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Gospel of John - Chapter Eleven
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Pastor Ovid Need
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The message of the Lord is a powerful one, exciting hate in the hearts of those who felt threatened by it. It was a new and different message; He claimed not only to be from the Father but to be equal with the Father because He was the Son of God. The claim in chapters 4 and 10 was a very powerful claimNO ONE would ever see the Father without Him.
His message was rejected by the religious elite, the Jews (the Pharisees, Scribes and religious leaders). As the Lord presented the message that His people, the Jews, would not accept as true, He also performed miracles to confirm His message. These were works which had no equal since the beginning of the world, 10:32.
As Christ presented His message of access to the Father only through Himself, He also presented uncounted miracles to confirm His message. As the Jews rejected His message, He continually confronted them with His miracles. He said, "If you don't believe My words, then believe My works." Notice the number of times that we have already seen where He held them to this claim: 1.) 5:36. 2.) 8:28, 29. 3.) 9:16. 4.) 9:32, 33here because the former blind man believed that his sight was from God, the Jews accuse him of believing Christ is from God. Christ told His disciples that this was the reason for this miracle, 9:3; thus these Jews were right in their assumptionif they admitted that the healing was of God, they would have to admit that Jesus was indeed the Son of God. It is to bad that we cannot be as logical in our beliefthe works that only the Son of God could do prove that God was walking with men in the form of Jesus, and that judgment was/is now here, v. 39. 5.) 10:24-39 is extremely clearthese Jews knew the implications of Christ's words; therfore, they sought to kill Him for His claim, v. 39.
Bringing us to chopter 11. The Jews reject His message that He is from the Father, 8:54. In rejecting the message, they MUST also reject His works and explain them away, (He has a devil). But here Christ confronts them with a work which only God could do.
1. What had Jesus claimed to have, 5:26?
Now He is going to do a mighty work to prove His message. We can find out about this Mary, mentioned here, over in Luke 10:38-42. These sisters went to the Lord concerned about their brother's illness.
2. What did Jesus tell them? What was the purpose of Lazarus' illness, vv. 4, 40?
Notice 9:3. Jesus is going to confront the Jews once again with a mighty miracle that only the Son of God could do in order to confirm His message that He is from God.
a. What was Jesus' relationship to these three, v. 5?
b. After receiving the report, what did He do, v. 6?
Verse 7. Jesus tells His disciples that it is time to go. Observe: To us, the Lord may seem to be slow in coming to our "aid," but the "slowness" will be for His glory. It will fit within His purpose. (Eph. 1:11.)
3. Speaking of Lazarus being dead, what did Jesus call death, v. 11?
a. Jesus tells them that He is glad that He was not present when Lazarus was ill because He would have healed him. Why is He glad that Lazarus died, v. 15?
4. Lazarus' home lay in Bethany in the land of Judea. What had happened the last time Jesus was in this area, v. 8?
a. What are the disciples concerned about now that Jesus is going back to Judea? In fact, what were they willing to do for Christ, v. 16?
(How many of us would follow Him if we were assured of this result of following Him? As we read this chapter through, we find that it is quite safe to follow the Lord anywhere. He is in total and complete control of all circumstances, Prov. 16:33.)
5. How long had Lazarus been dead, v. 17?
6. What can we also be assured of, v. 22?
7. What does Jesus assure Lazarus' sister, Martha, of, v. 23?
a. Christ is going to give an irrefutable illustration of v. 23. Of what does He assure Martha, v. 25?
8. V. 28, Jesus sent for Mary. As soon as Mary heard Jesus' request, what did she do, (which is excellent advise for each of us also), v. 29?
9. Why did Jesus do this mighty work, v. 42?
10. Jesus was in Judea where He had already confronted the Pharisees several times already. What did some of the people do who saw Him raise Lazarus from the dead, v. 46?
Notice that Jesus waited four days. There is no way that folks could dispute that Lazarus was dead, v. 37. Evidently Lazarus and his sisters were well-known in Judea. There would be no way to explain away this miracle (as people so often try to do todayexplain away the miracles of Christ).
Verses 47. This presents a problem for the Pharisees and the priests, so they call a council to decide what to do. Judea was under Roman rule, probably something like Poland was under the Soviets. Theses rulers fear that Christ's miracles will cause the people to set Him up as a king, (which they had already tried to do).
I am sure that because they were in "the Lord's work" for the "gold, glory and gals," they figured Christ was also. Christ is gaining enough glory through His miracles that He could set Himself up as a king. They could not understand anything otherwise. Thus they agree among themselves that something must be done to prevent the loss of their power to rule Rome had given them.
11. The council reaches a decision. What is it, vv. 50-53?
Of course, the high priest here was thinking of preserving the Jewish nation's "freedom" under RomeGet rid of Jesus, and the threat to Rome's (and his) authority would be removed. Sinners have the same desire todayGet rid of Christ and His word, and the threat to their authority will be removed.
a. What was the purpose of this death of Jesus, v. 52?
b. These Jews set about in earnest to accomplish this. What does Christ do, v. 54?
12. What had the rulers of the Jews done, v. 57?
We will see more about Lazarus next time. What we want to see here is that the mighty works proved who Christ was; therefore, they had to reject His works. However, the people accepted His works, and believed His words that He was from God. Thus the rulers had to do away with Him to put a stop to what was "snowballing" out of their control. They must reject Him as being the Son of God (even saying that He is doing the works in the power of the devil), or lose their place of authority and wealth. Thus they view Him as just another man, leading a rebellion against their authoritthey are going to deal with Him as such with false charges against Him.
Let us pursue this point (power of the devil) for a moment.
13. What power did these leaders accuse Jesus of using to do His marvelous works, Mk. 3:22?
a. What does Christ say that the charge against HimHe gives it a name, vv. 28, 30?
b. What does He promise in regard to this sin, v. 29?
Here we have the unpardonable sin. Those who committed this sin were the ones who were making the accusation concerning Jesus in v. 22. Christ confirms this with v. 30. The judgment against this sin was fulfilled at the destruction and burning of Jerusalem. Thus this sin cannot be committed today because Christ is not bodily walking among us. Sad to say, most "miracles" we hear of today would probably fit best in Revelation 16:14supernatural workings contrary to the total word of God that draw people away from the WORD, e.g., "This is of God because it is supernatural." Something is of God only BECAUSE it conforms to (and even reinforces) God's word.
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