Greetings in Christ!!! This week as we conclude John 11 we will look at some of the implications of Jesus’ miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead that we have not yet considered. When we last left off, Jesus wept for his friends and the loss they suffered. As we pick back up, we can see this did not go unnoticed by the people who were present.
Father, give us understanding as we read thy word, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!
37 And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?
38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.
39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.
40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?
God has a way of doing the impossible, not just in Bible times but today in the lives of all who trust in Him. If God made you a promise He will keep it. The devil will try to convince you it cannot possibly be true; that there is no way that certain person will ever love you back; that there is no way you will ever be used to lead those people to Christ; that we can not possibly escape this downward spiral into the abyss of the new world order. The key to obtaining these (or any other) promises from God is to not give up. The only way to persevere and lay hold of a promise when it looks impossible is to believe that the promise is true. If you do not believe that person will love you back, or that you will be used for the ministry, or that God will deliver you from the new world order, you are likely to give up. Belief is the key. Sometimes there will be a long period of suffering involved, or what the bible calls longsuffering. Or like in the case of Lazarus, Jesus may grant you an instant miracle.
41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
Most of what Jesus did on earth was aimed at increasing our faith; at least the events John chose to include were (John 20:30f). The miracles He performed gave people the faith to persevere through the persecutions that followed in the first century. Because of their faith, how they were willing to die knowing that they were dying for the truth, my faith is increased all the more. Things may get pretty dark before Jesus fetches us back home, but I am confident that any persecution that comes our way will only benefit the church, ie strengthen it and make it grow.
43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
Jesus calls Lazarus by name. If He would have simply said, Come forth, the other dead bodies in the tombs would have tried to come forth too, with their stones still in place blocking them.
44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
45 Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.
46 But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.
In John 1:48 we saw Jesus demonstrate his omniscience. In John 3:13, we saw He is also omnipresent. By raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus demonstrated that He is omnipotent as well. Despite all this, some still did not believe. One of the hardest things to accept as a believer is when others do not receive the gospel. This can be especially hard when dealing with family members. The truth of the matter is that there are some who will never believe. That does not mean that we should give up on them; it just means it is out of our hands. We cannot even save ourselves, let alone anyone else. Those who ran to tell the Pharisees may have believed and repented later after Jesus died and rose again. Likewise, you may have to wait until after you die for some of the people on your prayer list to believe and be saved.
47 ¶ Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.
48 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.
49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all,
50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.
51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;
In verse 50, it sounds like Caiaphas is speaking of murdering Jesus to save Israel from the Romans if too many people believe on Jesus (v 48), but verse 51 shows that God was speaking through him, because he was in the position of the high priest. He was prophesying the birth of the church (v 52; cf Eph 2:11-17).
52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one [both Jew and Gentile] the children of God that were scattered abroad.
53 Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.
54 Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples.
55 ¶ And the Jews’ passover was nigh at hand: and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves.
56 Then sought they for Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the temple, What think ye, that he will not come to the feast?
57 Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him.
Despite the sinister nature of their plotting against Jesus, it was all part of God’s plan of redemption. (Acts 2:23; 1 Cor 2:7; 1 Pet 1:20) As we conclude Chapter 11, I am reminded of the promise in Romans 8:28: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. There are people in high places today, in principalities both physical and spiritual, as well as lower-level municipalities and townships, who are planning sinister things against the body of Christ. Although it may look like they are succeeding, they are not. It looked that way when they crucified our Lord, but three days later, He rose from the dead. We have this same promise of victory in our future as well. They wanted to kill Lazarus because of his wonderful and mighty testimony (John 12:10), but he had already died once. Killing him again seems a little futile, does it not? Could not Jesus have simply resurrected him again? The same is true of us. If they kill us they only speed us on our way to be with Christ. We will be raised again in glory with the first resurrection. Whatever they do to us, whatever they may take away from us, we have the promise of life in the world to come. Whatever you can recollect as the best day you ever had on earth or could have in your wildest dreams, maybe with an amazing landscape in Oahu and the person of your choice to spend it with, it pales in comparison to the worst day in heaven when we are together with our King for all eternity. In the meantime, consider that the word believe (or some form of it) appeared three times in this week’s text, eight times total in John 11. Again, John wrote his Gospel so we would believe: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name (John 20:31). Believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God is the first step. Next, God wants us to grow from baby Christians into Christian soldiers. He wants us to believe in the promises He has in store for us. If God made you a promise, believe it. God will keep his end of the bargain as long as you keep yours and don’t give up.
Prophecy Update: This week’s notes are fitting as we need to keep current events in perspective. The new world order is shifting their plan for worldwide domination into high gear. If you have been following recent news items you may be feeling discouraged or fearful. That is what the enemy wants and if you give in to it, you are falling into his trap. In Revelation 13:2, John saw the full-blown New World Order as a beast that was like unto a leopard. I have always believed that this aspect of the worldwide beast system shows how fast it will rise to power, like a leopard stalking its prey. Indeed, things are now moving forward at brake-neck speed. COVID is simply a manufactured excuse to accelerate the process. This documentary explains in detail.
The important thing is not to give in to fear. The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion (Pr 28:1). And again: For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Tim 1:7). The Lord has forewarned us and told us what to do:
Nation [Gk ethnos] shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony. Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls. And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. (Luke 21:10-28)
Much of the above passage will be fulfilled in the great tribulation period. The good news is that the church, the bride of Christ, does not have to go through the great tribulation period. What kind of groom would tell his bride he is going to beat her senseless for seven years (or technically three and a half) before he marries her? Certainly not our Jesus. Enoch was raptured before the flood. Lot and his family were delivered before God destroyed Sodom. Jesus will deliver us before He unleashes his wrath. Now is the time to prepare ourselves. (Rev 19:7)