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Friends Don’t Let Friends . . . Die! (A Study of John 11) Part 25

As we look at this last section of John 11, we see that His intention in allowing His friend Lazarus to die (and then be gloriously raised to life by Jesus) resulted in two reactions: (1) belief on the part of some; (2) a prophesied plot to take Jesus’ life. Let’s read our section one last time …..

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.

“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”

49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”

51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. 53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life.

54 Therefore Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the people of Judea. Instead he withdrew to a region near the wilderness, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples.

55 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, many went up from the country to Jerusalem for their ceremonial cleansing before the Passover. 56 They kept looking for Jesus, and as they stood in the temple courts they asked one another, “What do you think? Isn’t he coming to the festival at all?” 57 But the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who found out where Jesus was should report it so that they might arrest him.

Caiaphas was God’s messenger (without Caiaphas’ awareness or permission) in predicting the death of the Lord Jesus. Jesus has to withdraw from the public, spending time with His disciples.

Many tried to see whether Jesus would attend the Passover. But Jesus was a wanted man. The chief priests and the Pharisees wanted Jesus’ presence reported so He could be arrested.

And so ends John 11. We read in the next chapter of John: “9Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, 11 for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.”  Jesus’ plan worked to perfection! Many were believing in Him. Not all. But many. At the cost of Lazarus’ earthly life and at the cost of Jesus’ sacrificial death, belief in the Lord was the result. For some.

The religious leaders’ hatred of Jesus was so strong that now they wanted to kill Lazarus as well. Presumably, this man did die a second time, either at their hands or through “natural” death.  But it was well worth it.

 

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2017 in John 11

 

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Friends Don’t Let Friends . . . Die! (A Study of John 11) Part 24

In our previous post, we used our “sanctified imagination” to speculate about the Father and Lazarus having a conversation in heaven.  Let’s return to our text and notice the last section of this amazing story …..

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.

“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”

49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”

51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. 53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life.

54 Therefore Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the people of Judea. Instead he withdrew to a region near the wilderness, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples.

55 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, many went up from the country to Jerusalem for their ceremonial cleansing before the Passover. 56 They kept looking for Jesus, and as they stood in the temple courts they asked one another, “What do you think? Isn’t he coming to the festival at all?” 57 But the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who found out where Jesus was should report it so that they might arrest him.

There was a clear reaction to Jesus’ raising Lazarus from the dead. Some “believed in him” (v. 45). Others reported Jesus’ action to the religious leaders who then called a special meeting of the Sanhedrin (vv. 46-47).

We get to listen in on their deliberations. They acknowledge Jesus’ “many signs” and fear the Romans will step in and limit the freedoms they enjoyed from their occupiers.

Caiaphas, that year’s high priest, makes an incredible statement: “You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” (v. 50).

God’s Spirit has power even over those who would seek to destroy the Lord! This miracle of raising Lazarus seems to be the work of Jesus which seals His fate. (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2017 in John 11

 

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Friends Don’t Let Friends . . . Die! (A Study of John 11) Part 20

Willing to risk the stench of a decaying human body, Jesus tells those in charge of Lazarus’ tomb to “take away the stone.” Let’s continue thinking through this chapter and read our next section of John 11 …

38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

How critical is prayer? Well, for the Lord Jesus, prayer served a variety of purposes (see our previous series of posts on John 17 entitled “What Did Jesus Pray About?”).

Here, just as the stone is removed from Lazarus’ tomb, Jesus prays. He says, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” (vv. 41-42).

Perhaps you’ve heard the story of the young seminarian who was asked to open the church service in prayer. He prayed a long, complicated, deep prayer and then said, “Amen.” The pastor, who was not always the most gracious, whispered to him, “I have never heard a better and more eloquent prayer — prayed to people!”

Jesus must have prayed this prayer out loud, for it was for the people. Not to impress them. But to challenge them to believe. Where else in our study of this chapter does Jesus emphasize belief? (to be continued)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2017 in prayer

 

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Friends Don’t Let Friends . . . Die! (A Study of John 11) Part 19

“Take away the stone,” Jesus commanded. The barrier that kept wild animals away from Lazarus’ corpse also sealed his body in that place of death. Let’s go over our section once more …

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

35 Jesus wept.

36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead

38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

Don’t you just love the unembellished logic of Martha? When Jesus says, “Take away the stone,” she replies, “Uh, Lord, you might need to hold your nose. There’s going to be a four-day-old stench!”

I’m told there is almost nothing that reeks as badly as a dead human body. But Jesus’ response to Martha’s warning is a mild rebuke: “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (v. 4). The glory of God! A divine promise — with a condition: “if you believe.”

What nature and sin had taken Jesus was going to restore — to the glory of God. A glory that could be seen. Don’t you wish you had been there? (to be continued)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2017 in GLORY OF GOD

 

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Friends Don’t Let Friends . . . Die! (A Study of John 11) Part 14

Could it be that BELIEF is the major point of the entire episode in John 11? Is it possible that Jesus cares more about our believing than He does our physical survival?

From all appearances, it seems evident that Jesus cared more that Mary and Martha and others would believe in Him as the resurrection and the life than He did about rescuing His friend Lazarus.

Let’s read our section once more . . .

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

35 Jesus wept.

We learn in verse 28 that Martha goes back, calls her sister Mary aside, and says, “The Teacher is here and is asking for you.” (v. 28). Now either Martha was out-and-out lying to Mary, or Jesus gave that assignment to Martha. The gospel accounts are summaries and sometimes leave out some details.

At any rate, Mary goes out to meet the Lord, followed by the mourners who had been with Mary in the house (supposing she was going to Lazarus’ tomb to mourn him).

Mary sees the Lord, falls at His feet, and says exactly the same words as her sister Martha said to Jesus: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (v. 32).  Again, those words must have pierced the Lord’s soul.  “Lord, if you had been here (and you weren’t), my brother would not have died (but he did!).”

We don’t like process, do we? There is much more at stake here in John 11 than the death of a friend. This tragic event is part of the process of leading others to believe the most important thing any human can believe — that Jesus is the resurrection and the life! And the Lord Jesus is wounded in the process as well. (to be continued)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2017 in belief

 

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Friends Don’t Let Friends . . . Die! (A Study of John 11) Part 13

The Lord Jesus is intentional in His actions (or rather inaction) toward Mary and Martha and Lazarus. He had a purpose in their tragedy, a purpose much more important than preventing His friend from dying.

Let’s look at the next section of John 11 . . .

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

35 Jesus wept.

Sometimes the Lord appeared to speak in enigmas. Jesus says to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die, and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (vv. 25-26).

If I had been Martha, I might have said, “What? Huh? I don’t follow You, Lord.” [She might have matched His confusing words by saying, “I don’t follow You, Lord.  But I want to follow You. Really.  Do you follow me?!”]

But Martha says, “I believe you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” (v. 27).

Jesus’ use of words like “life” and “live” and “die” and “never die” must have been confusing to her. But she did believe.

Sometimes the best thing we can do in the midst of a catastrophe is to say, “Lord, I do believe in You. I don’t understand all that is going on. I don’t have a clue how You are in this situation or how You will help me. But I do believe in Who You are — and that You love me.” And that should be enough. (to be continued)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2017 in belief

 

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Friends Don’t Let Friends . . . Die! (A Study of John 11) Part 12

Why doesn’t the Lord always answer our prayers the way we want Him to? Could it be that He is wiser and His plans, often unseen and misunderstood by us, are far more critical than our relief or the resolution of our trial?

There is no doubt that Jesus purposely allowed His friend Lazarus to die. He did not come to His friend’s aid when He was summoned nor did He speak or think his friend’s healing into existence. He let him die.

When He arrived in Bethany, there was no doubt that Lazarus was dead. He had been in the tomb for four days. Let’s look over our section of this story one more time …

16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles[b] from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

Sometimes our greatest struggle with the Lord is not with what He does but with what He doesn’t do. And Martha doesn’t understand why Jesus wouldn’t drop everything and sprint the two miles to Bethany to rescue His friend.

Martha’s heart was stuck in the now. And Jesus seems to direct her attention to “the resurrection at the last day” (v. 24). But Martha did not realize she was speaking to “the resurrection and the life” (v. 25)! Rather than being a future event, the resurrection and the life is a Person, the Lord Jesus!

Far more is involved here than one man’s death. We read that Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” (vv. 25-27).

Belief in Jesus is more vital than escape from physical death.  And the Lord who has the power over physical death sometimes uses the fact of physical death to save one from eternal death.  (to be continued)

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2017 in death

 

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