Thursday, January 12, 2012

John 11 1 to 17

1 Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.
2 (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)
3 Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.
4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.
5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.
6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.
7 Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again.
8 His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?
9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.
10 But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.
11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.
12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.
13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.
14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.
16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.
17 Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.

Key Observation:
Jesus planned the death and resurrection of his friend Lazarus.

Jesus foreknows. It is evident from this passage that he foreknew of Lazarus’ death, and knew that He would bring glory out of it. The passage clearly tells me that Jesus loves Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. Says McGee of Chapter 11: “At the Feast of Tabernacles and the Feast of Dedication, the whole nation was before Him. He presented Himself to the nation and He was rejected: His works were rejected in John 5:16; His words were rejected in John 8:58–59; and His Person was rejected in John 10:30–31. This chapter is a kind of intermission. His public ministry is over and He retires into a private ministry. Centering Himself on individuals, He no longer is reaching out to the nation. The events of this chapter occur between the Feast of Dedication and the Passover which would be sometime between December and April.”

Jesus is using the death of his friend to teach others. And what is He teaching? Namely that Jesus has power even over death. In Christianity alone is promised victory over death. Paul says: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” (1 Cor. 15:19) Consider for a moment the martyrs that have gone before us. This past week I have had a friend from Nigeria tell us much more than has even been put in the headlines. There are a great many brothers and sisters undergoing the worst sort of persecutions in Nigeria. Foxes’ Book of Martyrs I have never been able to complete, because it is such a graphic litany of those who have died for their faith before us. What kind of life are we leading, if not to walk with our God through eternity?

I believe that Jesus specifically uses this miracle to display His power over death, and to give us confidence that those who have gone before us have not gone in vain. What is faith? “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” I do not see all the power of God in the here and now, yet I trust that He is able to completely finish the good work which was begun in me by Christ Jesus.

I have been to the two different kinds of funerals. On the one hand are funerals for believers, and on the other are funerals for those with no hope. I would much rather be with grieving folk who do not grieve as if they had no hope, but rather look by faith to what God has promised. There is nothing in my experience quite so sad as hearing the cries and lamentations from those who have no hope. I have many friends who have come to death before me, and I rejoice in our future reunion. As a young Christian I had the delightful experience of having many saints take me under their wings, help and teach and nurture me. I do miss them for they meant much to me, but I know by faith, and look forward by faith to being someday reunited with them. Oh, that will be glory for me!

McGee, J. Vernon (1990-01-30). Thru the Bible 1-5 (5 Volume Set) (Kindle Locations 102047-102052). Grupo Nelson. Kindle Edition.

O That Will Be Glory

1. When all my labors and trials are o'er,
And I am safe on that beautiful shore,
Just to be near the dear Lord I adore
Will through the ages be glory for me.

2. When by the gift of His infinite grace,
I am accorded in Heaven a place,
Just to be there and to look on His face
Will through the ages be glory for me.

3. Friends will be there I have loved long ago;
Joy like a river around me will flow;
Yet, just a smile from my Savior, I know,
Will through the ages be glory for me.

O that will be glory for me,
Glory for me, glory for me;
When by His grace I shall look on His face,
That will be glory, be glory for me.

Lyrics: Charles Hutchinson Gabriel

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