Laughingstock of the Temple

John 12:1 “Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.”

Observation: John 11 leaves us watching all Israel preparing for the Passover. Chapter 12 begins with a description of events in Bethany where Jesus stopped for a last visit with His friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus before heading on to Jerusalem. Most teaching on these verses has focused on two incidents: Mary’s anointing Jesus with costly perfume and Judas’s objecting to her supposed wastefulness. But some fascinating side comments are made about Lazarus that are fun to consider as well. In verse 1, John reminds us that Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, and in verse 9 we are told that multitudes of Jews learned that Jesus was in town and had come to see not only Him, but also Lazarus whom Jesus had raised. This led the chief priests to plot how to kill Lazarus also, “because on account of him many of the Jews were…believing in Jesus” (v. 11).

Application: John 12:2 says that Lazarus was reclining at the table with Jesus and his friends. What do you suppose conversation with him was about that evening? “Hey Lazarus, have you had any more resurrections lately? What was it like to be dead? Did you feel anything? Were your mind or your spirit aware of anything? How did ears four days dead hear Jesus call you out of the tomb?” The Word simply says he was reclining at the table, but we can be sure more was going on because “the large crowd of the Jews” came to see Him and then many became believers. And what of the poor, hapless chief priests? Could anything be more comical than for them to plot to kill Lazarus? He had already been dead once; had they succeeded in killing him again what would have become of their lofty reputations had Jesus raised him yet again? Surely Mrs. Caiaphas hissed that night to her husband, “Are you insane? You’ll make us the laughingstock of the temple!” This is the last we read of the plot against Lazarus. He was not going to stay dead ‘til it suited Jesus for him to stay dead.

What a great lesson for me to remember as I respond to life’s body blows. There will indeed come a day when I will be ushered into His presence, but until that moment arrives, all the demons and dark principalities together cannot defeat me. Our enemy is a tired, mangy lion with no teeth or claws; he even had Lazarus in the grave yet could not hold on to him!

Prayer: Lord Jesus, the truth of this causes my spirit to soar today. You have set me far above my enemies and have placed a hedge of Your protection around me. How I rejoice in Your good plan for my life. Grow me up, Lord, so I, like Lazarus, might recline at Your table and talk of Your exploits.

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