Summary: The beginning of the reaction to the Resurrection at the moment of Lazurus being raised from the dead.

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The Social Implications of the Resurrection

revised October 10, 2009

John Chapter 11

48 If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation."

Jesus had just raised Lazarus from the dead!

When some of the Jews who had witnessed the resurrection told the Jewish leaders what they had seen and heard they were obviously afraid to forward this information on to the Romans for fear they would be deposed. In fact, the Romans did depose many priests who had been reluctant to impose Roman customs on the populace.

They knew that Jesus had witnessed to many in Judea and had performed many miracles. They knew the Romans had experienced great difficulty with several others who claimed to be the Messiah. Certainly one more would not be tolerated. They would surely be subject to sanctions on their authority. The Romans had already imposed their way of life on Judea and had no intentions of relaxing the grip they held on the country.

Paul and Silas resisted the authority that was in place in that time by preaching the gospel in Macedonia after the resurrection of Christ. They spoke openly, exorcising a woman who had a spirit of divination and had been making a lot of money for her masters.

Ac 16:21

and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe."

You see, Paul was legally a Roman citizen and the Jews were under Roman law, being citizens of a country which had been conquered by the Romans. But the Romans were afraid of the sway that Paul and Silas would have on the people and caught them and forced them to be seen by the rulers in the marketplace. Then Paul and Silas prayed and there was a great earthquake as a result. The doors of the prison were opened by the quake but Paul and Silas refused to leave when the keeper of the prison told the magistrate. Even though the magistrate had ordered them to be let go peacefully.

Ac 25:16

To them I answered, "It is not the custom of the Romans to deliver any man to destruction before the accused meets the accusers face to face, and has opportunity to answer for himself concerning the charge against him.’

Ac 28:17

And it came to pass after three days that Paul called the leaders of the Jews together. So when they had come together, he said to them: "Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against the people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans,

In this way Paul demonstrated that, rather than allow the gospel to be spread in the Romans’ occupied country, they would persecute their own people and remove them from their homes. The history of Christianity is laden with accounts of rulers resisting the power of Jesus Christ and his followers. The Romans are, of course, strongly representative of this social dynamic, having crucified countless Christians and Christian sympathisers since the crusifixion and resurrection of Christ.

What did Jesus have to say about this problem?

Mt 5:25

Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.

Not that you can’t be a witness to the gospel or serve the Lord in prison. But Jesus knew that prison is a wretched place to have to be and He didn’t like the idea of one of His own being subjected to it. Yet many Christians have resisted unrighteous authority ever since the glory of God was revealed in the resurrection because of their love for our Savior and His mission.


The New King James version

Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.

Used by permission.

Posted by Robert D. Diffin at 5:50 AM

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