Scripture reading – John 11

John 11:1-45 – A Wondrous Miracle

John introduces us to the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, and finds them in a crisis: “Lazarus was sick” (11:2), and his sisters had sent for Jesus “saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick” (11:3). No doubt Martha and Mary were certain Jesus would come quickly, and heal Lazarus of his illness, and one they believed was terminal.

Jesus, however, expressed with certainty; “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby” (11:4b).

John 11:5 reminds us how “Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus;” however, His love had not spared Lazarus of his illness, nor had it moved Him to leave with haste where He was residing. Two days passed, when Jesus suddenly announced to His disciples, “Let us go into Judaea” (11:6).

The mention of going to Judaea raised alarm with the disciples. Knowing the village of Bethany would place Jesus within the reach of His enemies who had threatened to stone Him (John 10:31; 11:8), the disciples desired to dissuade Jesus from going (11:8). Jesus announced, “Lazarus is dead. 15And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him” (11:14).

After a day’s journey, Jesus and His disciples arrived on the outskirts of Bethany, about “fifteen furlongs off” (11:18), about two miles out, and were met by some who informed Him that Lazarus was dead and had been “lain in the grave four days already” (11:17).

Martha, hearing Jesus was close by, came to Him and complained, “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died” (11:21). Nevertheless, Martha expressed faith that, with God’s power, Jesus could perform a miracle. Jesus answered her faith, “Thy brother shall rise again” (11:23).

Martha expressed her faith in the “resurrection at the last day” (11:24); however, Jesus encouraged her weak faith saying, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (11:25-26)

Confessing her faith that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of God” (11:27), Martha rushed back to the house, and finding Mary, whispered to her secretly, “The Master is come, and calleth for thee” (11:28). Mary immediately rushed out of the house, and coming to Jesus was overcome with sorrow and through tears said to Jesus, “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died” (11:32). Moved by the tears and sorrow of those who wept, Jesus asked, “Where have ye laid him?” (11:34), and wept (11:35).

Martha protested when Jesus commanded the removal of the stone that sealed the cave where Lazarus was entombed (11:39), saying, “Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days” (11:39). Jesus lovingly rebuked Martha saying, “Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” (11:40).

Lifting His eyes up to heaven, Jesus prayed, and with a loud voice cried, “Lazarus, come forth” (11:43). Miraculously, Lazarus came from the tomb, his hands and feet bound “with graveclothes: and his face…bound with a napkin” (11:44a). Jesus then said to the people, “Loose him, and let him go” (11:44b).

John 11:45-57 – An Intolerable Crisis

Looking back, the apostle John realizes that raising Lazarus from the dead after he had been dead for four days was the zenith of Jesus’ miracles, and gave cause for many Jews to believe He was the Christ, the Son of God (11:45).  For His enemies, the miracle was intolerable and they determined that Jesus must be put to death, or else their power and position among the people would be lost (11:46-53).

Jesus, knowing the hearts of His enemies were set against Him, and knowing His appointment with the Cross as the Passover Lamb was at hand, withdrew from Jerusalem until it was time for Him to boldly, and publicly present Himself as the Christ, the Son of David, and heir to the throne of Israel (11:54-57).

I close reminding all believers that God has appointed a day when Christ will return, and on that day: “The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout…and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

Are You Ready for His Coming?

Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith