Lesson 15 Lecture – Chapter 11:1-57
John 11:1-4 1 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. 3 So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4 But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Interesting focus in our study today on John 11. Bethany is about 2 miles from Jerusalem. A messenger would have been sent to Jesus telling him that Lazarus was sick. It might have taken one day to deliver the message to Jesus. Yet, Jesus waits two more days before leaving. I hadn’t thought deep enough, but Jesus was waiting for God’s timing. Makes sense! (Here again is my favorite word: Patience!) As it was put: He waits for the God-Ordained Time! Not ours!
Knowing the story, I thought that Jesus was saying the illness of Lazarus was not death for him, but when Jesus raised him from the dead, there should be no doubt that Jesus is The Son of God.
John 11:9-11 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.”
I thought that Jesus tells us that when we, as believers, have the daylight, we are walking in His light. If we see only darkness, we are blind sinners and do not believe. Non-believers will stumble and fall every time. Having faith in Jesus is seeing the light.
Those were my thoughts about light and dark before the lecture. There is another way to look at it: There are a certain number of hours in the day to work. One needs to do as much as they can in the daylight. Jesus waited because he must be in step with God’s Will, in His Light. If Jesus does it in the dark, He is not doing God’s Will. It was God’s timing as to when Jesus would go to Bethany.
The disciples think Jesus is talking about Lazarus falling into a deep sleep, awakening at some point. Then he told them Lazarus had died. He told them he was glad he was not there.
As I was reading this, I pondered on the statement “He told them he was glad he was not there.” I think it was because he wanted them to actually see him raise Lazarus from the dead so they would never doubt he was the Son of God! Through this, Jesus will grow the faith of the sisters and the disciples.
1 God’s delays are not denials. They are by design and they are windows for His glory.
Questions: How do I respond to the challenges of God’s reaction or inaction? Do I patiently wait or take things into my own hands? Lord, give me patience, over and over again! Yes, the second question is what I would have done even a year ago.
John 11:21-27 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
Martha goes to meet Jesus and she tells him “If you had been here, Lazarus would not have died.” She knows what Jesus can do at this point. She also stated that she knew that whatever He asked His Father for, God would give him. Did she have any idea he would raise her brother from death? Jesus tells her he will rise, but Martha thinks Lazarus will “rise” again at the end (the last day). **Interesting focus again from BSF: Martha’s, and other Jewish folks theology is that they would rise on the last day. Most Jews believed in resurrection. It was the Saddusee’s who did not believe in resurrection. In other words, Martha made her statement of theological understanding and Jesus gave his “I AM the resurrection and the life.” He identifies himself as life.
So, if you focus on Martha and her faith, in just a short time she went from knowing to believing. Jesus had asked her if she believed in John 11:26. Too often we think we KNOW, and think knowing is believing, but it’s not. Here Martha was, putting all of her trust in Jesus because she believed with all her heart!
The difference between Lazarus was that he was raised and eventually he would die again. With Jesus, his physical body died at the crucifixion. He rose again and He is our Savior.
2 Active faith moves from abstract belief to personalized trust in Jesus
John 11:32-35 32 Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept.
Once more, we have Mary saying If. Here again Jesus shows so much compassion and readily cries for his friend, Lazarus, and all the sorrow everyone is going through. There is much discussion on why Jesus wept. It showed us just how human he was! He had much empathy for the family. He wept because of all the unbelief of the family.
Death is all because of sin. Death is sin. Because he had been human, he felt all that they felt. Their love for one another is evident in their sorrow over their friends death. I think the people had to go through this period of mourning and suffering, because through suffering, when one leans on Jesus, you become much stronger in faith. I think Jesus needed to show them, as the Messiah, that he could even bring back someone from death. Up to this point he has done miraculous things, but nothing like raising someone from the dead. The more one believes, the greater the faith!
Active faith involves doing hard things. Jesus is there to help us do the hard things. Amen!
John 11:38-44 Jesus Raises Lazarus 38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.”
When Jesus asked to have the stone rolled away, Martha protested, knowing it would smell. Jesus told her to trust him! I have to say, how easily we forget to trust. As said in BSF: Faith is like a muscle, it doesn’t get strong unless you use it. Here you are linking Faith to seeing God’s Glory.
First and foremost, Jesus is thanking God. (Question to remind me: Do I thank God for all every time I pray to The Father?) Jesus already knows that God has given him divine power, but in his performing this miracle, Jesus is giving Glory to His Father. He does tell us he is doing it for the people so they would believe. Fact is, it draws attention to the fact that Jesus and God are working together!
John 11:43-44 43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
3 Jesus calls new believers to new life in Him.
Lazarus obeys and immediately comes out of the tomb. (I am picturing this tomb as I saw a similar one in Jerusalem, of everyone standing around, watching. What were the expressions on their faces like when Lazarus came out? Did they think Lazarus would walk out of that tomb? Were there gasps of surprise, and unbelief on their faces? We are left with a mixture of disbelief and amazement, rippling through those standing there. Maybe I would have thought, “Is this a dream? Pinch me!” To see something so miraculous had to have been overpowering for the mind to deal with.)
From the BSF Lecture: This entire event is a picture for us of what happens to us spiritually. Until we accept Jesus’s call to come out of the darkness and into His light, we are spiritually dead in the stink of our sin. We need to unwrap ourselves from old habits to seeing God.
Questions: Do I need to unwrap anything? What is hindering me so I can walk with Jesus?
For those who don’t quite “get” that Jesus is the Son of Man, the doubt is the evil that takes control of their thoughts. If they admitted that Jesus had performed a miracle, knowing it was God, they would more than likely have been cast out, too. They were more focused on telling others what they had seen, than believing in the miracle, and that “God” was really in their midst. With all Jesus had done, why was believing that he was the Son of God so difficult to understand?
Another thought…. Moses was the intermediary to God, but Jesus proclaimed to be God. All I can say is… I thank God that I can know Jesus, freely, without being a cast-out. There are those who do not believe, but it is up to us to give testimony to the contrary.
John 11:45-52 45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, 46 but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the Council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” 49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. 50 Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.
I have to wonder if Caiaphas realized what he was really saying. Here he is predicting (basically) that Jesus would die for EVERYONE. I think it could only have been God who was putting the words in his mouth. I’m sure the others were thinking, “Yes, let this one man die for all of us. We do not want the Romans to take over, we like our earthly life.” Their hearts are hardened, and they have no concept that God was with them. Too often we have one mindset, which leaves room for nothing else. If God had called me, would I have listened? I believe I would! All I know is, God can use anyone, at any time, even when they don’t know it.
John 11:53-57 53 So from that day on they made plans to put him to death. 54 Jesus therefore no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there to the region near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim, and there he stayed with the disciples. 55 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves. 56 They were looking for Jesus and saying to one another as they stood in the temple, “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast at all?” 57 Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where he was, he should let them know, so that they might arrest him.
4 God’s purpose overcomes all opposition. He is always in control! He can use anyone to accomplish his purposes.
Where do I see God’s power and Glory in my life? All I have to do is ask him to demonstrate His Glory in my circumstances. Then sit back and watch Him work!
Lesson 16 Lecture – Chapter 12:1-50
There are so many interesting facts in John (learned this after the lecture today). Putting it into perspective: The Prologue is Chapters 1-12, telling us where Jesus went. Chapters 13-14 is Jesus interacting with his disciples. Chapter 18-20 covers the Resurrection. Chapters 21 is the Epilogue. There are 8 chapters dedicated to the passing of Jesus.
John 12:1-3 1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. 3 Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
I found this interesting during cross referencing in Matthew and Mark since they do not mention it was Mary and that the perfume was poured on his head, not the feet. Mary was referenced also in John 11:2 It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. Here Mary washing Jesus’ feet represents her servanthood. It shows her love and devotion to Christ, knowing she wanted to give her best to him. Jesus also makes mention of his burial. Another interesting thing he said in John 12:7-8: 7 Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. 8 For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”
It almost sounds as if Jesus is warning everyone that there will always be poor people, but he would not be here (which I think he is referring to his physical being not here). Once again, it shows that Jesus cared very little for money, materialistic things, and comfort because riches are not important. (Will be interesting to see what is in the lecture next week 1/25.) Well, after the lecture today, with regards to John 12:8, I love how it was stated: Jesus only came once to die for His people.
Mary may have understood that His hour had come. She wanted to do everything in her power to give back to Him. As was mentioned in BSF lecture: It was a type of “forward-looking mourning”. The scent of the perfume filled the entire house with the fragrance. It also gives us a chance to look back and know we are not where we were a few years ago, but we even see growth in ourselves. Isn’t that the truth!
Mary was showing her devotion, knowing her time with him was running out. It was a public statement of trusting in Jesus; lavish, spontaneous, beautiful. Mary had honored him and made history because we are reading about it today.
1 Selfless devotion is precious to Jesus.
The next day, many people who had been at the feast with Jesus knew he was coming to Jerusalem. John 12:13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, 15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!”
To think this was all predicted years ago! Here it tells of one who is King, righteous, salvation, humble. (All of which Jesus is!) No one can logically say the Bible is not true! Look at how it all links Old and New Testaments! Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Many people were proclaiming and shouting “Blessed is he comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel. In John 12:20 it mentions that some Greeks were looking for Jesus. Jesus said: John 12:23 “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”
OK, let’s think about glorified first. Glorified: The adjective means: represented in such a way as to appear more elevated or special. The verb means: acknowledge and reveal the majesty and splendor of God, by one’s own actions. The time had come for Jesus to be worshipped, to show all that he was set apart from everyone, special, and many knew he truly was King of all Kings. (It makes me think of when his mother knew there was something unique and special about him, just as the servants did who had seen him change the water to wine. But no one said anything about it then because it was not his time.) This time is different, everyone throughout Jerusalem and eventually the world, would know that Jesus was the Messiah, because it was God’s timing, for God to be Glorified and Jesus Glorified. Jesus’ time has also arrived… to leave the earthly world; dying on the cross to save all who believed in him. (If Jesus hadn’t died on the cross for all of us, Satan would have still been ruler.) At first these passages made me think “everyone” there thought it would be Jewish people who were saved, but we know Jesus died for all. There were so many others looking to him. I can’t recall previously if scripture had mentioned the Greeks were looking for him. Are they searching for him for their salvation? It is only after Jesus dies that others (Gentiles) were saved. Thoughts: Maybe the mention of Greeks just points to “others”, other than Jews, who wanted saving.
After lecture: The Greeks appearing and asking for Jesus symbolizes that Jesus will die for all of us! Gentiles and Jews.
The disciples did not understand this prophesy until after Jesus was glorified. When the hour has come, God took that and used the word ‘glorified’. Jesus’ obedience to God’s will, will bring Glory to God. Jesus would only follow his Father’s Will!
2 Obeying God’s will brings glory.
Key theme: Jesus came for the world. There are numerous scriptures in John that states this over and over again. John 4:42 – Savior of the world. John 8:12 – Light of the world.
John 12:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
I have a couple of theories on vs 24. Jesus was the kernel of wheat because he came to earth to glorify God and teach others of Him, but he had to die first so we could live without sin. Just as we have to die (be born again) (giving up the old way) to live for eternity with him. The warning is, if we don’t give up our old ways and live for him, then we will remain in the dark (Satan) and be forever alone. His promise is we live for eternity with Him! The other idea is a seed usually falls off a plant and dies, but reproduces again from those fallen seeds. When the fallen seed meets God’s creation (earth/dirt) it produces more fruit. Just as through our walk with Jesus we produce more fruit by sharing our faith. (Guess I will find out Wednesday, January 25th.)
From BSF Lecture: Jesus describes himself in vs 24. He is the first seed planted here that every other seed came from. Dying to self. True sacrifice. Putting down the will of self, picking up the will of God. Jesus knows it is God’s Will he is doing, and God affirmed Jesus by saying in John 12:28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven:”I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”
vs 25 talks about those who love their life more here on earth will lose it, but those who live for Jesus, instead of earthly things, will have eternal life with Jesus. That makes more sense to me. Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, lives within me because he died for my sins. As a human, I live by my Faith and love for Jesus, because of what God did for me, through His Son! When we die, the things we “think” we love more than Jesus, die with us because we can’t take them with us. However, if we love Jesus and walk in His Light, during our earthly life, we will take Jesus’ love with us for eternity and live with him forever.
It is interesting to note here that God spoke to some and not others, or so it seems. (Same as today!) Some heard it as thunder and others thought it was an angel. John12:29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.”
John 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.
Judgement and ruler of this world. In all of John, it talks about light and dark. I always think of light as Christ and the dark as Satan. Here it sounds as if Jesus is saying judgment will be done and the ruler of this world cast out. Is he talking about Satan because there is so much evil and people love the darkness so much? John 3:19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. (I don’t think people realize how much they love the darkness! One will never understand light and darkness if they do not know Jesus!) OK.. I digress here: I do believe John is telling us that Jesus is talking about the devil who will be judged and cast out. Those who don’t follow Jesus, will be judged and cast out as they are in Satan’s control. After that he says:
John 12:32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
This tells me that all of us who follow and believe in Jesus, He will take us with him when it is our time. Of course, you cannot follow unless you are called. Here again, God can call anyone, even if it looks hopeless. When you think it is hopeless; look to God! Nothing is hopeless in God’s hands!
John 12:35 So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” The Unbelief of the People When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them.
Vs 35 and 36 Jesus tells us he will be here for awhile longer, grab it while you can, and to walk in the light of Jesus; otherwise the dark (Satan) will overtake you. I cannot think of another way to take it, because those in the dark stumble and see nothing. Believe and become sons of light and spread the goodness. This past week shows how much Satan has ahold of others with all the hatred that has been shown throughout social media, etc. Brother against brother.
In BSF, Satan is referred to as The Prince of this World. Yet, by all of us placing Faith in Jesus, Satan no longer has a stronghold. He is cast out!
John 12:37 Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, 38 so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
The more I thought about this, the more confused I got. Then after leaving my lesson for two days, I read it again, and I can’t help but think vs 38 means God didn’t want others to fully know Jesus was the Messiah because Isaiah 9:9 had predicted that the Lord had not revealed it so there were still so many unbelievers! In scripture after scripture everything has come true, whatever was predicted. (Maybe because it would not be until Jesus’ resurrection that others would see the light and believe.) Will see what they say in our lecture on Wednesday, and the notes.
From BSF: Unbelief was the fulfillment of prophesy as stated in Isaiah 9:9. It is a continued choice of willfully choosing not to believe God. Many opened their eyes to God, but their spiritual immaturity kept them silent. They were considered quiet believers.
Questions to ask myself: Do I choose to believe and show my faith in Christ? Or am I silent when it comes to expressing what Jesus has done for me? I will never be afraid to speak of Jesus and His Love for all! It is as it should be: Let God control.
So basically, yes, God did harden hearts because so many refused to hear and follow him. They were blinded by Satan. Isaiah saw Jesus’ glory and he talked about him years ago. Shouldn’t this be a warning to all unbelievers today????
3 Surrender to God’s will brings victory.
John 12:40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.”
God blinded them and hardened their hearts. Once again, God can do all things. He can put words into your mouth when you don’t even know it, so he can harden people’s hearts! Those that did know who Jesus was, had so much fear in them from the Pharisees, they would never admit that they knew He was the Messiah.
John 12:45 And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. 47 If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.
It would be interesting to know how many people actually believed in Jesus at this point. Jesus tells them that if they believe (see) Him, they see Him who sent me. He was not on earth to judge, but to bring others to salvation. God would judge those who continue to live in the dark.
John 12:49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment–what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”
Jesus never had to wonder what to say. He had the wisdom to listen and wait for His Father to tell him what to say and when to say it. Here is where prayer is my saving grace, when I want to say something that is biting, but when I pause, it is the Holy Spirit who speaks to me and cautions me. How much kinder, to listen first, think, and than speak from the heart.
Surrender in our daily lives. Lay down comfort and pick up conformity.