By: Faith Korbel Readings: Exodus 12:21-27; John 11:45-57; Psalm 126
This passage from John comes directly after Jesus performs one of his most amazing miracles – raising Lazarus from the dead. It’s already a tense time politically, as Jesus has become more and more known, bringing fear to those who hold the power. A miracle of this magnitude (and the attention that comes with it), along with Jesus’ radical teachings, threaten everything for the individuals who have benefitted from the way the power structure has been working up to this point. They are desperate to find a way to hold that power, and this is their chance.
I’ve lived through 39 Lents so far, so I’m familiar with the crucifixion story and have heard this reading from John many times. Upon reading it in preparation for writing this devotion, one phrase gave me pause: 45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.
I’m a rule follower. Conflict/shaking things up/getting in trouble – these things make me VERY uncomfortable, and always have. So, where does that leave me in this story? Had I witnessed Jesus raising Lazarus, would I have believed and followed, defying the “management”, or would I have run to the Pharisees and turned him in for breaking rules?
We live in messy time politically, and this same dilemma exists. If I see those in power doing things that I consider an affront to my beliefs, do I speak out or do I follow the rules and do what I am told? I like to think that I would speak out, just as I would have been faithful to Jesus….but, would I? Do I? Have I? Do you?
Dear Lord, Help us to see the rules that need to be broken and give us the strength to break them.