Read John 11:38-12:11
Do you really feel the gravity of Christ’s miracles? Jesus performed many of them . . . more than are even recorded in Scripture (Jn. 20:30). As you read them, you could, I suppose, picture them the way you would sports highlights. There is no doubt that they are spectacular feats, but entirely possible and somehow almost “everyday.”
Don’t forget, however, that Christ’s miracles were occasions when He defied the norm and the natural laws. Just try walking across the water at the pool, getting more bread without baking it or going to the store, or speaking words and causing even the common cold to cease. Miracles are a big deal!
And this one recorded in John 11 is one of the Christ’s biggest. Indeed, it is big because Lazarus had been dead for four days. It is big because he was raised to life. But it was also big because it represented a turning point. Even though there had been previous devious plots to eliminate Jesus, the raising of Lazarus caused the chief priests and Pharisees to convene and to become more unified and strategic in their murderous scheme. To allow Jesus to continue to work miracles would cause even more to become His followers (11:48; 12:11). In their minds, His continued work would endanger their relationship with the Roman government (11:48). The results of the raising of Lazarus were just too big to ignore. Action had to be taken.
And the action, interestingly enough, was more than the planned execution of Jesus (11:53). Lazarus was also a threat. No, he had not begun a campaign against the Pharisees. Nevertheless, people were coming to see him. You see, his mere presence…the sheer fact that he was alive as walking proof of Christ’s abilities…that was more than could be tolerated. The name “Lazarus” was also found on the priestly “hit list” right below “Jesus.”
And as things heated up, Jesus avoided the crowds and spent time with His disciples. His public ministry with hundreds and thousands now took the form of private, clandestine meetings with a dozen. He was not avoiding the cross, but it had to happen according to divine plan at the right time.