The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came,
not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus,
whom he had raised from the dead.
And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too,
because many of the Jews were turning away
and believing in Jesus because of him. (Jn 12:9-11)
I am a huge fan of crime dramas and spy stories. One of the themes that seem to run through those stories involves witnesses.
Witnesses are not appreciated. More than not appreciated, witnesses tend to get eliminated at any cost. Why? Because a witness can undo everything that the perpetrator set out to accomplish. In that case, the witness becomes a threat.
That same kind of attitude is seen reflected in today’s Gospel. Many people were flocking to Jesus. They were enamored by His words and they had been treated by awesome signs and powers. They saw crippled people walk, lepers cured, the blind restored to sight, and even the dead raised to life. Each and every person was a sign of Jesus’ power and authority. The most powerful sign, of course, would be those who had been raised from the dead.
In today’s Gospel, Lazarus was among a group of people gathered around Jesus. The crowds saw Lazarus. They had heard about Jesus’ many signs; but, Lazarus’ presence spoke volumes to them. Many came to believe when they saw “the man who once was dead now back to life”. This was more than the chief priests and those plotting against Jesus could bear.
There was already an effort underway to get rid of Jesus. They knew, for their own good, that they needed to have Lazarus removed from the picture as well. It certainly would not do any good to kill Jesus yet leave witnesses of His power and glory behind. So Lazarus became a part of their plan, specifically, Lazarus’ murder.
Witnesses to the Lord were unwanted, unwelcome, and a threat.
Let me change tenses here. Witnesses to the Lord ARE unwanted, unwelcome, and a threat. Still, to this day, many in the world are against the Lord and His teachings. They do everything that they can to see to it that the Lord is erased from public life. They even go after the witnesses. That would be you and me.
Being a witness, then, is a dangerous job. However, we are called to witness to the power and glory of the Lord in our own lives. Do not let anxiety or fear keep you from doing God’s will. Be a witness. Be the best witness you can be today!
FAITH ACTION: We tend to do one of two things when we experience the great love and mercy of God: we embrace it wholeheartedly or we reject it completely. In today’s Gospel, we hear about how the crowd even plotted to kill Lazarus because he was living proof of the Lord’s power. What will you do today? Plot against the Lord or embrace His love?