January 10, 2023

The Lazarus Problem

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If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. John 15:18

In some cultures, it’s called “losing face.” No matter how you describe it, no one likes to be proven wrong and look foolish.

Among the miracles of Jesus recorded in Scripture, surely the most incredible was when He raised his friend named Lazarus back to life! When Lazarus got sick, his sisters begged Jesus to come but Jesus delayed, and it was too late when he finally arrived at their home. The Bible book of John tells that Jesus was both sad and angry when he went to the tomb where Lazarus body lay. After he prayed to His father, He shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And out came Lazarus…fully alive.

The religious leaders of the day were livid! John 12:11 says “Because of [Lazarus]…many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus.” What’s more, many of the leaders were part of a sect that didn’t believe in life after death at all so Lazarus was a major embarrassment to their theological system. The leading priests decided to kill not only Jesus, but Lazarus too.

It’s no different today. If you follow Jesus and you live a life that conflicts with the values of those around you, you should expect heavy pushback. Charles Spurgeon said, “When men hate Christ, they also hate those whom he has blessed, and will go to any lengths to silence their testimony.”[1] Jesus put it very plainly, saying, “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first” (John 15:18). It’s not personal—it’s Jesus in you, and because of that, we can keep on loving with His transformative love.

[1] Guzik, David. “Enduring Word Bible Commentary John Chapter 12.” Enduring Word, 30 Nov. 2022, https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/john-12/.