Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. 3 Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. 7 Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. 8 For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”
9 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. 10 So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well,11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus. – John 12:1-11
I don’t want to believe that people are that evil, mean-spirited, wrongly-motivated, and ill-willed. I don’t want to believe that people, even if they knew Jesus perfectly, would want to do away with him. Jews, disciples, chief priests(!): all will conspire to kill Jesus…and Lazarus, Jesus’ friend, having once been raised from the dead. You’d think they would learn; at least that’s what I think.
I don’t want to believe that a person would send an email that is intentionally hurtful, accusatory, and inflammatory. I don’t want to believe that there are people in churches who want to see their pastor fail (although I served in such a church many years ago). I don’t want to believe that a co-worker will talk badly about a colleague in order to gain a better place in line for promotion. I don’t want to believe that a whole automobile company would deliberately hide the truth about some car’s shortcomings – even if those shortcomings are really significant. I don’t want to believe that a bank would have people at the very highest levels who conspire to open accounts for their own customers – even without their permission or knowledge, and to their detriment and the benefit of the bank. I don’t want to believe that people are really that evil.
But there are truly evil people in the world. They conspired against Jesus. They brought him down…and then up on a cross, and then to the grave. I have received insulting emails. I have heard of pastors being hounded out of their churches. I have heard of pastors lording it over their people, and being unrealistic in their expectations. A major automobile company is paying multi-million dollar fines for faking emissions tests. A monster-mega-bank is under scrutiny for abusing their own customers, and their CEO has had to forfeit $42M of his bonus money so far.
Thankfully, evil people did not thwart Jesus’ purpose and plans when they conspired to kill him. He knew what they were up to, faced his own death with unwavering faith, and ultimately triumphed over his foes in the resurrection that first Easter Sunday morning.
The world needs a redeemer. God has provided Him for us. In the face of every evil, we believe in Jesus. Lord deliver us from evil!