9 Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. 10 But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.
The distinction between belief and unbelief is becoming clearer in this chapter.
Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there;
Knowledge of Jesus’ presence in Bethany spread to surrounding communities. Some came from Jerusalem, where many were plotting to kill Him. The “Jews” referred to here were not the religious leaders.
and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead.
As soon as it became known that Jesus was in Bethany, many went there out of inquisitiveness. The crowd came to see not only Jesus but Lazarus also. These people wanted to see a man who had been raised from the dead. Jesus had defeated death, man’s most dreaded enemy. Lazarus was a celebrity. They were curiosity seekers. Evidently, Lazarus became an attraction to the masses. His walk out of the tomb in grave clothes was a phenomenon.
But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also,
Not only did the chief priests want to kill Jesus, but they ruthlessly wished to kill Lazarus also. He had become important evidence of Jesus performing a miracle. Lazarus walked around in good health, making Jesus’ miracle plain to everyone. The enemies of Jesus wanted to destroy this evidence.
because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.
The reason religion wanted to murder Lazarus was that Jesus obtained a following of people who believed on Him. Lazarus’ very life prompted reason to believe in Jesus. This evidence was a threat to the Jews because it could create a movement for Jesus.
Using politics to manipulate religion is a dangerous thing.
The enemies of Christ attempted to destroy the evidence of what He did. He was a threat to their values and priorities. That is why religious leaders wanted to murder Lazarus. He was a political threat. People must come to grips with the stark truth of the claims of Christ. They cannot be ignored. A person chooses to either accept Him or reject Him.
Many people kill in the name of religion. They have no qualms about murder when it comes to what they believe. Religion hardens the heart to Jesus like nothing else. People determined to have their own way will never bow to the Word of God. Despite Jesus’ dramatic miracle of raising Lazarus, man shows how fundamentally wicked his heart truly is. Religion always hardens the heart to God.