In John 11, Jesus raised a man from the dead. Jesus raised a man FROM. THE. DEAD. Just so we all get the magnitude of that, let’s consider it for just a moment before moving on to what followed. Jesus raised a man, who was already dead for four days, back to living, breathing, walking, talking life status.
Ok. So Lazarus had been dead for four days when Jesus called him out of his grave. There could be no mistaking this act as a coincidence or a trick. Everyone who had seen or heard about this act knew it was a miracle. Yet in John 11:45-57, we find different reactions to the miracle.
45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, 46 but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. ~John 11:45-47
Some Jews believed and followed Jesus. Other Jews tattletaled to the religious leaders. These men did not believe in Jesus or they would have been described along with the Jews “who believed.” They believed Jesus could do miracles because they saw proof of Jesus’ resurrecting power right before their very eyes. But these guys did not believe in or follow Jesus.
Just so we’re clear, here we have two groups of people. Same ethnicity. Same upbringing. Same socioeconomic status. Same town. Same schooling. Same family traditions. Same religious background. Same everything! Yet two different groups. Believers and unbelievers in Jesus rolled together into a big Jewish ball of people. By all appearances these people “look” exactly the same. But they are not. These outwardly same people could not be more different.
Even the religious leaders owned the truth of Christ’s miracles (John 11:47) but that did not lead them to faith in him. What did it lead them to?
48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” 49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. 50 Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. 53 So from that day on they made plans to put him to death. ~John 11:48-53
These guys were on a mission to stop Jesus. Why? Because he was better at being God’s representative than they were and they knew it. Instead of following, listening, learning from, and becoming more like him for the sake of their own character and growth, they chose to hate and avoid him. They were not concerned about people turning away from sin and knowing God. They were concerned about people turning away from them and knowing them as the leaders. They said they feared for their “place” and their “nation” and that because of Jesus, Rome would come take both.
The truth was that they feared that Jesus would take their place. Rome had no contest or concern with a man doing good works and teaching people to love one another – they did. They were not scared, they were jealous. Jesus showed them up and exposed their gross ignorance and hypocrisy every time he came around. Therefore, they pretended to be afraid for the good of the majority to cover up their own fear, jealousy, and hatred of Jesus.
So, they take their “concerns” before the highest ranking religious leader of their day – the high priest. Caiaphas responds arrogantly. With a matter of fact attitude, he wields his authority by imposing a death sentence by mere virtue of his authority.
53 So from that day on they made plans to put him to death. -John 11:53
Many people in authority are corrupt. It was true then. It is true now. It has been true every day in between. Corrupt authority is never more heinous than when found in the church – the very place where truth, love, and justice are supposed to be the governing authorities.
Whenever a person in authority becomes more concerned with others turning from them and their ideas than turning from sin and its vices, that person is no longer qualified to be a leader or and authority in God’s church.
Many in authority use deceit to cover their own insecurities. The Pharisees pretended fear to cover bitter jealousy against Jesus. If they had really been afraid upon seeing Jesus’ miracles, they would have repented!
People in authority often believe that others ought to think them the wisest simply because they are in authority. Though it ought to be so, it often is not so at all. When pomp and pride take over, that leader is no longer fit for service to anyone but self.
Some people want the truth. Others want power, places, positions, and their own preferments. Jesus appears to both. He calls the one and ignores the other. What we never see is Jesus competing. He does not have to because he is doing all of that which he Father has commanded him. When they go so far as to kill him, he obliges. Jesus was never unaware of who he was dealing with. He knew all along who hated and envied him and it never stopped him or made him insecure.
When you represent God well, people who pretend to represent God will be bitterly jealous. People who are bitterly jealous will seek to discredit God’s true representatives by pretending fear, blackening your reputation, and stirring up false scenarios against you. When you expose hypocrisy by being genuine, people who are pretentious will hate you. When unrepentant, under-qualified, unjust people are placed in positions of authority, they will use their position against God’s people for their own selfish agendas. They will act as if they are entitled to respect solely based on their position and despite their lack of true respectability.
If you are using a position of authority as your identity, repent. If you are using a position of authority to build your own kingdom and protect your own place and position, repent. You will only find yourself fighting against God and injuring his people.
If you are being mistreated by authority because of your good works, rejoice. If you are being falsely accused, purposefully misrepresented, or wholly discredited by corrupt authorities, rejoice. You are walking the same road Christ walked and you can rest assured that he will vindicate you in due time.