When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus. — John 12:9-11
The Jesus effect is interesting. On the one hand, He attracts the masses, resulting in belief. On the other hand, He attracts a few who hate Him and want to kill Him, along with anyone involved — even the miracle of Lazarus.
This is the effect of Jesus. While believing in and following Him yields moral and righteous outcomes, the immoral and unrighteous cannot tolerate it. This is because it exposes them and their unrighteousness. Therefore, they will act hatefully, even to the point of destroying our lives, dismantling our reputation, and devising plans to kill us.
This is one of the things most people don't tell you when you choose to follow Jesus. The effect of biblical obedience can conflict with the culture's position on morality. Acts of righteousness, according to the Bible, may sometimes contradict a company's values. Beliefs rooted in the Bible may disagree with culturally accepted norms, thereby straining friendships. And all of this might result in such hatred from the opposition that they conspire against us, legislate against us, terminate our employment, and seek to cancel us.
Even so, this remains our duty.
Just as Jesus faced hatred and evil plots, you, too, will encounter the same resistance. But do not be discouraged, for you are not alone. The same power that raised Lazarus from the dead resides within you, empowering you to overcome the resistance. When the world seeks to silence you, speak out boldly about Jesus. When forces conspire against you, love fervently and forgive relentlessly, just as Jesus did. When your faith is tested, remain steadfast, knowing that your reward and purpose are greater than the temporary battles you face.
- How does the story of Lazarus and the opposition faced by Jesus and His followers challenge your understanding of the cost and impact of following Jesus in today's world?
- In what ways have you experienced or witnessed the tension between biblical obedience and cultural values? How do you navigate this tension, and what lessons can you learn from the example of Jesus and His unwavering commitment to righteousness?
DO THIS: Act righteous and expect resistance.
PRAY THIS: God, strengthen my resolve and give me the courage to faithfully follow You, even in the face of opposition and adversity, knowing that Your power and purpose far outweigh any temporary battles I may encounter. May Your love and truth shine through me, impacting those around me and drawing them closer to You. Amen.
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Read through the Bible daily with Vince Miller.