Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

John 11:36-44

In John 11:36-44 Jesus is now at the tomb where Lazarus lie.  He has been dead now for four days.  Jesus was noticeably moved by Lazarus death but more so by the way it impacted Mary and Martha.  “The Jews said, Look how deeply he loved him.” We sometimes forget that Jesus was not only God, but also man.  But the Jews didn’t focus on His compassion for long.  They immediately attacked Jesus.  “Others among them said, Well, if he loved him so much, why didn’t he do something to keep him from dying? After all, he opened the eyes of a blind man.”

They still haven’t let go of the healing of the blind man, but since that was basically old news, why not spin it into a slam against Jesus.  After all, a miracle is a miracle and He’d done one, so why not keep Lazarus from dying? But Jesus is tired of their continual attacks. “Then Jesus, the anger again welling up within him, arrived at the tomb. It was a simple cave in the hillside with a slab of stone laid against it”. He goes to the tomb where Lazarus had been laid four days earlier and tells those there to do something that was pretty drastic given the time that had passed.  Jesus tells them to move the stone.

Jesus said, Remove the stone. The sister of the dead man, Martha, said, Master, by this time there’s a stench. He’s been dead four days!” Martha who is the practical one challenges Jesus on that order.  It’s going to stink like crazy if we do that she says.  It’s been four days.  This is a bad plan. “Jesus looked her in the eye. Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” But Jesus knows exactly what will happen.  He knows that a miracle that makes the blind man seeing is about to happen. Jesus is fully capable of this miracle without the belief of Martha or Mary. But if they would not believe, then they would never see the glory of God. So He tells those around the tomb to do it.  “Then, to the others, Go ahead, take away the stone.”

They removed the stone. Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and prayed, Father, I’m grateful that you have listened to me. I know you always do listen, but on account of this crowd standing here I’ve spoken so that they might believe that you sent me.” Jesus first talks with God and makes sure He is in alignment with the Father.  “Then he shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And he came out, a cadaver, wrapped from head to toe, and with a kerchief over his face. Jesus told them, Unwrap him and let him loose.”  Jesus simply calls Lazarus to come out.  No fanfare.  No magic.  No showmanship.  Just a simple direction like He used with the other miracles He performed.  Lazarus was covered in the cloth they wrapped dead bodies with as they put spices and things around them at burial.  But Lazarus is alive and walks out of the tomb!

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John 11:27-35

In John 11:27-35 Martha gets it right.  She responds to Jesus question about whether or not there was belief. “Yes, Master. All along I have believed that you are the Messiah, the Son of God who comes into the world.”  Martha has taken the step of faith all of us need to take to receive the grace that came with Christ’s death on the cross.  We have to receive that gift of eternal life by believing in Him. Martha then runs to get her sister. “After saying this, she went to her sister Mary and whispered in her ear, “The Teacher is here and is asking for you.” The moment she heard that, she jumped up and ran out to him”.

Mary had stayed back at the house when Martha ran off to find Jesus.  “Jesus had not yet entered the town but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When her sympathizing Jewish friends saw Mary run off, they followed her, thinking she was on her way to the tomb to weep there”. But Mary was headed to find Jesus after Martha told her that He was nearby. Lazarus had two sisters, Mary and Martha. Martha has already spoken to Jesus regarding the death of Lazarus, but now Mary speaks for the first time. Her words are remarkably similar to what Martha told Jesus. “Mary came to where Jesus was waiting and fell at his feet, saying, Master, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

Mary too, knows the power of Jesus. This is a significant statement of faith, saying that if Jesus were here they have no doubt at all that He would have healed Lazarus.  Both sisters knew the power of Jesus and believed in Him as Messiah.  Jesus arrives at the tomb and sees a place filled with all sorts of mourning.  “When Jesus saw her sobbing and the Jews with her sobbing, a deep anger welled up within him. He said, “Where did you put him? Master, come and see, they said”. Jesus the man has emotions well up inside Him deeply.  He wants to see where Lazarus is.  He’s ready to show the world His power, and to restore life to His friend.

Jesus responds to the weeping, particularly of Mary.  It captured His emotion. “Now Jesus wept”. Jesus wasn’t so much sad at the scene surrounding the tomb of Lazarus. It’s more accurate to say that Jesus was angry that death was still victorious. Jesus is angry and troubled that death can cause so much pain and sadness. He won’t settle for this domination of death over man much longer. In fact, He’ll soon meet death face to face and have victory over it.  Jesus painful weeping was for the pain He saw in those He loved so much.  Jesus loves us equally as much.  We need to cling tightly to Him in times of trials and trouble.  He is there for us.

John 11:17-26

In John 11:17-26 Jesus makes His way to Judea where Lazarus is dead.  He’s more than a little late to heal Lazarus.  The mourning is already in full swing. “When Jesus finally got there, he found Lazarus already four days dead. Bethany was near Jerusalem, only a couple of miles away, and many of the Jews were visiting Martha and Mary, sympathizing with them over their brother”. Why did He wait four days? Jesus did this in light of the Jewish superstition of that day that said a soul stays near the grave for three days, hoping to return to the body. Therefore, it was accepted that after four days there was absolutely no hope of reviving the body and sould.  It was really finished.

Word spread quickly that Jesus was on His way. “Martha heard Jesus was coming and went out to meet him. Mary remained in the house”. Only one of the two sisters went to greet Him.  “Martha said, Master, if you’d been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. Even now, I know that whatever you ask God he will give you.”  Martha plainly states her disappointment in Jesus’ late arrival. She’s not confident that Jesus will raise her brother, but rather says that she still believes in Him despite the disappointment. Can we say the same thing? Are we confident in who Jesus is and what He can do if He chooses?

Jesus meets here disappointment head on. “Jesus said, Your brother will be raised up.” No hesitation, no wonder or pondering, just a statement of fact.  Jesus had come to change the outcome for Lazarus and his family.  “Martha replied, I know that he will be raised up in the resurrection at the end of time.”  Martha still doesn’t get it.  She knows her brother will be saved, but missed the implication that Jesus was there to raise him right then and there. “You don’t have to wait for the End. I am, right now, Resurrection and Life”.  There’s no waiting for Jesus to do His miraculous healing of Lazarus.  He overthrows everything thing we know about death and dying and the way things work in this world. For a long, long time, death has ruled over men but no more.

Jesus gives the clear promise of eternal life here.  “The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all. Do you believe this?” Jesus is the champion over death. While the ancient people feared death, the Christian can only fear dying. The believer will never die, but simply make an instant transition from an old life to a new life. With Jesus, our eternity is secure if we believe.  Jesus challenges Martha not to debate or try to figure things out, but just to believe.  It’s the same challenge each of us are faced with – what will we do with Jesus.  If we believe, He becomes our Savior and Lord – Resurrection and Life.  It’s ours for the receiving, but we have to take it as our own.

 

John 11:8-16

John 11:8-16 has Jesus now deciding to head to where Lazarus and his family were. “Let’s go back to Judea.” Jesus had been notified that Lazarus was very sick, and his sisters Mary and Martha had asked Him to come.  But Jesus waited two days before deciding it was time to go there.  His disciples were not in favor.  “They said, Rabbi, you can’t do that. The Jews are out to kill you, and you’re going back?” Jesus could have raised Lazarus from a distance. But Jesus was willing to go to Judea and minister to Lazarus and his family, even though it was dangerous to go there. Jesus walked in the confidence of someone who really trusts God.  That’s the same way we need to walk as Christ Followers!

Why the fear?  Because the religious leaders want Jesus dead. But He is not concerned. “Jesus replied, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in daylight doesn’t stumble because there’s plenty of light from the sun. Walking at night, he might very well stumble because he can’t see where he’s going.” Jesus’ disciples were shocked that He would return to the region of Judea when He was a wanted man there. But Jesus makes it clear that He still has work to do. His mission was more important than His safety, and He has a miracle to perform and one that is highly personal to Him.

Lazarus has died, and Jesus is going to change that. “He said these things, and then announced, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep. I’m going to wake him up.” Jesus knows exactly what is going to happen.  But His disciples don’t have a clue.  They thought Lazarus had merely gone to sleep. “The disciples said, “Master, if he’s gone to sleep, he’ll get a good rest and wake up feeling fine.” Jesus was talking about death, while his disciples thought he was talking about taking a nap”. This will be a major miracle and wake up for the disciples.  Not only was Lazarus dead, but has been for days.

So Jesus makes it crystal clear. “Then Jesus became explicit: “Lazarus died. And I am glad for your sakes that I wasn’t there. You’re about to be given new grounds for believing. Now let’s go to him.”  This is an object lesson in faith.  But it’s more than just about raising His friend from the dead.  It’s also dealing with fear of being killed by the religious leaders.  “That’s when Thomas, the one called the Twin, said to his companions, Come along. We might as well die with him.” Thomas is one who struggles with believing at times, but he was at the front of the pack when it came to being willing to face death alongside Jesus.  Thomas, like the other disciples, didn’t understand all that Jesus said or meant. But what he did know was enough to make him willing to die with and for Jesus.

 

John 11:1-7

In John 11:1-7 Jesus hears about a dear friend that is ill.  “A man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. This was the same Mary who massaged the Lord’s feet with aromatic oils and then wiped them with her hair. It was her brother Lazarus who was sick”.  The relationship goes back a ways.  Jesus had a close relationship with this family, and it was expected that if He miraculously met the needs of so many others, He would meet their need also.  Only makes sense that if He is healing others and doing miracles for them, He would do the same for a family that has been dear to Him.

The two sisters were concerned about their brother, “So the sisters sent word to Jesus, Master, the one you love so very much is sick.” They do not state their exact request, but they do not need to. Where there is a true bond of love, there is no need to request a specific favor; it is enough to make the need known.  They expected Jesus to respond and He did, but probably not in the way they expected. He does give them good news though.

When Jesus got the message, he said, This sickness is not fatal. It will become an occasion to show God’s glory by glorifying God’s Son.” Lazarus was already dead when Jesus said this; but He knew the end result of this would be the glory of God, not death.

Most of us would see it as odd that Jesus didn’t respond by immediately running to the family and their needs.  But there was a much bigger plan in place here.  “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, but oddly, when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed on where he was for two more days.”  Jesus didn’t have to get there before Lazarus died because He knew God’s plan for his life.  He waited two days to make sure everyone knew his good friend was dead.  This allowed him to have a very true miracle moment by raising him from being very dead.

Guzik points out that in John’s gospel, there are three times when someone near and dear to Jesus makes a request of Him (the other two are His mother at Cana, and His brothers on their way to Jerusalem). In each of these three cases, Jesus responded in the same way.

  • He first refused to grant their request, then He fulfilled it after asserting that He does things according to the timing and will of God, not man.
  • Through His actions, Jesus demonstrated that His delays were not denials. They would bring greater glory to God.

This story needs to help shape our view of prayer and Jesus ability to impact the world we live in.  He is not bound by the same restrictions we have.  He is able, more than able, to deal with anything in our lives that need His hand, at any time and any place He chooses.  We must never lose hope, because He is above all the limitations we believe exists in the circumstances of life.  We must only trust.

John 10:31-42

 

In John 10:31-42 Jesus had a way with the religious leaders of getting under their skin.  He had just made the statement that He and the Father were one.  They weren’t buying it.  And they are getting more aggressive and frustrated with what He was saying and doing and the success of His efforts.  “Again the Jews picked up rocks to throw at him. Jesus said, “I have made a present to you from the Father of a great many good actions. For which of these acts do you stone me”?”  Jesus has done many good things, and still the religious leaders are after Him.  He asks them for which of His actions He was being accused and wanted to be killed.

They don’t really have an answer other than what they consider blasphemy.  “The Jews said, “We’re not stoning you for anything good you did, but for what you said—this blasphemy of calling yourself God”.”  Jesus had very clearly claimed to be God, and they wanted nothing of it.  So Jesus tries to discuss it based on the one thing they did hold as precious.  “Jesus said, “I’m only quoting your inspired Scriptures, where God said, ‘I tell you—you are gods.’ If God called your ancestors ‘gods’—and Scripture doesn’t lie—why do you yell, ‘Blasphemer! Blasphemer!’ at the unique One the Father consecrated and sent into the world, just because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?”

Jesus is really digging under their skin now.  But He continues. “If I don’t do the things my Father does, well and good; don’t believe me. But if I am doing them, put aside for a moment what you hear me say about myself and just take the evidence of the actions that are right before your eyes. Then perhaps things will come together for you, and you’ll see that not only are we doing the same thing, we are the same—Father and Son. He is in me; I am in him.”  He basically tells them to open their eyes and see what He has done and what the Scriptures say about Him.  But of course, they refuse to take the blinders off their eyes.  They merely want Him dead.

So they make an effort to get rid of Him again.  “They tried yet again to arrest him, but he slipped through their fingers. He went back across the Jordan to the place where John first baptized, and stayed there. A lot of people followed him over. They were saying, “John did no miracles, but everything he said about this man has come true.” Many believed in him then and there”.  Despite the influence of the Pharisees who were blind and were bad shepherds which Jesus had exposed over and over, many people still came to Jesus. God’s work goes on, despite the opposition of man.  Jesus is the way, truth and life and no man comes to the Father except through Him.  The Pharisees never got it.  Make sure you don’t make that same mistake.

John 10:19-30

John 10:19-30 has the religious leaders split yet again on Jesus.  They ranged from thinking he was crazy to being the real deal.  “This kind of talk caused another split in the Jewish ranks. A lot of them were saying, “He’s crazy, a maniac—out of his head completely. Why bother listening to him?” But others weren’t so sure: “These aren’t the words of a crazy man. Can a ‘maniac’ open blind eyes”?”  They are divided on whether this apparent miracle, which it certainly was, proved anything.  Some just couldn’t come to accept the truth that Jesus was God’s Son and filled with power.

But they couldn’t let go of Him either.  “They were celebrating Hanukkah just then in Jerusalem. It was winter. Jesus was strolling in the Temple across Solomon’s Porch. The Jews, circling him, said, “How long are you going to keep us guessing? If you’re the Messiah, tell us straight out”.”  They had heard His claims of being Messiah, and they pushed Him to declare Himself to be so.  Of course, that wasn’t because they wanted to believe Him, but rather trap and accuse Him of lying, which in fact he would not be doing.

So tired of their constant badgering, “Jesus answered, “I told you, but you don’t believe. Everything I have done has been authorized by my Father, actions that speak louder than words. You don’t believe because you’re not my sheep. My sheep recognize my voice. I know them, and they follow me”.” The problem with the religious leaders isn’t that Jesus hasn’t told them in many different ways the He is indeed the Messiah.  The problem is that they refuse to believe and receive His truth.  They are unwilling to take a step of faith and come into a relationship with the Savior.  God has ordained Jesus to be the way, truth and life, and no one comes to the Father but through a relationship with Him.

There is no ‘fake news’ here.  Jesus makes it clear.  “I give them real and eternal life. They are protected from the Destroyer for good. No one can steal them from out of my hand. The Father who put them under my care is so much greater than the Destroyer and Thief. No one could ever get them away from him. I and the Father are one heart and mind.” The offer on the table is for eternal life – no more, no less.  Jesus went to the Cross to conquer death and has defeated the enemy.  His blood covers our sin and protects us from the one who wants to kill, steal and destroy us.  Once we enter a faith relationship with Jesus and become a Christ Follower, we can’t be snatched from His grip.  We are His forever and become Sons and Daughters of the Father!

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