July 23nd 2021 – John 11:42

Verse of the Day Devotion:  John 11:42   And I knew that Thou hears Me always; but because of the people standing around I said it, that they may believe that Thou didst send Me.  

Over the next week we will be looking at seven miraculous signs performed by Jesus as recorded in the Gospel of John.  These signs show that Jesus was not just some ordinary man but was truly the Son of God.  Today we will look at the last sign which is Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.

There was a man who lived in Bethany, the village where Mary and her sister Martha lived.  And this is the same Mary who had anointed the feet of Jesus and wiping His feet with her hair. And these are the sisters of the man who was ill.  They send for Jesus to come, for Lazarus, whom He love is very sick.  However, Jesus responded by saying, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” John 11:4. Something special was going to happen that would bring glory to the Jesus.

After two days, Jesus left to go to Judea again.  The disciples were nervous and made this clear to Him. “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and are You going there again?” John 11:8. Jesus responds by referring to a comment in chapter nine. “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9:5. Note the wording here. “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. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” John 11:10.  Then after saying this, Jesus gives some context. “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, that I may awaken him out of sleep.” John 11:11.  He was saying, while I am here, I must do the work His Father sent Him to do. And this will become more clear further on. When the disciples heard Jesus say Lazarus fell asleep, they assumed he would eventually wake up, but Jesus then comes out and said, “Lazarus is dead, and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.” John 11:14b-15. Several Jews came to the house to console them, which provides an opportunity to see this miracle.

Jesus then arrives and Mary goes out to meet Him and says, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” John 11:32. Jesus then, seeing her and the Jews weeping, began crying Himself.  Some Jews that were present remarked that Jesus obviously loved this man, but some said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of him who was blind, have kept this man also from dying?” John 11:37. Then, being deeply moved, came to the tomb.  He told them to remove the stone, upon which Martha responds, “Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.” John 11:39b. But Jesus counters by saying, “Did I not say to you, if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” John 11:40. This is said above in verse four. His words here were probably said to the disciples to whom He had said it. 

Now we come to the critical verses which includes our focus verse. “And so, they removed the stone. And Jesus raised His eyes, and said, Father, I thank Thee that Thou hears Me. And I knew that Thou hears Me always; but because of the people standing around I said it, that they may believe that Thou didst send Me.” John 11:41-42. Several things we see here.  First, his direct reference to God as ‘Father’ is characteristic of his praying. To say that the God He prayed to is His Father was quite revolutionary.  Second, the prayer assumes that Jesus has already asked for Lazarus’ life, and that all he must do is to thank his Father for the answer. That is not surprising for verse eleven also assumes that the raising of Lazarus had been determined for some time. Third, this prayer was not a matter of public playing to the people there, it is intended to show His intimacy with the Father. 

After this prayer, Jesus then cries out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” John 11:43b. After this we see the miracle. “He who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings; and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, unbind him, and let him go.” John 11:44.

The sign here shows that Jesus is truly the Son of God. And this sign was to be seen again by the Jews, which included Mary and Martha and the disciples.  Many of the Jews who were there had their minds changed. “Many therefore of the Jews, who had come to Mary and beheld what He had done, believed in Him. But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things which Jesus had done.” John 11:45-46. However, the leadership for the most part was angry. “Therefore, the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” John 11:47-48. They called this miracle a sign, which it was, that showed proof that Jesus was the promised Messiah. In John 9, regarding the healing of the blind man from birth.  He there said that those Jews who see these signs and still do not believe are blind. “And Jesus said, For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see; and that those who see may become blind. Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things, and said to Him, We are not blind too, are we? Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.” John 9:39-41.

Jesus allowed Lazarus to die (fall asleep) so that He could show many the miracle and believe. “Father, I thank Thee that Thou hear Me. And I knew that Thou hear Me always; but because of the people standing around I said it, that they may believe that Thou didst send Me.” John 11:41b-42. Jesus came here to be a light in the world. And what better way to shine this light than to show people who He is and the power and glory He has from the Father. We see this in this miracle as well as the other six signs.  He wanted everyone to see who He was, for He loved them and desired them to believe in Him and be saved. 

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

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