5 August 2020John 11:45-57
Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. (v. 45)
Psalm: Psalm 97
The raising of Lazarus from death led many of those who witnessed it to join the growing number of Jesus' followers (verse 45). As Jesus himself would say to Thomas much later, "You believe because you see, but even more blessed are those who don't see, yet believe" (John 20:29). If we're honest, we're all more willing to believe something once we have seen some evidence to back it up, so let's not be too harsh in judging the masses mentioned in verse 45 who believed in Jesus after witnessing Lazarus being raised from the dead.
This event is a turning point – not just for all those people who became believers as a result of it, but also for how things were going to pan out for Jesus and his disciples from here onwards. The Jewish ruling body first saw him as a threat (verses 47-48), and then after Caiaphas' pep talk, as a pawn (verse 50). Both options have the same ultimate goal: Jesus must die.
Meanwhile, word about Jesus is spreading fast. As more people hear what happened to Lazarus, more people turn up to catch a glimpse of Jesus in action (verse 56). Jesus, meanwhile, had withdrawn from the bustle to spend more time with his disciples (verse 54).
- Why do you think the Pharisees and chief priests were so concerned about Jesus' popularity?
- If you were a leader and suddenly became very famous, how would you cope?