John 11:38-57

There have been various times when I read the Bible that I want to ask how some people walked with Jesus but failed to believe. In John 11 we find one of these occasions. Jesus performs what might be considered his greatest miracle–He raises Lazarus from the dead. Surely raising the dead would prompt everyone to follow Him. How could someone not follow someone so powerful? However, the reactions to this miracle varied. Verses 45-47 read this way…

“Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs.””

Yes many believed, BUT some went away asking “What are we to do?”  We think the answer is obvious. They should believe. Yet their question wasn’t so much about whether they believed in Jesus’ power, it was really a question of whether they were going to follow Him with their lives. If we read verse 48, we really get to the heart of the matter…

“If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.

The heart of the matter for these religious leaders was they were afraid of losing their power. They had actually been given a measure of authority by the Romans, and the Jews looked to them for spiritual guidance ,so they were enjoying a huge amount of power and control. Jesus was a threat to all that. Jews were looking to Jesus now for spiritual guidance. The Romans were concerned about Jesus leading a rebellion as he was being looked to as the Savior of the Jews, a King of the Jews so to speak, so they would have to crack down on this Jewish rebellion. Therefore, these spiritual leaders not only did not want to follow Jesus, but they were looking for ways to get rid of him. This might appall us, but don’t we do the same many days in our lives? When we know we should not only believe in Jesus but give him control we try to find ways to ignore his teachings. Remember what we are told in Matthew 16…

“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.””

Before you get too critical of those who walked with Jesus who refused to believe and follow Him, take an account of your own life and ask “are there areas of my life where I too am failing to believe and follow Jesus because I want to be in control?” If you are like me, you will clearly be able to identify ways in which you too fail to believe Jesus and follow him. If you can identify any area of your life today where you are failing to follow Jesus, trust that area of your life to Him and follow Him. You will not regret losing your power in order to experience the power of Jesus in your life.

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