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Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.
– John 12:9-11
The incredulity of the chief priests is stunning. In Luke 16 Jesus tells a story (which I believe is a true account and not merely a parable) of “The rich man and Lazarus.” In the story Jesus speaks of a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen who died at the same time as a beggar named Lazarus. In the story Jesus gives insight into the afterlife wherein the rich man was in torment and Lazarus in paradise. As the story unfolds the rich man, tormented in a hellish state, calls out to Abraham, who was comforting Lazarus in the paradise of eternity. He plead with Abraham to send Lazarus back to speak to those of his fathers house (he had 5 brothers) so that they repent and not end up on torment after death too. To which Abraham responded, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.” But the rich man continued, “No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.”
I’m convinced that Jesus was giving us advanced insight into this actual Lazarus, who died here in John 12. And upon his return from death, what was the response of the wealthy, ruling, religious class? “The chief priests plotted to put lazarus to death also, because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.”
I guess the assumption of the rich man of Luke 16 was incorrect. Interestingly, the clothing the rich man wore (purple and fine linen) indicates (to me at least) that he may have been of the family of the chief/high priests, as linen was the clothing of the priests and purple the color of the upper class and royalty.
Enduring Word Commentary with Pastor David Guzik
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Additional Daily Devotionals
My Utmost for His Highest | Oswald Chambers
Morning & Evening | Charles Spurgeon
Books on the Gospels
“Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah” by Alfred Edersheim