|Volume 24 Number 7 July 2022
Cecil May, Jr.
Paul told Titus, “But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned” (Titus 3:9-11 ESV). Among the “works of the flesh” are “enmity, strife… rivalries, dissensions, divisions.” These are numbered right along with “sexual immorality… idolatry… orgies.” “Those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19- 21). God strongly opposes those who, because they are eager for arguments and love to pick fights, bring division among brothers.
Lazarus had been raised from the grave by Christ. His family had been sorrowing for four days, and the resurrection of Lazarus far surpassed their expectations, which moved some to believe in Christ (John 11:45). We might expect that everyone in Bethany would be rejoicing with Mary and Martha because their mourning had been turned into joy.
However, there were some present whose hearts were so hardened and prejudiced that they could not be touched by the great miracle they witnessed. Rather, they watched Jesus only to find fault or to find some reason to discount His work. Some of them, therefore, went away to report to the Pharisees what Jesus had done (John 11:46).
John 12:10 states that the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death. What had he done to deserve descent into the grave a second time? Could they now accuse him of some immoral actions? Had he maybe blasphemed God? Had he flagrantly violated some of their customs? Was he about to lead a rebellion? Neither any these things nor any other charge of wrong or misconduct could be charged against him.
Instead, the answer is found in John 12:11, which reads, “Because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus” (NKJV). He was living proof of Jesus’ claims. Only someone with divine credentials could raise a man from the dead, and so, the Jewish leaders wanted to eliminate Lazarus as a concrete proof of Christ as the Messiah. No matter how weighty and sustainable that truth, they steadfastly refused to believe and worked tirelessly to prevent others from seeing the evidence that would engender faith in their hearts. They were more afraid of losing their positions and power than they were of the consequences of rejecting truth (John 11:48).
Let us make sure that truth is of utmost importance to each of us. Let us not be carried away by the popular cries sounding out on social media that are not supported by facts. Further, let us not be carried away by leaders high and low who bow to the masses that put personal prejudice above the facts of truth. God’s people should stand for and stand up for the truth. We must proclaim truth, for it is “the truth that shall make you free” (John 8:32).