“Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, 11 for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.” John 12.9-11
No one likes to be one-upped. Athletes can’t stand it, politicians hate it and religious leaders fear it. In this passage, Jesus has just one-upped death by raising Lazarus from the grave. The Jewish religious leaders were also one-upped as now the large crowds were leaving them and going over and believing in Jesus.
So they thought that if they killed Lazarus they might get a leg-up. Don’t they realize Jesus just raised this guy from the grave and could do it again? Don’t they realize that trying to kill Lazarus violates the Law of Moses and makes them no better than the “sinners” they are trying to convert?
We definitely see a power struggle going on here. A struggle between the establishment and what appears to be a new thing and movement in the ministry of Jesus. The power struggle happens when people become threatened by someone or something they don’t understand. The religious leaders did not understand Jesus. They did not understand that he was (and is) the fulfillment of the Law of God and that he was (and is) God in the flesh.
Satan was also threatened by Jesus. The underlying spiritual battle that was being fought would shock and surprise many of us. We see with out human eyes what is only above the surface but behind the veil of spirit is a world competing for our souls. Take the scene of Jesus in the temple and all the going-ons of the Jews then overlay that with angels, demons, and a swirling mass of God’s Holy Spirit working to turn hearts and minds to Jesus.
Our battle is not against flesh and blood. Period. The power struggle we face everyday as we stand up for the truth of God’s Word is trying to be subverted by dark forces who are influencing often good people. But the good news is that God wins. His truth remains and his Scripture survives the scrutiny of this world.
“O Lord God, you are the everlasting God, the Eternal One, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I praise you Father for your faithfulness. I thank you for the power of your name and the strength of your Spirit. Have your way with me! Convert this world so all might have salvation in the name of Jesus, abundant life today and eternal life to come. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen