The insanity of unbelief
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” – John 11:25-26
12 Wise words bring approval, but fools are destroyed by their own words.
13 Fools base their thoughts on foolish assumptions, so their conclusions will be wicked madness.
When driven by intense negative emotions, we are capable of doing extremely strange, bizarre, destructive, and unthinkable things.
Imagine creating something beautiful for someone you love. It might be something as simple as a glazed clay pot, or as complicated as a painting or beautiful flower garden that took months of planning, cultivation, and care. Then you argue and you end up “hating” each other for a time. In due course, you reconcile, and all is well.
However, in the interim what happened to the handiwork of your love? In the heat of your anger, you trashed it. You trashed the very thing you created out of love, for the one you love, because of the heat of the moment. Temporary though it may be, that is insanity is it not?
Often some religious leaders are very territorial and protective. This produces fierce competition, jealousy, and envy. So, it was at the time of the Lord Jesus Christ. John 11 tells the story of Lazarus, the beloved friend of Jesus. Lazarus became ill and his sisters with high expectations, send for the Lord Jesus Christ in the hopes that He would miraculously heal Lazarus. However, before the Lord Jesus Christ arrived at the home of Lazarus, he had died.
When He showed up at the scene, there were large crowds of people in mourning. Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, wondered out loud why He had not come sooner. They fully believed, that if He would have arrived sooner, He would have healed His friend (John 11:21). But now it was too late; Lazarus was dead.
The Lord Jesus Christ could have arrived before the death of Lazarus, but He did not. Why the delay? The Lord Jesus Christ had waited two days before beginning His journey to Bethany where Lazarus lay sick and dying. He could have arrived “on time” and saved the day for Mary and Martha. It would have been fantastic. But the Father had something far greater in mind than a healing. In anticipation of Lazarus departing for Abraham’s bosom, large crowds are already gathering.
However, all that transpired was only setting the stage. The Lord Jesus Christ was about to disclose a stunning truth. To validate His claim and demonstrate that it was true, He would perform the final great miracle of His time on earth before the crucifixion and resurrection.
As the Lord Jesus Christ approached, Martha went out to greet Him. What do you suppose her demeanor communicated when she said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21). Was she grief-stricken? Was she angry and accusatory? Was she simply sad? We will never know until we get to see her and ask her ourselves. The Lord Jesus Christ did not take any offense nor did He defend His actions. Rather He made one of His boldest claims about Himself and His power.
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies,
26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”
The Lord Jesus Christ is claiming to have the power within Himself of resurrection and life. He is stating with absolute certainty that He can raise somebody from the dead. Who would make such an outrageous claim if they could not back it up? Only the insane or the deluded.
But in fact, it is true. The Lord Jesus Christ demonstrated it using only three words.
John 11:43 Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come forth.”
What happened next was wonderful, extraordinary, and phenomenal. Lazarus walked out of the tomb alive!
When we are faced with a moment like this, we have only two choices, belief and wonder or unbelief and rejection. Among the crowd, we see both reactions.
Many believe. Therefore, many of the Jews who came to Mary, and saw what He had done, believed in Him (John 11:45).
But, for the rest of those aware of the miracle, particularly the religious leaders, insanity sets in (John 11:46-53). They recognize that a miraculous sign had been performed. Because of jealousy, they’re afraid that “everyone will believe in him.” This can only be bad news for the nation of Israel. So what are they do? They began “to plot Jesus’s death” (John 11:53).
They intended to kill Him. What would that accomplish? He could easily resurrect Himself.
Insanity simply says, kill Him! Really! If you kill the person Who is the resurrection and the life, exactly how long do you think that would last?
46 But some went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.
47 Then the leading priests and Pharisees called the high council together. “What are we going to do?” they asked each other. “This man certainly performs many miraculous signs.”
48 “If we allow him to go on like this, soon everyone will believe in him. Then the Roman army will come and destroy both our Temple and our nation.”
53 So from that time on, the Jewish leaders began to plot Jesus’ death.
REFLECT & PRAY
Without doubt, anger, fear, jealousy, embarrassment have been the source of many of our self-inflicted acts of foolishness.
Father I recognize that it is way too easy for me to get mad. But I don’t have to become insane and act out my madness. Teach me constraint and control that I may be wise and not foolish.
Proverbs 29:11 A fool always loses his temper, but a wise man holds it back.
Regarding a fool, Solomon is quite clear, the beginning of his talking is folly and the end of it is wicked madness (Ecclesiastes 10:13).
From beginning to end, a fool’s words are completely worthless and pointless. The longer they talk, the more bizarre and crazy things become. The words of a fool begin as folly and go downhill from there into utter, irrational madness.
In Scripture, destructive words are compared to weapons of war (Proverbs 25:18), fire (James 3:5-6), and a deadly poison (James 3:7-8). We may try to hurt others with our lies, slander, insults, slurs, mocking, and words of fury, but the one we hurt the most is ourselves.
Ironically fools talk in excess, but their words accomplish either harm or nothing. “You can tell when a fool speaks: he grinds much and produces little” (Shalom Aleichem).
5 Better to be criticized by a wise person than to be praised by a fool.
6 A fool’s laughter is quickly gone, like thorns crackling in a fire.
Proverbs 13:3 The one who guards his mouth preserves his life; the one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.
Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.
Proverbs 17:28 Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; When he closes his lips, he is considered prudent.
“It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt” (Lincoln).