They were believing in Jesus (Jn 12:11-12:11)

“It was on account

Of Lazarus

That many of the Jews

Were deserting

Their leaders.

They were believing

In Jesus.”

ὅτι πολλοὶ δι’ αὐτὸν ὑπῆγον τῶν Ἰουδαίων καὶ ἐπίστευον εἰς τὸν Ἰησοῦν.

Only John uniquely indicated that it was because of Lazarus that many (ὅτι πολλοὶ) of the Jews (τῶν Ἰουδαίων) were deserting or going away (ὑπῆγον) from their leaders (δι’ αὐτὸν).  They were believing (καὶ ἐπίστευον) in Jesus (εἰς τὸν Ἰησοῦν).  The main reason that the chief priests wanted Lazarus dead was because many people were following Jesus and deserting their Jewish leaders, practices, and heritage.  This would seem to indicate that by the time of John’s writing, there was a clear distinction between a Jewish person and a follower of Jesus.  They were now Christians or followers believing in Jesus the Christ and no longer Jews.  Originally, all the followers of Jesus were Jewish.  Would you desert your leaders to believe in Jesus?

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