A Spiritual Gastrectomy

The celebrities were a little more than a mile from Jerusalem. The city was preparing itself for Passover and therefore great numbers of the faithful had gathered in the holy city for the celebration. The observance itself heralded memories of Yahweh’s great and miraculous delivery of the children of Israel from that old scoundrel, Pharaoh. During those heady days, so the stories went, Yahweh had revealed himself a number of times through his servant, Moses. With that historical memory, the people were hungry for miracles, for prophets, for a deliverer – for anything to remind them that they were in fact a chosen people. This young lad, (a blue-collar carpenter they were told) who had allegedly raised a man from the dead, might be just the one for which they’d been hoping. For you see, a miracle working God that has appeared to go silent can cause a severe, religious inferiority complex. “Why did our ancestors receive such special attention and we’ve been left with nothing but Sanhedrin, Inc.? For crying out loud, the Sadducees don’t even believe in the miraculous. They don’t even believe in heaven!” These were great questions and great concerns. The hunger itself for something more presaged then, and yet today, a deep indication of the miraculous at work below the surface. To recognize spiritual hunger as the hand of God is the first step to seeing the hand of God at work. Many things can satiate and delay the acknowledgement of such hunger. Food, ale, entertainment, the daily news, vocation, hobby, fuss-budgeting…all can anesthetize us from the cry of our own hungry soul. Before heaven can satisfy the hunger, we must learn to say, “Ouch.” And a great number were now doing just that: Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. ~John 12: 9

There were those, of course, who acknowledged neither the hunger of the masses nor their own spiritual malnutrition. The thin gruel of a spiritless religion was the only item on their menu. They were starving. Instead of listening to the wisdom offered up by their own famished soul, they set to work to perform a spiritual gastrectomy: So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well,  for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him. ~John 12:9-11 They wanted to kill off the heavenly provision. They had not yet realized that you cannot defeat hunger by eradicating the food.