As we look at this last section of John 11, we see that His intention in allowing His friend Lazarus to die (and then be gloriously raised to life by Jesus) resulted in two reactions: (1) belief on the part of some; (2) a prophesied plot to take Jesus’ life. Let’s read our section one last time …..
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.
“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”
49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”
51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. 53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life.
54 Therefore Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the people of Judea. Instead he withdrew to a region near the wilderness, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples.
55 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, many went up from the country to Jerusalem for their ceremonial cleansing before the Passover. 56 They kept looking for Jesus, and as they stood in the temple courts they asked one another, “What do you think? Isn’t he coming to the festival at all?” 57 But the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who found out where Jesus was should report it so that they might arrest him.
Caiaphas was God’s messenger (without Caiaphas’ awareness or permission) in predicting the death of the Lord Jesus. Jesus has to withdraw from the public, spending time with His disciples.
Many tried to see whether Jesus would attend the Passover. But Jesus was a wanted man. The chief priests and the Pharisees wanted Jesus’ presence reported so He could be arrested.
And so ends John 11. We read in the next chapter of John: “9Meanwhile 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.” Jesus’ plan worked to perfection! Many were believing in Him. Not all. But many. At the cost of Lazarus’ earthly life and at the cost of Jesus’ sacrificial death, belief in the Lord was the result. For some.
The religious leaders’ hatred of Jesus was so strong that now they wanted to kill Lazarus as well. Presumably, this man did die a second time, either at their hands or through “natural” death. But it was well worth it.