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Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too, for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus. John 12:10-11 (NLT)

There is no indication that he did anything to raise their ire. But the simple fact that he was up walking around was the only reason they needed. His very presence on the streets provided the proof that he was a follower of Jesus. Every breath he took was provided the evidence needed to convict Jesus of having the power to raise people from the dead.

“What?” You may ask. “Convict someone for raising a loved what from the dead? What crime kind of crime is that?”

But it wasn’t the fact the Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead that bothered the Pharisees. It was the fact that he did this miracle outside the controls of the current religious system. Whenever you do God’s work in disregard of tradition you risk being misunderstood, maligned, outcast and, in a word…hated.

After all, there are doctrinal and denominational distinctives to follow. There are ‘proper channels’ to adhere to. God only works in certain ways, at certain times, in certain situations. Right?

Not the Jesus I follow! Not the Jesus Lazarus followed either. Lazarus didn’t need to say a word to witness for Jesus. He didn’t need a degree. He didn’t need a piece of paper proving his ‘ordination’ into kingdom work. And, even though he most likely was baptized (according to tradition) there’s no indication of that in scripture.

Lazarus wasn’t hated for his lifestyle, his theology or his denominational affiliation. He wasn’t judged on his marital status, his occupation or his race, gender and ethnicity. He was judged because he’d been with Jesus and his very life testified to it with every breath he took.

Can we say that? Can I say that? Being hated for being offensive is no glory. Being disliked for our firm doctrinal stand isn’t that admirable. Lazarus was a more effective testimony for Jesus without saying a word than a library full of sermons.

Live life. Live life to the fullest. But in doing so live so closely to Jesus that people will know, without a single word from your lips that you’ve been with Jesus.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I pray that you would help me to be a Lazarus. Forgive me for the times my words and actions have brought shame to your name. Empower me with your spirit to live in such a way that my life betrays my allegiance to you. I will not fear being hated for my life built on you. In your name I pray, Amen.

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