Religious Tensions Calming?
Read John 12:1-19
JERUSALEM, Wednesday, spring ca. 30 a.d. – Growing tensions between Jesus of Nazareth and Jewish religious leaders seem to have calmed some today. After three days of major, controversial appearances in Jerusalem, there were no reported sightings of Jesus and His disciples in the city today.
For the last several years, religious leaders, especially Pharisees, have expressed opposition towards Jesus. These tensions have been related to the claims of Christ, His reported miracles (some of which were performed on the Sabbath, the Jewish day of rest), and His growing popularity. In these last days, this antagonism has increased.
- Sunday – Crowds cheered as Jesus entered the Holy City on a donkey. Pharisees were outspokenly opposed to the accolades.
- Monday – Jewish leaders felt attacked as Jesus drove money changers and those selling doves from the temple.
- Tuesday – In an impromptu debate in the temple, Herodians and Pharisees invited Jesus to dialogue and attempted to trap Jesus with questions about His positions and practices. Jesus later gave a pointed admonishment to and warning about the hypocrisy of the Jewish teachers and Pharisees.
Unsubstantiated reports indicate that Jesus, this controversial figure, spent the day in Bethany. It is there, that just days ago, Jesus is reported to have raised His long-time friend Lazarus from the dead. That act not only increased His popularity, but it also multiplied tensions.
Today, with no added confrontations, some are speculating that things will calm as the annual Jewish feast of Passover is only days away.
Letter to the Editor:
The raising of Lazarus is more than an unsubstantiated report. Lazarus is my brother. He had been terribly sick. Although my sister and I had sent for Jesus, days passed and Lazarus died. It was one of the most difficult experiences of our lives. The funeral had taken place. We had placed our brother in the tomb.
Jesus arrived four days after Lazarus died. It was great to have our trusted friend with us, but it was clearly too late. We had heard many reports of Him healing the living. What He did after arriving, however, we never would have anticipated. He asked that the stone on our brother’s tomb be moved, and He commanded that Lazarus exit. To our utter shock, surprise, and joy, our brother came out of the tomb alive!
While I don’t know what the days ahead may hold, I do know that Jesus is One who has power over death.