Heavenly Father, thank You that it is by grace that we have been saved through faith in Your Son Jesus Christ and not by work. Give us the stamina, energy, strength, wisdom, persistence, consistency to study and meditate on Your word, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
John 11: 36-57, the 7th Sign, raising of Lazarus.
VV 36-39, 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?” 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.”
The raising of Lazarus after 4 day in the tomb was the 7th and most remarkable sign of Jesus. After 4 days in the tomb, Lazarus’ body would have undergone decay and decomposition. The Jews questioned Jesus’ inability to prevent Lazarus’ death. Jesus demanded to roll back the stone but Marta objected saying, ‘’Lord, by now it stinkered’’ (KJV). In first-century Israel, the Jews buried their dead in caves. After wrapping the corpse with linens from head to toes, and putting it inside the tomb, they seal the entrance with a large round stone. After many months, relatives of the dead person collect the bones and stored them in a stone box called an ossuary.
VV 40-44,40 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.”
Jesus told Marya to believe. One of the prominent key words in John’s Gospel is the word “believe”. Jesus prayed to His Father in a loud voice, “Lazarus come out”. Lazarus came out wrapped in the grave linens. Jesus said, remove the grave linens and set him free. When Jesus resurrected on Easter, His body passed through the grave linens like a butterfly coming out from a cocoon. The Resurrected Christ was raised to eternal life. The resurrected Lazarus was raised to a natural life which will die again. Christians will be resurrected to eternal life in the rapture, 1 Thess 4: 16, ‘’For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first”.
VV 45-48, 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.”
After the raising of Lazarus, many Jews believed but not all. Some of the Jews reported the incident to the Pharisees. The chief priests were Sadducees, who did not believe in miracles, spirits, angels, demons, and resurrection. The Pharisees believed in miracles, spirits, angels, demons, and resurrection. The Sadducees and the Pharisees hated each other but their common hatred for Jesus allowed them to work together.
VV 49-53, 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. qbring them together and make them one. 53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life.
Caiaphas, the high priest commented that if all the Israelites believed in Jesus, the Romans would destroy their temple and nation. God used an unbelieving and unregenerate Jew to prophesie the substitutionary atonement of Jesus and the destruction of Israel. God could spoke through a donkey, see Numbers 22:21- 39.
V 54-57, 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.
To escape from the Jews, Jesus and His disciples withdrew to a remote village called Ephraim. As the Passover feast was approaching, the chief priests and Pharisees were determined to arrest and kill Jesus.
Heavenly Father, thank You that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us, in Jesus’ name, Amen.