Death Threats (Jn. 12:10-11)

The details leading up to Jesus’ triumphal entry include an interesting brief nugget about Lazarus.

So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus. Jn. 12:10-11 ESV

Simon the leper hosted the dinner for Jesus in Bethany. The people heard Jesus was in town and showed up en masse for two reasons, according to verse 9.

  1. Jesus was there, and
  2. To see Lazarus, who Jesus raised from the dead

Tribulation, trial, attacks… they are to be expected in the disciple’s walk (Jn. 16:33). Do we ever reason, though, the presence of attacks or trials in a time of celebration and renewal? Lazarus was dead. Now, Lazarus lived. People wanted to see a formerly dead man. The sight of Lazarus provoked many people to saving faith.

In response, the chief priests grew harder in heart. Already devising a plot to kill Jesus, now they made a list. Name number two: Lazarus. I wonder how many of us consider the plotting and threats that accompany new life in Christ — spiritually and literally. I was stunned to see this detail after years of reading the account. I missed it. I read over it. I underestimated its weight. Until now. 

When Jesus brings life to our literal death or to the dead places in our souls, many will see. Many will find affirmation of faith in Jesus. Others will look and in their hearts, devise plots to put those dead areas out of their misery…again. What we do not know is if Lazarus knew he became a target because of his testimony.

Let us not be shocked, mad, or the “hot” word now — petty — when we understand that some exist to undermine the work of Jesus in our lives. Let us instead live on!

Shaunta D. Scroggins, M.Ed. is the lead contributor for The Bereans’ Commentary.

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