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John 12:10

ESV So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well,
NIV So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well,
NASB But the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also,
CSB But the chief priests had decided to kill Lazarus also,
NLT Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too,
KJV But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death;

What does John 12:10 mean?

When Jesus raised Lazarus from death (John 12:1), He did so in front of a large crowd of witnesses (John 11:38–44). And, He did it right in the faces of His most ardent critics, only two miles away in Jerusalem (John 11:18). As a result, many of the people who normally followed those religious leaders—referred to by John as "the Jews"—have come to Bethany to see if the rumors are true. Of course, they find that Lazarus, who was dead for four days and being publicly mourned (John 11:31), is alive again (John 12:9). That leads many to accept that Jesus is divine and empowered with God's will (John 12:11).

The local religious leaders, however, have already committed themselves to having Jesus killed (John 11:53). Despite all the evidence Jesus has given them, they stubbornly refuse to accept the truth (John 5:39–40). In fact, their resolve to murder Jesus was only strengthened when He raised Lazarus. What should have been the most obvious proof became their most hated incident. That hatred is so strong that the same men, labelled here as the "chief priests," will seek to have Lazarus killed, as well.

Scripture often points out that "lack of evidence" is never a valid excuse for rejecting God. The problem is not a lack of proof (Romans 1:18–20; Psalm 19:1), but a lack of willingness to believe. Incidents such as this demonstrate that problem in graphic terms.

The gospel of John was written to catalog evidence that Jesus is divine (John 20:30–31). Those who were there in person to see and hear Jesus had access to all those moments, plus countless other forms of evidence (John 21:25). How a person responds to evidence is decided—first and foremost—by their own sincerity. For some people, there is no such thing as "enough evidence," because their minds are already made up.

Jesus' critics have already proven they are willing to ignore miracles (John 5:10; Mark 3:22), and Scripture (John 5:39–40), and the testimony of others (John 9:30–34). Now, rather than accept a miracle, Jesus' enemies are willing to assassinate an innocent man, because his existence is inconvenient.

Scripture does not tell us whether the plot to kill Lazarus succeeded. Tradition—not the Bible—indicates that Lazarus fled Judea after the resurrection of Christ, arriving in Kition on Cyprus, becoming a bishop. One traditional account suggests his tombstone was inscribed with the quip, "Lazarus, four days dead, friend of Christ." In truth, we don't know for sure what happened to him. This represents another difference between Scripture and myth: those touched with miracles, such as Lazarus, are not credited with special significance later on, or endowed with echoes of divine power. They're still ordinary people, with extraordinary stories.
What is the Gospel?
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