FRIDAY, JULY 7 | JOHN 11
Have you ever had to work in a group project where one person in the group is amazing and then another person is nearly useless? Sometimes, the amazing work of one person can be threatening to another because it raises the level of expectation. Jesus is doing amazing things and He’s got another miracle up His sleeves in this chapter. But, His good deed does not go unrecognized. Others are starting to feel threatened. They know that they cannot match the amazing things that He is doing because they do not have the power of God within them. As you read, pay special attention to the two groups of people who are affected by Jesus: those who have faith in Him and those who are threatened by Him.
Read John 11:1-16
Jesus had a close relationship with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. And Jesus, who had already performed miracles for mere strangers, was kind of expected to help this family who He had a relationship with. What did Jesus do when He first heard about Lazarus? He stayed put for 2 days! This might sound insane, but, He does the same thing two other times when close friends and family asked for help: His mother at Cana and His brothers on the way to Jerusalem. He first denied helping them, then helped them later while recognizing that the timing is God’s timing, not His own. All of this was done for one simple reason: so that God can be glorified through the miracle performed.
Read John 11:17-37
Martha shows some pretty raw emotion to Jesus in this section. She clearly shows that she is disappointed that Jesus didn’t come sooner. Yet, she remains strong in her faith and recognizing that Jesus is the Messiah. In the midst of a hard time, do you still recognize that God is in control? More than this, Lazarus had already been in the grave for four days. Jewish superstition said that the soul of dead stays near the dead for three days. By Jesus waiting four days, He is showing that God is truly in control of everything, even death.
It is also important not to overlook the raw emotions that Jesus experiences in seeing Lazarus dead. Verse 35 is the shortest verse in the Bible, yet, it shows the humanness of Jesus. He was, just as it says in Salvation Army doctrine, “truly and properly God, and truly and properly man”. And, despite everything that Jesus has done, those with Him still question the power of the son of God.
Read John 11:38-44
This miracle by Jesus was deeply personal. Jesus’ emotions were with Mary and Martha. He felt the pain that was death. In verse 40, what is the only condition that Jesus places on Martha for miracles to happen? God requires the same condition for Him to work in our own lives: faith. Genuine, limitless, and unquestionable faith.
Read John 11:45-50
Jesus’ miracles ultimately led to two reactions: belief and distrust. For many, they came to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, the Savior, the son of God. For others, they believed that Jesus’ actions were going to result in political repercussions or effects. However, Jesus’ motives were never based in any political movement. Instead, the focus was always on that of faith in God. The high priest, Caiaphas, ultimately makes the decision that seem logical, but not founded in faith in God: that Jesus should die in order to save their nation from being taken over politically by the Romans.
Read John 11:51-57
Jesus responded by going away to the wilderness. It should be clear that this was not out of fear, but because His “hour had not yet come” (John 7:30). However, His hour was drawing near. Jesus had performed so many miracles and spoken so much Truth that it was nearly impossible for anyone not to recognize the following that Jesus had built. Politically, it was viewed as a threat. Spiritually, it was God changing lives and preparing the world to experience the one, true Savior. To experience freedom from sin through the death of a sinless life in Jesus Christ.
This chapter shows a lot about the emotional impact of death, the humanness of Jesus, and the effects that Jesus had on the world. However, Jesus’ actions could no longer be ignored by the world He lived in. They had to recognize who He was and what He was doing. If we are saved from our sin, and called to live lives that are within God’s will, shouldn’t our actions also be something that simply cannot go unrecognized or glossed over by the world around us? How are you showing radical, deep, caring love for those around you? Are you simply praying that God speaks to you but not acting upon it? As you go through today, look for opportunities to show God’s love, the same love that can transform your life, to others in a radical, new way.