1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

The Raising of Lazarus, Part VI, John 11:44-57

 

After a God imposed delay of two days, after Lazarus is dead for four days, after bringing comfort and compassion to Martha and Mary, after weeping with those that weep, after gathering of witnesses to the tomb, after the stone has been rolled away, and when all eyes and ears are turned to Jesus He commands in a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.

 

He speaks not loudly for Lazarus to hear him but for the witnesses to hear and to see in action what he has proclaimed before, that He is the resurrection and the life. 

 

Witnesses are to leave that place and proclaim to all the veracity of that claim.

 

Some will believe but others will conspire.

 

Jesus wants it clearly known that he is the Resurrection for in this message hope of victory over death is announced. 

 

Because He is the Resurrection He simply speaks Lazarus to come again into life.  Lazarus, come forth!  

 

John 11:44, 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.

 

So at the command of Jesus Christ, Lazarus comes forth from the grave still bound in grave clothes. 

 

In this to the eyes and ears of many witnesses Jesus Christ demonstrated his power over the material world and over the spiritual world. 

 

A soul is called back to dwell once more in his body. 

 

This event shows us how Jesus Christ has power over death. 

 

Note that Lazarus is still bound hand and foot. 

 

There is no indication that he has a new body like believers will receive at the rapture or the first resurrection.

 

After this resurrection Lazarus lived for a period and now he awaits, with his resurrected body again in the tomb, the first resurrection along with all believers who have gone before.  

 

This event therefore is symbolic of the regeneration of believers with takes place in our earthly bodies. 

 

It is symbolic of people being saved by Jesus Christ. 

 

This is a demonstration of a person passing from death unto life eternal in this body. 

 

For once we were dead but in Christ who is life we are now alive.

 

We have talked about the stone that was required to be removed to reveal the awful sin that dwells in the tomb of the heart. 

 

Jesus Christ regenerates the sinner from death unto life but notice the grave clothes clinging to Lazarus. 

 

The sinner is born again but the work of grace is just starting. 

 

There are grave clothes enclosing the sinner that need to be removed. 

 

These grave clothes keep the new man from freedom to serve God completely and freely and will be removed only by the grace of God.

 

Salvation, passing from death unto life does not remove the grave clothes. 

 

The new creation in Christ Jesus needs to be loosed from the bindings of the old nature.

 

The Lord commands those witnesses of his glory to loose Lazarus from the grave clothes, a picture of God and man as co-laborers in God's work.  (Paul described it as the former conversation of the old man in Ephesians 4:22)

 

He links his work together with man in the sanctification of those whom he saves. 

 

He alone speaks the word to sinners dead in trespasses and sins but we are privileged to carry that word to them. 

 

We are allowed to roll away the gravestone and to loose the bindings that keep the redeemed from serving God.

 

We are allowed to preach and teach the word of God which if believed will remove the grave clothes.

 

John 11:45,46,  Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.  But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.

 

They all see the glory of God. 

 

Something occurred they had never seen before.

 

They witnessed the glories of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 

 

And yet there was division. 

 

Remember Jesus had clearly told the disciples that he came to bring division.

 

And in this bright light some refuse to believe regardless of the evidence and instead choose division. 

 

It is a matter of the will of man. 

 

Those who refuse to believe would rather obey man than obey God. 

 

The most stupendous miracles are useless where the heart is opposed to truth.

 

They run and tell the Pharisees what Jesus had done. 

 

No doubt the facts were distorted by unbelief and misrepresented. 

 

But John tells us that many believed on him. 

 

Whatever doubts they had before it was now plain that Jesus was the Christ, the Sent One of God, the Prophet foretold of old.

 

John 11:47, Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.

 

The chief priests were probably Sadducees. 

 

Acts 5:17 tells us that the High Priest was a Sadducee. 

 

And the Pharisees were their theological opponents. 

 

But these two rival sects joined in the evil work of opposing the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

What do we? for this man doeth many miracles, they say? 

  

The evidence was clear, there was no denying the miracles.

 

What do we? Excitement filled all of Jerusalem. 

 

The city was abuzz with the news from Bethany. The pot was boiling.

 

Something must be done before our position and power over the people is taken away. 

 

This man shows no respect for our system, our religion, our establishment. 

 

They knew that if this Jesus were to come to power they would not survive their positions.

 

And this Jesus also, in their minds, threatened the status quo as far as the Romans were concerned. 

 

He must not be let go to disturb the way things are done now!  

 

John 11:48, 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.

 

Whose place and whose nation, the question should be asked? 

 

Chief Priests and Pharisees, whose place and nation is this? 

 

He came unto his own and his own received him not. 

 

The place was the temple and the nation was Israel. 

 

None belonged to the Chief Priests and the Sadducees for they were the house and nation of the Lord. 

 

They were more concerned about their position with men than about their position with God and therefore they determined to not believe. 

 

They were not persuaded even though one rose from the dead. 

 

John 11:49-52,  And one of them, named Caiaphas, kah‑ee‑af'‑as); being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.

 

Now Caiaphas (kah‑ee‑af'‑as) was a Sadducee, the group that believed not in the resurrection. 

 

This miracle of the raising of Lazarus was especially sensitive to him because it upset his doctrine. 

 

This certainly cannot be because I don't believe in a resurrection and if I don't believe it cannot be true.

 

So he tells the others, Ye know nothing at all!  

 

You don't know what you are talking about.  Letís cut to the quick!

 

We are not going to let anything happen to the stability that we have with the Romans. 

 

He is just one man who, for the benefit of a whole nation should die.  Itís that simple!

 

Get rid of this troublemaker and save our temple and our economy and our positions. 

 

We don't need more rigid rule by the Romans. 

 

We do not need this upsetting of our comfortable system and relationships and therefore just do the expedient thing! 

 

Right, wrong, just do what is expedient, what will protect us and the nation.

 

There are no other options, He must die!

 

John 11:51,52, And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;  And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.

 

Psalm 76:10, Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.

 

Caiaphas, (kah‑ee‑af'‑as) your wrath is turned to praising. 

 

John tells us you did not speak this of yourself. 

 

You did not know that your words had a double meaning. 

 

Your view was narrow and only concerned your present time.

 

But God overrules in the affairs of men and Jesus Christ died not for that nation only but that he would be the rallying point around which all the children of God would gather. 

 

God used you Caiaphas, (kah‑ee‑af'‑as) to bring about his will when you thought in your pride that you had the perfect plan to deal with this trouble maker.

 

There are many devices in your heart Caiaphas, nevertheless the counsel of the Lord shall stand.

 

Little did he know that he was a prophet of the Lord. 

 

Little did he know that he was a link in the chain that was to bring about the decree to crucify Christ. 

 

His motive was evil but God uses the wrath of men to praise him.

 

From the view of Caiaphas he saw the murder of Jesus Christ as a way to avoid confrontation with Rome, as a way to keep their positions. 

 

But from God's side the death of Christ was the vicarious sacrifice for sinners.

 

One man has said that the greatest crime ever done in the world is the greatest blessing ever given to the world.

 

John 11:53, Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.

 

Those who were formerly opposed to each other now take counsel together joining forces against the innocent one.

 

All in favor say Aye and the motion was cast without hearing, without trial, without justice.

 

The vote was taken and Jesus Christ was found guilty of not meeting the criteria for the Messiah as per the rulers of Israel. 

 

He did not fit the mold that their religion had constructed. 

 

Not the mold that God's word had provided but that was not important to them. 

 

Now the plan was out in the open and the details were discussed as to the how.

 

But Jesus knew and he also knew that his hour had not yet come so he withdrew as we see in:

 

John 11:54,  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.

  

He will not expose himself to the danger for His hour had not yet come but he knew that his hour was soon approaching. 

 

This was the time to withdraw and not to confront for He knew all things that were being planned. 

 

So he retired with his disciples to a city called Ephraim.

 

John 11:55, And the Jews' passover was nigh at hand: and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves.

 

This is the third Passover mentioned in John's Gospel. 

 

Many came to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves so they would be allowed to keep the Passover one month later. 

 

So dedicated to their religious ritual but so corrupt of heart. 

 

Many of these same Jews would be participants in the murder of the very Messiah sent by God to save. 

 

Careful about the outward, careful about the whiteness of the outside of the sepulcher but no thought about inward purity.

 

John 11:56,57,  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?  Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should show it, that they might take him.

 

It was now public knowledge in Jerusalem that Jesus was now a wanted man. 

 

All of Jerusalem spoke of the commandment that had come forth from the religious authorities. 

 

Wanted, he which calleth himself Jesus, blasphemer against God, false prophet, false Messiah. 

 

The topic of conversation at that Passover was, would this miracle worker who claimed not only to be the Messiah but the Son of God, dare to show his face?

 

Satan has organized his forces and is prepared to exercise his full power, that of murdering the Son of God.   

 

The Pharisees and the chief Priests are simply pawns in his hands.

 

Jesus Christ's hour had not yet come but the players are setting the stage and the actors are assembling.

 

But little did they know the glorious plan of God.