Many of the people who were with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw this happen. But some went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. Then the leading priests and Pharisees called the high council together. “What are we going to do?” they asked each other. “This man certainly performs many miraculous signs. If we allow him to go on like this, soon everyone will believe in him. Then the Roman army will come and destroy both our Temple and our nation.” Caiaphas, who was high priest at that time, said, “You don’t know what you’re talking about! You don’t realize that it’s better for you that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.” (John 11:45-50)
A couple of things really stood out to me after reading the account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus came out of the grave, after being dead a good couple of days, wrapped completely in grave clothes (hands and feet bound, face wrapped in a headcloth). There before the crowds stood a 'dead man' alive again, needing their assistance to be free of the shrouds of death that encompassed his body. Even with such a magnificent display of the power and grace of God, only some of the people believed in Jesus. Others were nothing more than worrisome tattletales. How many 'good things' need to happen right in front of us in order for us to believe? How many times are we so caught up in the worries of the day that we don't realize the presence of grace when it is right there in our midst?
As the story moves on, we see a group hurrying to the high council of the church. They were intent on 'telling on Jesus', not so much to convince the elders to take a positive stance toward Jesus, but to shut down his teaching and actions as a 'threat' to their way of life. They were more worried that the Roman government would catch wind of the great miracles, Jesus claiming to be the Son of God, and that the Romans would come into their towns with destructive force in order to 'shut down' Jesus. There is no 'shutting down' Jesus - but they don't know that! They just worry about their own circumstances - how their lives might be disrupted or made a little 'harder' in light of all the good stuff Jesus was doing amongst them. What a silly lot they were - seeing only their own comfort and missing that Jesus wasn't there to overthrow the Roman government, but to be a light and a way back to their Heavenly Father.
What makes the difference in us seeing and believing versus us seeing and being threatened? I might propose that when our 'comfort' becomes a little 'threatened' by any movement of God toward us, we have become way to comfortable with this world! We might not realize just how 'comfortable' we have become with the things this world offers us until we are faced with the amazing power of God. When his power is displayed, we can run to the world or press in closer to him. The graveclothes had to be removed in order for Lazarus to be free. Will we be the kind who stands and watches, or will we be the ones to unbind them? If we are comfortable with the world, we likely will be repelled by the 'stench' of death, choosing to allow others to do that 'dirty work'.
Many believed - not all. Some still could not see their way past their 'concerns' and 'dreaded consequences' to embrace him. Let us not be the ones who find ourselves so caught up in our 'concerns' that we miss the opportunity to engage with grace. Just sayin!