No one knows what goes on behind closed doors, or do we? No responsible Christian ever settles for only being told what will keep you blindly following along. Whatever lies someone is using to keep you from the truth is holding you in bondage to themselves. Thank God we know what really happened when it comes to the raising of Lazarus from the dead. This was all performed for the glory of God, that we might believe. Yet there are always those who think they know better than all the rest. Something great had just happened before a multitude of witnesses, and then the information was relayed to the high priest by his minions. Let's take a closer look behind the scenes.
45 Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.
Not only had Jesus done this amazing miracle, but "many of the Jews" or Judaeans "believed on him" as a result. We know all these Judaeans were probably not all Israelites. Yet even though no Edomite can believe to the salvation of the soul, there still were those who were Israelites who did believe on Him. This was Christ's intent from the very beginning. CHRIST PERFORMED THIS MIRACLE FOR THE SAKE OF FAITH. Remember, right after Christ told the Disciples that Lazarus had died, He said, "And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe..." Though non-whites can rattle off theology and even become emotional, they cannot believe on Christ. Christ taught faith, He did miracles to increase His Disciples faith- there is nothing evil about teaching people to believe. GOD'S PEOPLE BELIEVING WAS THE OVERALL INTENT OF THIS GOSPEL BEING WRITTEN BY JOHN.
30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
Israelites coming to life in their faith is the reason this Gospel was written. Even in John's First Epistle, we see his intent was in deepening their faith in Christ:
I JOHN 5:12-13
12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
WHEN WE "BELIEVE ON THE NAME" WE ARE BELIEVING IN HIS POWER. Therefore, one of the main intents of this Divine Textbook we call the Bible is to teach us to have faith in the power of God, as was illustrated by Christ raising Lazarus from the dead. This is an essential aspect of what those who claim to be preachers and teachers are to be teaching. Those who are teachers of the Bible must fulfill this responsibility or they are missing the purpose God intended when these Books were written. One is only able to teach something when they are not resisting its power.
It takes far more effort to deny the power of God than it does to embrace it. Mary's humility influenced many others to believe, while there is no mention of Martha's great theological knowledge accomplishing anything other than her own confusion. You can have all the Scriptures memorized in your head, but if you do not have faith in your heart, it will not produce what God intends.
So it looks like a happy ending to this wonderful story. Yet (as we will see) there were obviously just too "many" who were getting overly zealous, who "had seen the things which Jesus did". It may be hard to comprehend, but there were actually those who were upset that the people were growing in their faith in Christ:
46 But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.
Note how "some of them" responded who were witnesses of the exact same thing as those who believed. As will become apparent, they "went their ways" back to their religious leader for final approval. Imagine what would have occured inside of you to witness Christ raising Lazarus from the dead. Yet for some reason, all that these could worry about was what their leader would think. First of all, why do you leave Christ and secondly why do you need external confirmation, since you have the Spirit of God? What good is it to call ourselves Identity Christians, claiming to be set free, if we have no more faith than when we were in the church or claimed no religious affiliation at all? DON'T RUN FROM THE OPPORTUNITY TO DEEPEN YOUR FAITH IN CHRIST, IN EXCHANGE FOR ANY MAN'S APPROVAL. They were running back to a group of Pharisees. No one supposedly knew more. The problem is though they had turned their backs on Christ to go back to them.
20 I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
According to the Apostle Paul, when it comes to living for Christ, there's only one way. Yet when it comes to following others, we can allow our flesh to convince us that "their ways" are better than faith. Which way are you going: Christ's way, by coming to life in your faith, or one of the other ways, which are of Christ in name only? If you are an Israelite, especially one who adheres to Christian Identity, why do you not see that Christ is the only One you are to follow, not any man. Don't be like these who would not think for themselves. They couldn't even rejoice for a little while after they witnessed a great miracle, but felt so compelled to run to their leader. STOP RUNNING TO THOSE WHO ARE ONLY GOING TO EXPLAIN YOUR FAITH IN CHRIST AWAY. The way of Christ does not lead to being loyal to Pharisees. Check carefully to see if this might be what you've done. Letting go of one form of Phariseeism for another doesn't bring you any closer to Christ. The choice is between remaining under men's burdens or taking on the easy yoke and light burden of faith in Christ.
All Pharisees today do not come out of judeochristianity. A modern Pharisee is anyone who thinks they have a corner on truth and feel it is their rite to do anything in the power of their flesh to destroy those who do not go along with or bow down to their beliefs. THESE WERE THE ENEMIES OF CHRIST THEN, AND THEY ARE NOT HIS TRUE DISCIPLES TODAY. If you find yourself making your way to report or even find out all the 'juicy details' about how someone else doesn't line up, you may be loyal to a Pharisee and not even be conscious of it.
47 Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.
WHEN THERE'S TROUBLE, THAT IS USUALLY THE ONLY TIME A PHARISEE GETS EXCITED. As in this case, they are masters at creating trouble out of anything, when it suits their purpose: "Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council" to rejoice together at the news of Christ raising Lazarus from the dead? -Not quite. Rather, to twist how this whole thing of Christ raising Lazarus from the dead has somehow created a huge problem. They have "gathered... a council" to determine how they are going to shut Him down.
What a huge problem this was for those who considered themselves the most learned experts of the Scriptures in their day. The idea of God supernaturally intervening in someone's life to bring Himself glory confounded and scared them to death. Weren't they supposed to be men of God? THE ONLY THING WE ARE SUPPOSSED TO "DO" IN THIS CASE IS JUST BELIEVE.
48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.
Notice, what they were about to act on wasn't based on faith at all, but on fear. That's the thing about a Pharisee, the really nasty ones refuse to "let" or leave others they can't control "alone" as they feel threatened by them in some way. What they were operating on didn't even have any basis in fact or reality. THIS WAS ALL BASED ON THEIR VAIN IMAGINATIONS AND THEY COULDN'T DO ANYTHING TO STOP CHRIST ANYWAY. From their perspective, it was that they were afraid of more people being led estray. They felt they must take action in some way because they were afraid of more people believing, or that "all men will believe on him". It was okay as long as everybody seemed to agree with what they said about Christ. But Pharisees will not tolerate others knowing things which did not come from them. Learn to keep teachers in proper perspective. Understand they can be helpful but they can also hurt you if they put themselves between you and God. THE REAL ISSUE BETWEEN CHRIST AND PHARISEES IS FAITH AND THE INDWELLING SPIRIT OF GOD. They see themselves as who it is that determines what others believe and as the final authority. Christ gave an example of how Pharisees like to do this:
23 Woe unto you, scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have ommitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
How is it not evil to discourage people from putting their full faith in Christ? The Spirit inside you is always leading you to put your full faith in Christ. Whereas some men downplay faith, making you feel pressure that everything must go thru their 'expert filter' before it can come to you. DO NOT GRIEVE THE HOLY SPIRIT BY ALLOWING OTHERS TO POUR COLD WATER ON YOUR FAITH.
Why couldn't they just "let him thus alone"? What had He actually done to them? THEY JUST COULD NOT STAND THAT OTHERS WERE BELIEVING IN SOMETHING THEY HAD NOT COME UP WITH OR HAD NO CONTROL OVER THEMSELVES. Christianity is supposed to be about being set free, not allowing ourselves to be put under a whole other set of burdens. Who were they to presume it was their place to police everyone anyway?! What is this attitude where some think it is somehow Christian to go on campaigns of destruction? The Catholics were really good at that kind of thing for centuries, punishing whoever they arbitrarily chose. AT THIS POINT, THEIR MINDS WERE ONLY ON DAMAGE CONTROL AND SELF-PRESERVATION, NOT ON THE KINGDOM OR GLORY OF GOD.
1 As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honour is not seemly for a fool.
Pharisees can be some of the most dedicated and intelligent people you will ever meet, but usually have no sense of honor. They do like to promote how pious and righteous they think they are, though. But the only way our righteousness can exceed that of any Pharisee is to go beyond all they think they know. FOR THE RESULT OF WHAT PHARISEES TEACH STOPS PEOPLE FROM WALKING IN THE SPIRIT OF GOD. The only way to exceed their righteousness in a practical sense is to live by faith.
49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, 50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. 51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; 52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.
There was a particular "one of them" who was their leader. And though they followed him and may have hung on his every word, it appears he couldn't care less what any of them had to say as he told them, "Ye know nothing at all". What kind of an ego does it take for a man to get to where he thinks so much himself, that no one can show him, teach him, or help him with anything? This is the way it was.
MANY TIMES THESE HIGH PRIESTS ARE WALKING CONTRADICTIONS. He doesn't care what any of them think or have to say, yet he still talks about what's "expedient for us". What have we become a part of when it all begins and ends with someone else other than Christ?! In his mind really the "us" is only just him. He is only thinking of himself and only making them think they are important so they will go along with his agenda and deeds. He really cares nothing about people, other than what he can use them for.
REGARDLESS OF WHO IS "THE HIGH PRIEST", WE BETTER BECOME AND REMAIN LOYAL TO CHRIST. Whether this high priest was an Israelite or Edomite... he sure does handle himself alot like an Edomite jew, doesn't he? Note the way he lifts himself up above everyone else, as if he is beyond question in anything he desires to do or say.
17 The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul. 18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
Paul said, "Knowledge puffeth up, love edifieth." This man had no love even for those who agreed with him and wanted to help him the most. He thought they all were stupid and so far beneath him, as he declared that no one could tell him anything he didn't already know. THE HIGH PRIEST IS READY TO IMPOSE HIS WILL ON OTHERS. You could have asked one who was there listening to this guy, "Don't you see through him?" If their answer was something like, "See through what, don't you know who he is?" Then that person is blinded and deserves to follow such a leader. And if he doesn't even really care about the people around him, how can he really care about people as a whole or as a "nation"?
Of course "this spake he not of himself" (that he should die) as he thought himself to be 'IT'; how could they all survive without him? Besides, he "being high priest" assumed he had special priveleges and licenses no one else had. While they were all 'drinking the kool aid' on this guy, it appears they believed everything he said. What got his most spirited effort was wanting to increase the sufferings of others. In fact, we see what he really enjoyed was predicting and then trying to bring about the destruction and downfall of others such as "that Jesus should die for that nation". Yet to the unbiased onlooker, it was nothing but evil behind the scenes.
BEING A MAN AFTER THE FLESH HE COULD NOT SEE PAST CHRIST'S GRAVE. It's one thing to prophecy or make a prediction and then stand back and wait for it to comes to pass. It's quite another to prophecy something and then do everything you can to make it happen. Behind the scenes, they were predicting the death of the Son of God- how evil. They would also plan out how they would arrest him and carry out His execution. So 'prophecying' someone's harm or destruction and then attempting to carry it out- sounds like someone is trying to play God.
We can all extend mutual love, humility, and patience in order to grow with one another. This high priest is too busy for these things because he has it all figured out. All you could do to get along with him was just shut up and listen. He also raises himself up as the sole embodiment of judge, jury, and executioner over God's people. So in his view, Christ must be destroyed, not only to protect the 'lucky ones' who were already under his control, but to preserve the chance for others out there who might be 'corrupted' from having too much faith in Christ. If this isn't the 'god complex' then what is?!
Here is proof that he was very knowledgeable and insightful. For he even knew of the scattered tribes of Israel. This is far more than what most pastors know even today. Yet what it came down to is he sought to use whatever knowledge he had as a weapon. The rest of them continued to go along with it, even when it came to the carrying out of the death of the Son of God. But no one dares to question his knowledge, even now when he is clearly using it for evil. Do they not see how he is abusing his power and influence?!
53 Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death. 54 Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples.
How can anyone get so caught up in someone that they would go along with this? Because they dare not look too close at what led to this, as he is operating in the energy of the flesh. Oh, he did it all in the Name of God, but there is still much evil going on behind the scenes. IF ONLY THEY JUST WOULD HAVE PUT THEIR FAITH IN CHRIST INSTEAD.
Did Christ deserve this? Of course not, He was the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. But that doesn't make any difference to the high priest and those who are going along with this. Once the high priest made up his mind to destroy Christ "from that day forth" the campaign of destruction was on. They would slander Him, mock Him in their ridiculous trials: calling Him a blasphemer, even attributing His works to the devil. PHARISEES ALWAYS FALL BACK ON SPREADING FEAR AND LIES WHEN THEY FEEL IT'S NECESSARY.
Little did they know but what they were doing was pushing things even further beyond their control. The more the people heard of and believed in Christ, the more they were seeing thru the Pharisees. But that didn't stop the high priest and his henchmen who "from that day forth... took counsel together for to put him to death." Christ's message was Spirit and Life. Their message was fear and death. Christ's words were intended to edify and build up. Whereas their goal was only to tear down and destroy. He had exposed their one-dimensional religion for what it was- empty and powerless. They would not stop until He was dead. In the meantime, Christ saw no need to deal with them.
4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.
In fact, Jesus then appeared to have completely left the scene as He "walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples." After Christ raised up Lazarus, He withdrew. Yet we know when He appears on the scene again, He will be on His way to displaying even greater power and glory thru His own death, burial, and resurrection.
55 And the Jews' passover was nigh at hand: and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves. 56 Then sought they for Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the temple, What think ye, that he will not come to the feast?
Even beyond all that were gathered at the tomb of Lazarus who knew this family in the community, word of this miracle continued to spread. God always performs His miracles at the perfect time. The raising of Lazarus happened just before the Spring Feasts of Yahweh, where hundreds of thousands of people would come from all around "to Jerusalem" to observe the holy rehearsals taught in Leviticus chapter 23. 'Wonder what everyone was talking about as they entered the city? It was all about Him, as it should have been, for "sought they for Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the temple, What think ye, that he will not come to the feast?" DESPITE HIS ENEMIES' INFLUENCE AND EVIL INTENTIONS, CHRIST STILL CAPTURED THE PEOPLE'S HEARTS AND HAD THEIR ATTENTION. Obviously there were still plenty of people interested in Him despite their evil campaign. His enemies can plot all they want, God will still have His way in it all. For little did anyone know at the time, but because of this evil, which began behind the scenes in "the temple", that in 70 AD, their 'little play house' would be completely demolished.
57 Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him.
IF ONE IS CONVINCED THAT INCREASING YOUR FAITH IN CHRIST IS UNNECESSARY, YOU ARE FOLLOWING A MAN-MADE COMMANDMENT. It appears now they are just making this up as they go along. They have resorted to formulating their very own "commandment". A sign of a Pharisee is when they claim to stand so firm for the law of God, yet they still think it is within their rite to add a new one of their own. When it suits them, Pharisees feel it is their place to stand above others to protect their own interests, regardless of how it affects others, while somehow justifying it. From this point on, they are completely obsessed with Him, only "that they might take him." To think themselves so important, you would assume that they would have better, more productive things to do. Yet somehow such busy, important Pharisees always seem to somehow make the time. Understand, no matter how hard you try, you cannot please a Pharisee even if you become their slave. In addition, they usually have an unspoken 'do as I say, not as I do' personal policy, and will go to whatever measures to keep hidden any evil that's really happening in their own lives, behind the scenes.
Even after the miracle took place, these Pharisees still refused to humble themselves, feeling threatened, while seeking to protect their control over their followers. Isn't it amazing how some men think it is somehow their rite to make up their own commandments for others to live by? Isn't it even more amazing how their followers are too blind to see through it? WHOEVER WOULD OBEY THIS COMMANDMENT WOULD BE BETRAYING CHRIST. Everything they were doing, pointed to them putting their hands on God.
We have seen the masterful way Christ orchestrated everything to set the stage for this miracle. As the drama unfolded, we recognized more and more the essential importance of our role as believers. As Christ directed their attention to the grave and Lazarus came forth in resurrection power, each Israelite who witnessed this had to make a choice: come to life in your faith or keep looking to everything outside of yourself. Always remember, whatever is going on behind the scenes, God has a greater purpose that will always prevail, for the good, to those who love Him, even those who are being targeted by evil.