It is interesting to me the two recorded reactions of the people who witnessed Lazarus’ resurrection as recorded in John 11. According to the narrative, after Lazarus came out of the grave, and Jesus commanded that he be loosed from his grave clothes, “then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on Him. But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done” (vv. 45-46, KJV).
Note the two different reactions to a spectacular miracle – “Many believed in Him. But some . . . went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what Jesus had done.” It was the teaching of the day that only the Messiah could raise someone who was dead beyond three days. Jesus did it. They saw it. Yet only some believed. The last group did not go to the Pharisees to evangelize that group. Those men were the religious leaders of the day. They, and the chief priests, were in collusion to have Jesus killed. However, inherent in the two responses are two extreme positions – you are either with Jesus or against Him. There is no middle ground or sitting on the fence. To not choose is to choose. It is no wonder that after the report of the second group, John tells us, “Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, ‘What do we?'” (v. 47a). Or, as Eugene Peterson puts it, “What do we do now?” (The Message). What was their concern? “This man keeps on doing things, creating God-signs [miracles]. If we let Him go on, pretty soon everyone will be believing in Him, and the Romans will come and remove what little power and privilege we still have” (vv. 47b-48, The Message).
Two thousand years later and some of us face the same dilemma. We can testify to the goodness of God and the many miracles He has done in our lives and/or in the lives of others. Situations for which there was no doubt that if it had not been for the Lord on our side, things would have been very different. Having seen or heard, what do we do now? Seeing a miracle or two does not guarantee belief. Some of us attribute such situations to happenstance or luck. Belief is an act of the will; we choose to believe. As Stuart Chase reminds us, “For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof is possible.” Miracles demand a response. You and I get to choose. We must choose. What do we do now?