Summary: Next in series on John. Examines the options we have in responding to Jesus.
John 11 (2)
Last week we studied the resurrection of Lazarus. What a fantastic miracle that was. Can you imagine? Can you imagine someone who has been dead for 4 days, being raised from the dead?
Can you imagine being one of the mourners at Mary and Martha’s house? Can you imagine being there, having brought a casserole to help feed friends and family? Sitting there with them?
And by the way, those at the house that day were good friends. Lazarus had already been buried. That would have taken place either the day he died or shortly thereafter, because they were not usually embalming folks then, so the burial would have been fairly rapid.
But, even though the funeral was passed, these friends were still there with Mary and Martha. Good friends.
folks, the pain and hurt doesn’t end the day after the funeral. Check in on folks. See how they are doing. . . .
But, on the 4th day after he had died, Jesus goes and raises Lazarus from the dead.
What an amazing miracle that was! Well, in light of that great miracle, how did the people respond?
- Read John 11:45-57
The Gospel of John is often called the Gospel of belief. Throughout its pages, there is a clear emphasis on genuine saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. As John himself stated his purpose for writing this was “so that his readers may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believingnay have life in His name (John 20:31).
In keeping with that purpose, John consistently presented the claim of Jesus Christ to be God in human flesh. The Lord’s 7 I AM statements, for instance, are nothing less than emphatic declarations of His deity and messiahship. The unbelieving Jews clearly understood that, that’s why they wanted to stone Him. They understood exactly Who He was claiming to be.
Such a radical assertion (Jesus is God) always compels people to make a decision - they can either acknowledge His claim as true, or reject it as false.
Look how these people reacted.
1. Many believed - Verse 45 says that many believed.
It is exciting and comfortable to be among the many. It is nice to sit in church, surrounded by people who think in many ways like you do. It is nice to see the Lord working in people’s lives, to see Him growing them, and changing them, and sanctifying them, transforming them more and more into His image.
I can remember going to hear Carmen, a Christian musician, in concert. To sit among the thousands and to worship together. I went to a Promise Keepers rally in Memphis one time. The whole stadium was filled with tens of thousands of men worshipping together. The men on one side of the stadium would shout, “I love Jesus, yes I do. I love Jesus, how ‘bout you?” And the men on the other side of the stadium would answer back, “I love Jesus, Yes I do. I love Jesus, how ‘bout you?” Good times, being among the many.
Many believed. The folks saw a miracle. They saw something that could not be explained away, so many believed.
But notice in the very next verse, there was another group of people.
2. But some of them, went and told the Pharisees.
Why? They saw the same miracle as the many. They were aware of what was going on. But some of them . . .
This response of unbelief in the face of the clearest proof is confirmation of what Jesus said in Luke 16:31, “If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.”
Do you remember that account? Jesus told the parable about the rich man a Lazarus, a different Lazarus, a beggar. The beggar died and went to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man died and went to Hades, to a place of torment. The rich man, in torment, asked for Lazarus to come a dip his finger in some water to cool his thirst. Abraham said he couldn’t. So the rich man begged Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead to go and warn his brothers so they wouldn’t end up in the place he was at.
And Jesus said, “If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.”
The chief cause of unbelief is not inadequate information. We continue to witness and to share and to support missionaries around the world, so that lack of knowledge can be addressed.
You may remember, we had several National Honor Society members last year who helped with Christmas in the Country. 3 we sent down to act in the nativity, we asked to play Joseph, Mary, and a shepherd. The students didn’t know who Mary, Joseph, and Jesus were, and 1 explained, “My family’s not very religious.”