotting, but He said nothing about their schemes.
Jesus also would have known that one of His own disciples was skimming coins out of the moneybag. He would have known that the reason Judas argued about Mary using expensive oil was NOT so he could feed the poor. Jesus would have known that Judas wanted the money for himself. Jesus knew Judas was lying.
But He said nothing about the lie.
All of that is what had happened just prior to Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem.
In John 12:12-15 we are told, “The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt!”
And, as it is written? We find that prophecy written by Zechariah in Zechariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
The Triumphal Entry had been proclaimed by the Prophet Zechariah around 520 B.C. More than likely no one in the crowd that day made the connection. Even though the Pharisees had memorized scripture and studied it all their lives, they missed the point.
Jesus knew that as well.
Everything that Jesus faced just days before His glorious ride into Jerusalem would have been on His mind because while Jesus was fully divine he was also fully human.
As he rode in and waved to the on lookers He would have known the Pharisees and chief priests were plotting to arrest him. He would have known Judas was stealing and lying about it. Jesus would have known even though the Prophet Zechariah wrote about this moment more than five hundred years prior, no one made the connection.
Jesus also knew none of that really mattered.
What did matter was that He forgave the chief priests and the Pharisees who were plotting against him. He forgave them for being selfish and self-centered about saving their jobs. He forgave them for thinking about themselves more than thinking about what God wanted.
Jesus also forgave Judas…one of His own for stealing money. Then Jesus forgave him for lying about it.
Jesus knew the Pharisees, the chief priests, and Judas were closing in on Him but He forgave them.
So the next time we think about how hard it is to choose to forgive someone, we really do need to remember what Jesus had on his ‘forgiveness’ plate.
It was a whole lot more than we can see at first glance.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Forgive
Choose to forgive someone who may not deserve it.
In God, Deborah