It never ceases to amaze me. Whenever I read the Bible, inevitably I will run across something I didn’t know. It’s usually something I have previously read but it didn’t register in my brain. This is one of those verses.
We all know how Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead after four days of being entombed in Bethany (John 11). It was this miracle that caused the Jewish leadership of that day to conclude that Jesus was a threat to them and their way of life (John 11:45-54). Why? Because raising Lazarus from being dead for four days brought many people to believe in Jesus and His message, looking at Jesus as the authority of their faith rather than the Jewish leadership of the time.
In John 12:10-11, we are told: “Then the chief priests decided to kill Lazarus as well, since it was on his account that many of the Jews were leaving them and believing in Jesus.”
What really strikes me most in this passage is the enormous fear that the Jewish leadership must have had. I can see how it would drive them perhaps to kill the object of their fear (Jesus) and fulfilling the Old Testament prophecy, but they made the decision to eradicate an innocent person, as well. It’s not like Lazarus, himself, asked Jesus to raise him from the dead. Yet, just by Lazarus walking and living in the community was enough to make them fear even him and want him dead.
If Lazarus was not well known before being raised from the dead, he definitely was afterwards. The Jewish leadership was taking a very bold move to kill Lazarus. Remember, they were under Roman rule and didn’t have the authority to kill anyone, which is why they had to take Jesus to Roman authorities to be slain. Even if they had someone else do it but it was linked back to them, it could mean their death or imprisonment.
They must have changed their mind; however, since nothing more is said of Lazarus. I cannot see that John would mention the intentions of the Jewish leadership to kill him along with Jesus but then not mention that they carried out their plot against Lazarus.
Just an interesting Bible fact.