Today: [John 11 Part 2:] Lazarus, Come Forth (Part 2)! In part 2 of John 11 Jesus has brushed aside Martha’s objections and stands before the tomb of Lazarus. What happens next will seal the resolve of the Jews to see Jesus destroyed. Jesus realizes this but raises Lazarus to life regardless. This is the love of God toward you. God is willing to offend religious mentalities unto death if necessary to see that you receive your miracle.
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38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. 39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been [dead] four days. 40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? 41 Then they took away the stone [from the place] where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up [his] eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said [it], that they may believe that thou hast sent me. 43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go. 45 Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. 46 But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. 47 Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. 48 If we let him thus alone, all [men] will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. 49 And one of them, [named] Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, 50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. 51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; 52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. 53 Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death. 54 Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples. 55 And the Jews’ passover was nigh at hand: and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves. 56 Then sought they for Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the temple, What think ye, that he will not come to the feast? 57 Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew [it], that they might take him.
Jesus comes to the tomb and groaning in Himself standing before the entrance with a stone rolled over the grave. He instructs that the stone be moved away. Why didn’t He do it Himself or with His disciples? He has to have – He requires cooperation of those involved. Martha sees what is about to happen and complains that this is just too much. After all Lazarus has been dead four days and the decay of his body will bring an unpleasant odor. Are you prepared to be inconvenienced by a miracle?
Martha wasn’t. She would rather live in a world without a miracle that she could understand and relate to, than to see a miracle and have her finite thinking upended by the power of God. The stone is the stone of our unbelief. We falter and fail and cauterize our disappointments with bitter eventualities and move on even when God is about to show up and do the thing we think He should have done earlier. Do not make haste to give up on God!
Jesus lifts up His eyes and in the hearing of those around Him, has an unnecessary conversation with His Father. He prays to God when He knew all He had to do was command Lazarus to come forth. Sometimes we do this as well. We pray to God for things that we ought to simply command. Jesus didn’t say pray regarding the sick He said heal the sick. There are times that it is more fitting to act with the presumptive authority of the Name of Jesus than to sit down and have a prayer meeting. Sometimes prayer meetings are simply excuses for not seeing a miracle. Having affirmed His authority in conversation with His Father Jesus declares with a loud voice:
Lazarus, come forth!!!
Then he that was dead came forth bound hand and foot. Are you ready for what is dead in your life to come forth? What was he bound with? The finality of the thinking of those who didn’t expect Lazarus to be delivered. How many times have we wrapped up our dead dreams and dead hopes in the grave clothes of our disappointment? How many times have we rolled the stone of regret over the tomb of our unbelief, entombing our hopes and dreams because we don’t expect God will move at this late date. Let us be encouraged because God is a resurrection God!
As a result of Lazarus’ resurrection many believe on Him but the Jews have had it. They don’t care that a miracle has taken place. They care nothing for the restored life of Lazarus or that two bereaved sisters have received their dead back to life. They are no longer in control and will now take measures to deal with Jesus once and for all. They are the priesthood of the status quo. They want things to remain the same because they are familiar with things as they are and can control things as they are. Unfortunately, many Christian leaders would rather kill the move of God than to lose face or lose control of their people.
Because the murderous intent of the Jews is now unchecked, Jesus did not walk openly among them for His time was not yet but was however soon approaching.
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