A dilemma.

After Jesus healed Lazarus from death, the Pharisees had a problem. People were believing that Jesus was telling the truth. About everything. Which meant that people weren’t believing that the Pharisees were telling the truth.

The Pharisees had been pursuing a two-part strategy of debating Jesus from time to time and of folding their arms in disapproval. But the presence of Lazarus as an anti-zombie created an argument too large for tut-tutting.

“If we let him go on like this,” they said in a strategy meeting, “everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”

They didn’t particularly care that Jesus was successfully conducting a campaign of undermining the medical system, of removing psychological barriers to relationship by forgiving the sin that was underlying the tension. They didn’t care that he was right.

They cared that the equilibrium between religion and politics which they managed to their own benefit was at risk.

Too much unconstrained populist activity and the empire would respond with forces greater than Pilate and Herod. And a young rabbi rumored to have regal intentions was appealing to the people tired of Roman occupation and Pharisaic religiosity.

I understand, by the way.

Those in middle management are always trying to balance forces larger than themselves.

You understand, too.

When, through careful planning and negotiating, you have a solid five-year plan to retirement, or to the sale of the company, or to the kids moving out on their own, or to the marriage happening, or to the degree being finished, or to the lenders being satisfied, or to the reorganization, the idea of a self-styled savior upsetting everything is infuriating.

And if it’s possible that he actually is right and we actually are wrong, it’s terrifying.

 

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.