Summary: Jesus calls us to faith that gives up everything to follow him. Nothing less will do. Ultimately, you are either with him or against him. There is no other option.
What do you believe about Jesus determines what you do with him.
Two shopkeepers were bitter rivals. Their stores were directly across the street from each other, and they would spend each day keeping track of each other’s business. If one got a customer, he would smile in triumph at his rival. One night an angel appeared to one of the shopkeepers in a dream and said, "I will give you anything you ask, but whatever you receive, your competitor will receive twice as much. Would you be rich? You can be very rich, but he will be twice as wealthy. Do you wish to live a long and healthy life? You can, but his life will be longer and healthier. What is your desire?" The man frowned, thought for a moment, and then said, "Here is my request: Strike me blind in one eye!"
This illustrates the attitude of the Pharisees and Sadducees when they heard about the resurrection of Lazarus. They couldn’t stand it! They looked at the score board and Jesus was way ahead and leaving them behind. This is the condition of unbelief. As we look at the final verses of John 11 a sad truth surfaces. Some people will never believe.
What do you do with Jesus if you will not believe in him? We understand what the Bible teaches that Jesus will do with unbelievers, but the question I wish to explore with you here is what do people who will not believe do with Jesus? Our text reveals some interesting things.
You see, an unbeliever is a mortal enemy of God. Not just any kind of enemy, but a mortal enemy. When mortal enemies face each other they have one ultimate goal to see the other one die. This is why God hates sin so vehemently. Sin has not only separated us from God, it has changed us into his enemies. God made us in his image and after his own likeness. Just imagine the insult it is to God for us who were made in such glorious likeness to turn into those who would kill him.
When Jesus came to earth as the Son of God, he remained divine in character and nature. Jesus was born into a hostile environment. He was light come into darkness. From the beginning he was hunted down by Herod who wanted to kill him. Every time Jesus expressed his true identity before those who did not believe in him, the result was hostility and death threats. Here in John we have seen this over and over. As the end of the Gospel account appears on the horizon, John again shows us the enmity that Jesus faces with the unbelieving Jewish leaders.
Interestingly, it is believing that makes all the difference in whether we are Jesus enemies or whether we are his friends. We can’t have Jesus as just a good man. He defies us to do so. His claims are clearly aimed at forcing his listeners into the valley of decision. His actions and miracles also enforce his claims. Jesus is far greater than just a good man. Or he is far worse! If Jesus is false, he is a terrible deceiver who has lead millions of people to believe in him, many of whom have died for him. People all over the world have spent their lives and fortunes following this Jesus. If he is less than God in flesh then he is the most dangerous man who ever lived. Which is he? God, or the world’s greatest public enemy?
I can tell you what the Pharisees and Sadducees decided.
Their unbelief would not change in the face of Jesus greatest evidences. They would not accept that Jesus could possibly be God in flesh. Therefore to them he was a great imposter and dangerous influencer of the people.
What do you do with a man like that? When you understand their logic, their responses are very predictable. You get rid of him any way you can.
Jesus was not just a villain in their minds, he was a popular one. This made him only that much more dangerous.
Let’s notice now some important lessons.
Unbelief in Jesus always brings out the worst in a man. Notice the motives that surface in those who wish to kill Jesus. Jealousy, Hypocrisy, Deceit, Selfish ambition, self-centeredness, cowardice, ruthlessness, rationalization of evil, heartlessness, irrational anger, faulty projections about the future, fear.
Look at their words in John 11:47-48
47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. "What are we accomplishing?" they asked. "Here is this man performing many miraculous signs.
48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation."