Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on Him.
But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.
Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this Man doeth many miracles.
If we let Him thus alone, all men will believe on Him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.
An important result of Jesus’ restoration of life to Lazarus is that many of the Jews who saw it or heard of it believed in Him.
Others, however, went to their religious leaders and reported what they had seen. What were their motives? It’s hard to say. Perhaps they thought Jesus was simply a magician, a charlatan who could pull off magic tricks and gain notoriety for Himself.
It is more probable, in my mind, that Satan was busy in the hearts and minds of the people. He created doubt, and as a result they went to the Pharisees to tell about the latest news of Jesus, whom they already knew the Pharisees hated.
In the next two verses, we see the consternation among the Pharisees, who felt that their power was in danger. Powerful people who see threats to their position always react to defend their power, usually by doing their best to denigrate and destroy the threat.
So here was their conversation, in my own words: “What are we going to do about Jesus? He’s done many miracles, and they’re hard to discredit. If we leave Him alone and do nothing, many of our people will believe in Him. Many already do. And the cursed Romans will get themselves involved, and remove US from our place and our nation! We have to DO something!”
Of course, they had the wrong perspective. What they didn’t understand was that their plan to destroy Jesus was the very thing that has brought countless souls to belief in Him. In the early days after the crucifixion and resurrection, hundreds of thousands of Jews accepted Him as Savior. The Pharisees’ plan had the opposite effect they hoped for.
Most Bible commentators agree that the Pharisees believed their place was the Temple. They were jealous of their authority, and considered the Temple to be God’s symbol of their authority over the people. They feared that the Romans, if they themselves did nothing about Jesus, would come in and remove them from their treasured authority and perhaps even destroy the Temple and the nation.
Because they had these fears, they chose to put Him on trial and get Roman support to crucify Him. What they did not foresee is that within their lifetimes, Rome would utterly destroy them, their Temple, and Jerusalem itself, dispersing the Jews throughout the known world.
Thousands of those Jews were now believers, and they took the Good News of the gospel with them wherever they went.
The Pharisees did indeed lose their place, and their nation. Not what they had in mind at all.