12:9 When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.

10 So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, 11 since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.

Once launched upon the path of violence, the horror only grows. Violence begets violence. First you determine you are going to have to kill Jesus, then that is not enough. You also have to eliminate the evidence of his work. Lazarus also must die.

The “chief priests and the Pharisees” are out of control. They have plunged themselves into a dark and chaotic world. These religious leaders whose calling it is to draw people to the light, have become the fulfillment of Jesus’ earlier words to his disciples to whom he said,

those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them. (John 11:10)

We come into this world as light-bearers. The original spark of divinity shines in every aspect of God’s creation and is manifest in every human being ever born. Just as the crowds were drawn to Jesus, so the light continues to call us. Something within us continues to resonate with the truth and beauty embodied in Jesus.

Tragically, often we walk away from this light. We choose to “walk at night.” And, when we “walk at night”, we “stumble”. We depart from our true nature. For some mysterious inexplicable reason, we forsake the light and truth that are the image of God dwelling within. We become beings in whom the light seems not to shine at all. And, like the “chief priests and the Pharisees”, when “the light is not in” us, we create harm wherever we go. Pain and destruction follow in our wake when we determine to “walk at night”.

But the light is not extinguished. It breaks out all around us. It continues to beckon. Night may seem to have devoured us, but we can always turn back to the day. Introducing his account of the story of Jesus, John wrote,

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:5)

This is truth that the violence of the “chief priests and the Pharisees” cannot overcome. The light of Jesus does prevail over their darkness.

What is the appeal of the night?

How do I turn back from the dark of night to the light of day?