Jesus Died for the Nations
Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on September 25, 2016
Open your Bibles to John 11:45-57. Today we will close out chapter 11 in dramatic fashion and begin our walk with Christ to the cross. At this point, I think it would be good to review what the Apostle John has told us about the ministry of this Jesus of Nazareth.
So far we have seen John the Baptist, the greatest and most influential prophet to have ever existed, proclaim that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. We have seen Jesus, himself, make extravagant claims about who He is; such as, declaring that he is the Temple of God, that He is the bread of life, that He is the light of the world, that He is the door of salvation, that He is the good Shepherd, that He is the resurrection and the life. We have seen him back up these claims by turning water into wine, feeding the 5,000, walking on water, healing the lame and giving sight to the blind. And then last week we saw one of the most amazing miracles, the raising of Lazarus from the dead.
As we have said before, these were not the only miracles that Jesus performed. In John 21:25 Johns says, “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” All of this evidence has been accumulated over the last three years of Jesus’ life and today we come to an ordained tipping point. So with that, let us read our text, pray and see what God has to say to us this morning.
John 11:45-57 – “Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, 46but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. 48If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” 49But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. 50Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” 51He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. 53So from that day on they made plans to put him to death. 54Jesus therefore no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there to the region near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim, and there he stayed with the disciples. 55Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves. 56They were looking for Jesus and saying to one another as they stood in the temple, “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast at all?” 57Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where he was, he should let them know, so that they might arrest him.”
The Council of Man
As we have seen time and time again; when Jesus preaches and then follows up his teaching with a sign that proves that He is who he claims to be, some people believe and some people don’t believe. Both set of people hear the same message and see the same evidence. Over the last month we have been unpacking the question, “Why?” And we saw that Jesus Christ gives the answer in John 10. Only His sheep hear His voice and follow him. If you are his sheep, you will believe. If you are not His sheep, you will not believe. And in our story today we see the same thing.
A group of people have just seen the most amazing miracle that has ever been performed on the planet, the raising of a dead person. As a result of this miraculous event many Jews believed that Jesus really is who he claims to be.
I want us to spend a second and emphasize how logical this is for them to believe in Jesus. Jesus has claimed that in him there is life, that he came to give life, that he is the resurrection and the life. And when Jesus speaks these extravagant claims he does so with such convincing authority, some people actually believe Him based on words alone. However, others do not believe based just on what Jesus says. So what does Jesus do, he backs up his claims with evidence. He proves to them that what he says is true. In the case of Lazarus, he commanded a four day old dead man to live, and the dead man obeyed. Jesus claimed to have the ability to give life and he provides the evidence of that with Lazarus’ death.
The people in this story who believe in Jesus were the most reasonable, logical, rational, enlightened, scientific, and common-sense driven of the two groups. The evidence that Jesus provided was in one word…overwhelming. But some people still didn’t believe. Why? As it says in 2 Corinthians 4:4, “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” The question is never about the volume of evidence, it is always about new birth, regeneration, the Spirit of Christ opening up their eyes to see His glory. This was true then and this is true today.
For those who did not believe, what did they do? Instead of running to Jesus, they ran to who? The Pharisees. Verse 46, “but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.” Can you imagine that moment? Numerous eyes witnesses coming straight from Bethany to the Pharisees in Jerusalem saying, “He just raised a dead man.” “Who?” “Jesus of Nazareth.” “What do you mean he raised a dead man?” “Lazarus…Jesus showed up on the 4th day of his funeral and commanded the rock to be rolled away, he prayed to God, and then he called Lazarus out of the tomb, and he came out. Burial cloth and all.”
You can almost see the wheels turning in the minds of the Pharisees. And can almost guess what they would have asked next. “How many people saw it? What was their reaction? Where is Jesus now? Is He on his way here?”
After receiving this eye witness account of Lazarus’ resurrection they decided to call an emergency meeting. Verse 47, “So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council.” Who is this council? It is the council of the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin was the ruling body of the Jewish nation. Think of congress. They were the ones in charge. They were the top dogs, if you will. The top of the top was the chief priest, or high priest. Think of Speaker of the House or Prime Minister. These were generally not Pharisee, but Sadducees. Sadducees were the liberal Jewish sect who were more politically motivated than Biblically motivated.
During that time, there were actually two high priests. You can see that in our text with the plural form of priests. Today in Sunday School we saw a text that spoke directly about this. Luke 3:2 mentions two high priests, Annas and Caiaphas. No one knows exactly why there was two, except to say that Annas was a previous high priest and Caiaphas was his son-in-law and perhaps due to Annas' popularity he was considered to be the one with the real power.
The main concern of the Sanhedrin is found in verse 48, “If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” It is interesting that those who rejected Christ, could not deny his miracles. His miracles were public facts that could not be disputed. However, this does not mean they believe in Jesus. Their hearts were not right, and you can see this in the second half of the verse. What was their concern? Thier concern was Rome taking away their place and their nation. Remember, these were the top dogs. These are the people who had power, control, money. They were the top of the Jewish food chain. And Jesus was a threat to retaining that control.
It is interesting that nothing has changed in the world. It is extremely common that the persecution of Christians throughout history has come at the hands of the government. Why? Because the government is worried about losing control, losing power, losing followers. Government has frequently seen Christianity as a threat and it will until Christ returns. The old Soviet Union, China, North Korea, India. If Christianity takes hold in India, the current ruling party, the BJP which is a right wing Hindui nationalist party will lose their power. Christians are a threat to this power, therefore what does the BJP do? The prohibit groups like compassion international from serving in the nation. They close down Christian orphanages. They turn their head when radical Hindus kill Christians and burn down their houses and churches. Why? The same reason, they believe that if people believe in Jesus the BJP will lose their nation.
However, it is not just governments. Jesus is a threat to us all. To be a Christian means to give up all power and all control to Jesus Christ. He becomes your Lord. He becomes your Master. He becomes your King. This means you lay everything down at his feet. You are no longer your own. You lay down your money. You lay down your family. You lay down your American dream. You lay down your professional goals. You even lay down your life. For many people they are just like the rich young ruler in Matthew 19. Jesus tells us to lay everything down and follow him, but we walk away sad because we won't give up the power and control of our lives. We will not take the crown off of our heads and let Christ be King.
In our text today, what is their solution? Verse 49, “But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. 50Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” The High Priests answer to the Jesus problem was to remove him from the equation, to kill him. With this statement the High Priest is proving something that Jesus stated back in John 8:44, “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning.” This is where their sin led them, to the killing the Author of Life. The depravity of of this statement is almost unfathomable. The High Priest was made by Jesus. Remember John 1:3, “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” Now the creature wanted to kill the Creator. The clay wants to destroy the Potter. It is insanity, but this is what sin does. It causes you to make illogical decisions.
And to an extent and in a sense, this is exactly what we do when we reject the Lordship of Jesus in our lives. When we come to a sermon that stings a little bit, or participate in a Bible study that makes us feel uncomfortable, or read something in the Bible that makes us squirm; instead of submitting, we effectively remove Jesus from the equation. We stop going to that Church, stop attending small groups, we stop reading our Bible. It is sad to say, but many people, perhaps even in this room, share more in common with the High Priest that the 12 disciples.
And with the words of the High Priest, Jesus fate was sealed. His time had come. As I said previously, the resurrection of Lazarus was the resurrection that led to the crucifixion.
The Plan of God
Fortunately, there is more, and it is good. Verse 51, “He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.”
The statement of Caiaphas to kill Christ came from his heart, came from his head, came out of his lips. He really said it. And he will really be held accountable for saying it, but he did not say it on his own accord. The ultimate cause of him ordering the death of Jesus and explaining the rational behind it was God. This statement was prophecy. Specifically the Word of God that reveals future events.
Why is this important? It is important because we must understand that what is going on in this moment is not something outside of God's sovereign will. The plan to kill Jesus did not originate in the midst of the council of the Sanhedrin. The plan to kill Jesus originated in the council of the Trinity before time had began. We must see the hand of God in every moment of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, from beginning to end. This is the way the early Church saw it. In Acts 4:27 this was Peter's prayer to God, “for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.” The death of Jesus was not accidental it was providential.
The Substitutionary Atonement
Which leads us to the must crucial question of this morning and everyone morning, how does this plan work. How in the world would the death of Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God be beneficial to anyone? Look at our text again, verse 51, “ he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.”
What Caiaphas meant with this statement was the it was better for Jesus to die than for Rome to come and destroy them. Jesus death would keep Rome from killing them. Jesus was a scape goat to avoid the wrath of Rome. However, what God meant had nothing to do with the wrath of Rome, and everything to do with the wrath of God.
What is being proclaimed by Caiaphas is the amazing reality of what is called substitutionary atonement. It is the good news that Jesus came to die in our place. He is a substiute for me. He is a substitute for you. He is a substitute for everyone who repents and puts their faith in Him, the children of God who are scattered abroad. This is the heart of Christianity. This is the core of the Gospel, substitutionary atonement.
You and I, and all of the human race deserve the wrath of God. He is a God who has given us everything. The heavens, the earth, these bodies, this moment. The only reason you exist is because it is God's will, not yours. He is infinitely good and Holy and loving, and we have spit in his face by rejecting his authority in our lives and justice demands our punishment. We have committed the highest of treason and our penalty must match the crime. And it will.
The wages of our sin is death, and this death is not just the end of your heart beating. It includes the what the Bible calls the second death. The second death is more commonly known as Hell, the lake of fire. And this eternal abode is exactly what we deserve because of the atrocities of our sins against the Supreme Lord.
However, because God is love, he gave us his Son; not to primarily be a good example, or a good teacher, but primarily to be a substitute. Jesus came to stand in your place and bear the full wrath of God. He is the sacrificial Lamb of God who will bleed out on a cross so that you don't burn in Hell for all eternity. 1 Peter 3:18 says, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.” This is the entire point of why Jesus came. To die in our place. Caiaphas had no clue how true his statement was. Jesus came to die for the nations, and everything was playing out according to plan.
The bottom line is that we are sinners, each of us have a choice, we can choose to bear the wrath of God ourselves, or we can allow Christ to bear them for us. The penalty has to be paid by someone. Justice requires it. I can't sum it up better than John did in John 3:36, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. ” My prayer for everyone in this room is that you would feel the weight of this reality and put your faith in the death of Christ, and recognize Him as your substitute, so that you can avoid the wrath of God and live forever.
The Loving Call of Christ
Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on September 18, 2016
Open your Bibles to John 11:28-44. As we begin, let’s catch ourselves up to speed by way of review. John 11 is all about the resurrection of Lazarus. Over the last two Sunday we have learned these things from the text:
John 11:28-44 – “When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35Jesus wept. 36So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?” 38Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” 40Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” 41So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
I want to begin this morning by drawing your attention to two verse 33, “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35Jesus wept.”
For many of us, this is not a hard picture to have in our mind. Many of us have been to a number of funerals. Some of those funerals are harder than others. Perhaps the hardest funeral for me was my cousin Andrew’s. In 2003 he was 19 years old, and was the kindest young man you could ever know. On the day of his death he was in my grandfather’s machine shed working on some project and the power-tool that he was holding shorted and he was electrocuted. I still recall the phone call from my mom. I was in Des Moines working at the Attorney General’s Office. We, of course, drove the four hours down to Lawson, Missouri just outside of Kansas City for the visitation and the funeral. I held it together pretty well until the funeral. I recall standing in front of his mom and dad (my Aunt and Uncle) and his two brothers and sister and seeing the grief in their eyes and I couldn’t keep it in any longer. Tears just poured out. My heart broke because their hearts were broke.
We see the something similar today in our text with Jesus. As he gazed upon Mary and the tears running down her face, and the grief in her eyes. And as he gazed upon the crowds and the tears in their eyes, Jesus, the Son of God, was moved to tears.
Isaiah 53:3 says this about Jesus, “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;”
What an amazing truth, our Jesus, our God, is a God of compassion. The pain that we feel, he feels. We love to talk about the sovereignty of God and the authority of Christ, but shame on us if we forget about the compassion of our King. This is the Good Shepherd we read about last month who loves his sheep. And his sheep Martha and Mary are hurting. He doesn’t say suck it up, he weeps with them.
And let us not forget that Jesus knows how the next few minutes will play out. He knows what the future holds. He knows that Lazarus will rise again, for that is the Father’s will and that is what Jesus will do in just a matter of seconds, yet despite this funeral dripping with sovereignty, Jesus wept. Why? Because God is love, and their pain is real.
This is something that some of us must get beyond. Believing in the sovereignty of God does not equate to stoicism. An all knowing/all powerful God and the presence of tears are not mutually exclusive. In the midst of our struggles and through our tears we must see as it says in Hebrews 4:15-16, “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” This is our Savior. This is our God.
However, the tears of Jesus, are more complex than just sentimentality. In verse 33 we see the emotion of Jesus to be described as “deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.” The Greek word behind this phrase is embrimaomai (em-brē-mä'-o-mī). It means to snort with anger, to groan with indignation. Yes, his heart grieved for some, but he was also displeased with others.
My guess is that many of us have experienced this at funerals in the past. Our hearts break for those who have lost a loved one, but as we sit and listen during the funeral to the mishandling of the Word of God and the false hopes being given by false teachers and the blasphemies that uttered by so called Pastor's or Priest, we groan with indignation and weep for those we love.
The Call of Christ
It is at this point that Jesus takes command of the circumstances. This was the moment that we have been waiting for. In verse 39 we see Jesus command them to take away the stone. Martha tries to stop him because of the odor.
Lets stop and think about this for just a second. Jesus is about to do something extraordinary in the life of Martha, something that her heart desperately aches for, and she tries to derail the whole thing over something as trivial as a smell.
I would like to think that Martha is the only one whose faith is so easily derailed, but unfortunately we are all guilty of being Marthas, ignoring the command of God because it would be awkward. The words to Martha, are words for us, ““Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” And the rolling away of the stone would be a display of her faith. The rolling away of the stone was to be the evidence of her faith.
After they removed the stone, Jesus prays. Why? Verse 42, “but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” Jesus wanted to make it clear that what he was about to do was in the name of the God. This event would be one of thousands of signs that Jesus is not just a man, but he is the Son of Man.
And with that Jesus called “Lazarus, come out.” And Lazarus, who had been dead four days, who had already begun the natural process of returning to the dust, heard the call of Christ and obeyed.
As I was studying, I ran across an interesting question. If Jesus would not have said the name Lazarus,how many other dead people would been raised that day? Obviously this question is silly, but it does emphasize a point. Jesus commanded, and a dead man obeyed. No one has this type of authority except God. The call of Christ was and is the call of God.
And let us not forget that this event was not done in isolation. It was done in front of dozens, hundreds, perhaps thousands of people who were coming out of Jerusalem to mourn with tragic and unforeseen death of of young Lazarus. So often, the wise of this world clammier for evidence, but rarely will those “scientific” agnostics ever look at the historical Jesus.
Very few, if any legitimate historian denies that Jesus of Nazareth was a real man. The historical proof is just too overwhelming, and the Gospels that testify about Jesus were written during the life of those who walked with Christ. John who penned this story was standing in the sea of faces as he watched these events unfold. The bottom line is that Jesus raised a dead man four days after his death. No one on the planet, other than Jesus, has every done such a thing. And it just so happens this man also claims to be God and pathway to eternal life.
Now what is important in understanding the depth of what is going on is this moment is two fold. There is both a physical truth and a spiritual truth behind this event. If you recall, the previous chapter, John 10, is all about Jesus being the Good Shepherd and His sheep hearing his voice and following him. It is no accident that the Apostle John, after unpacking the truth in John 10, gives us a miracle that supports Jesus' claim. If you recall John laid out the same thing in John 8 and John 9. In John 8 Jesus claimed to be the light of the world, and then in John 9 Jesus gave the blind beggar the light of his eyes, his sight.
So let us begin by look at the spiritual truth of Lazarus' resurrection. Prior to believing in Jesus Christ, we are all spiritually identical to Lazarus. We are dead. Ephesians 2:1 says, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins.” Colossians 2:13 says the same, “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh.” Jesus spoke of this reality also in Luke 9:60 when he said, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead.” And also when he called the Pharisees, white washed tombs in Matthew 23:27. We also saw it last chapter in John 10:10 when Jesus says “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Without Christ, no life. Dead.
Because of the fall, because of sin, because of our sin, we are spiritually dead when it comes to God. Sure some people may look religious, or do “good” things, but until we have an encounter with Jesus Christ, our heart does not beat for the Lord. As it says in Ezekiel 36:26 our heart is stone.
And the only way for us to pass from spiritual death to spiritual life is the effectual and loving call of Jesus Christ. The picture of Lazarus' resurrection is a picture of your spiritual resurrection. At an appointed time of God, we have an encounter with Jesus whereby Christ commands, “Phil, come forth.” And upon hearing the call of my Shepherd, I walk out of the spiritual tomb of my life and stand before my Lord, alive for the first time. I do not invite Jesus into my heart, Jesus calls me out of darkness and into his marvelous light.
And in the moment of my new life in Christ, who gets the credit? Did Lazarus have anything to do with his resurrection? No. Neither do I. Christ gets the credit for calling me unto him. Jesus has already said this himself in John 5:21, “For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.”
And this is what happens every time when the Gospel is preached and people believe. The loving call of Christ is commanding them to come forth. To live.
Now, as I said, there is also a physical reality to the resurrection of Lazarus. For this, let us turn to 1 Thessalonians 4:13, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord,d that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
They key phrase for our purpose today is found in verse 16, “And the dead in Christ will rise first.” Those who are in Christ will experience a physical resurrection just like Lazarus'. Why? Because Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Because Jesus lived a perfect life, died on the cross, and conquered sin and death, our resurrection is as good as finished. We are merely just waiting for the trumpet to sound. The words of 1 Thessalonians 4 are identical to the words of Jesus to Martha. The resurrection of Lazarus was a sneak peak into the resurrection of the elect on the last day. If you are loved by Jesus, as Lazarus was loved by Jesus, then this is your future reality. And we at Cornerstone to commanded to encourage one another with these words. When a Christian dies, we do not grieve as others do who have no hope. If we do, I wander if Christ upon watching us groans with indignation. No, if our loved one is in Christ, then there is no sting in death. For to be absent from the Body is to be with the Lord, and the day will come when their bodies will be reunited with their souls and they will stand before Christ ...FOREVER!
Christ the Resurrection
Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on September 11, 2016
Open your Bibles to John 11:17-37. Today we find ourselves in the midst of the story regarding the resurrection of Lazarus; a very familiar story to some of you, but not to all, which is a good reminder to us all. We are a collection of new, middle and old believers. We are One Body with a variety of people. In this room sits people who have heard a sermon on John 11 a dozen times, and also in this room are those who have never heard a sermon on John 11. My daughter, Alexandra being one. At ten years of age, this will be her first time hearing John 11 preached. Yes, we have read it at home, but she has never heard is exposited proclamation. It is my job to preach Alexandra, Bruce, Jes, Lori, James, Cade, Marc, Kim, and so on and so forth.
With that in mind, let us begin today by reviewing what we talked about last week, for some of you in this room were not able to join us last week and missed out. Last week, we saw in in verse 5, that because of Jesus’s love for Martha, Mary, and Lazarus (and I would add the disciples in their due to verse 15) he delayed in responding to their cry for help.
As we discussed, this is a strange way to love someone, to lengthen their pain, but that is what the text tells us. So the question becomes, how is allowing them to remain in their pain, an act of love? The answer is found in verse 4, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” The reason that Lazarus became sick was no accident. The reason he died was no accident. It had a purpose to it. What was that purpose, to display or show or manifest the Glory of God in the person of Jesus Christ.
How is seeing the Glory of God in Christ love? Because when you love someone you give them something that is good, something that is valuable, something beneficial, and there is nothing in all the universe that is better, more valuable, or more beneficial than seeing and treasuring the Glory of God. The greatest glory produces the greatest joy. And this is true even in the midst of sorrow.
That truth is the greatest truth you will ever hear. That the greatest gift that you could ever be given is the display of the Glory of God. It is in seeing and savoring the Glory of God found in Jesus Christ that everything good flows. So with that foundation, let us continue on by reading the next section.
John 11:17-37 – “Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, 19and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. 21Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world. 28When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35Jesus wept. 36So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”
The Stench of Death
To begin, I want to draw your attention to verse 17, “Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days.” What is the significance of four days? The primary significance is to prove that Lazarus was really dead. Prior to these events, Jesus had already raised two people from the dead: the son of the Widow of Nain found in Luke 7:11-17 and the second was Jairus’ daughter found in Luke 8:52-56. Both of these resurrections were done relatively soon after their deaths. People could have potentially argued that they weren’t really dead, but that they were just close to death. However, after four days that argument could no longer be made.
In addition, the Jewish belief or custom was that the Spirit of a person after death hovered over a body for three days, but on the fourth day the Spirit left for good. Obviously that is not true, it is a Jewish myth, but the fourth day would remove the argument that the Spirit of Lazarus decided to return.
Over those four days things started to happen to the body of Lazarus. In fact, if you look down to verse 39 you can see a hint of this when Jesus commands them to role the stone away. Martha says ”Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” What is she talking about? She is talking about what happens to all living things that die, they start to break down.
Genesis 3:19, “for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” And how this this occur? It has to do with blood. Leviticus 17:11 says, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood.” And you can really understand that passage just by understanding what happens at the first moment of death.
At the moment the heart stops beating, blood stops flowing. When blood stops flowing, cells stop getting oxygen. Because of this lack of oxygen the cells start to break down. Along with this the body temperature starts to drop due to lack of blood flow and rigor mortis sets in. Because the cells begin to breakdown, bacteria that lives in your body starts to take over. It is no longer kept at bay, and begins to destroy the tissues of the body. It is the break down of these tissues that causes gases to be released, methane, hydrogen sulphide and ammonia. Hence why Martha said, “Lord by this time there will be an odor.”
And this is everyone's destiny, death, to return to the dust. Hebrews 9:27, “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,” You and I have an appointment with death. Someday my heart and your heart, and everyone's heart will some day stop beating, and slowly our body's will return to the dust.
Why do we have this appointment with death? Because of sin. Romans 5:12, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” I am a sinner, you are a sinner, and Lazarus was a sinner. And as it says in Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death.” This earth is full of graves. Why? Because we are all sinners.
And by four days, everyone would know and agree that Lazarus was dead, there would be no doubt in anyone's mind. The stage to display the glory of God was set.
The next thing I want you to see is not only was the stage set, but the audience was set as well. Verse 18, “Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, 19and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother.” It was customary at the time that funerals would last up to seven days. During that time people would come and mourn with those who were left behind.
In this context it says that may of the Jews had come. It is implied that the Jews were from Jerusalem due to the close proximity. It is also believed that Martha, Mary and Lazarus must have been well known due to many Jews coming out of the big city to come to the funeral.
How many? We are not sure. But the word is the same word that was used in John 5:3 to describe the multitude of invalids that surrounded the pool of Bethesda. And again in John 6:2 when a great multitude was fed by Jesus with five loaves and two fish. This multitude in John 6 was said to be 5,000 men, therefore with women and children it would have been around 15,000., perhaps.
Now, was their this many Jews at the funeral of Lazarus, we don't know. But make no mistake that there were many. Who knows, perhaps the Apostle Paul made an appearance. This was going to be a big event. In fact, this miracle of Jesus was the last major public miracle performed by Jesus before his death. The resurrection of Lazarus happened about one week before the Christ was crucified. Because of the publicity and the power, some commentators like to say that this was the resurrection hat lead to the crucifixion. For the Jewish leaders, believed Jesus was getting way too powerful.
This may be why Martha, upon hearing that Jesus had finally come, came out to meet him. She knew, as well as the disciples, that the funeral of Lazarus was going to be point of tension between the Jews of Jerusalem and Jesus.
I Am the Resurrection
And now, let us turn our attention to the conversation between Martha and Jesus, for this conversation plays a vital role in how Jesus loved her. Verse 21, “Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Remember, what Jesus said in verse 4, the reason for the sickness and the temporary death of Lazarus was for the glory of God in Christ. If Larazus would have been healed and not died, this conversation between Jesus and Martha never would have happened. But because Lazarus died, and only because Lazarus died does Martha run to Jesus and speak of his death. His death provided the context to a conversation that Jesus wanted to have Martha. And this is not just true for the death of Lazarus, it is true for many of us. It is the trial and the tribulation that force us to run to Christ for comfort.
So what does Jesus say to her? “Your brother will rise again.” In this short sentence we get a sense of the authority of Jesus when he spoke. He has total command over every moment. He knows how everything is going to play out. He does not have to calculate any variables, he merely declares the future.
For Martha, this short statement, draws her in deeper to where Jesus wants to take her. And what does she say, ““I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Where does that comment come from? It comes from her Pharisaical teaching.
Their were two main groups within the Jewish ranks, the Sadducees and the Pharisees. The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection, the Pharisees did believe in the resurrection. And if I were to guess, the resurrection of the last day had been uttered dozens of times to her at the funeral. “He will rise again at the resurrection.” “He will rise again at the resurrection.” “He will rise again at the resurrection.”
If I were to guess, many of the Jews that came from Jerusalem would have come from the Pharisaical branch of the Jewish tree. And most likely they were attempting to comfort her with an event. Perhaps they were using verse like Isaiah 26:19, “Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead.” This was a future event that Martha was looking forward to. It was a future event that she had placed her hope in. However, she was missing something fundamentally important, and Jesus was going to correct her.
Verse 25, “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” What Martha was not seeing was who was going to supply the power of the resurrection. Who was the catalyst of the resurrection? The answer to that question is Jesus. He is the resurrection.
Her hope should not be in an event. Her hope must be in a person, the person of Jesus Christ. Her focus in this time of pain and despair should be on Jesus, not a moment in time. Her vision is misplaced. This is why so many of us say, it is not about a religion, it is about a relationship. Your religious beliefs will not save you, your relationship with Christ saves you. Jesus with this declaration makes it personal. Once again he makes it all about himself.
And notice how Jesus declares it, “I am the resurrection and the life.” By now we should be very familiar with this form of statement, “I am.” So far we have seen him say, “I am the bread and the life,” “I am the light of the World,” “I am the door of the sheep,” “I am the Good Shepherd,” and now “I am the resurrection and the life.”
So what does Jesus meany by declaring that he IS the resurrection? Perhaps the best way to understand it is to think about Noah's ark. During the flood, who lived? Those inside the ark. Who died? Those outside the ark. The ones who lived, only lived because the Ark floated. They were not given some special powers to swim for 150 days. They had to abide in the ark.
It is the same with Christ. Those who will be resurrected to eternal life do not live because God gives them special powers to live. It is because those who are resurrected to eternal life are found in Christ. Christ is the one who carries us through the waters of death and to the eternal shores of God. If we are not in Him, we will die in our sins.
When Christ died, he died for sinners. When Christ arose, he arose for sinners. His resurrection is our resurrection. The tomb of Jesus is empty, and so will ours be. This is where our comfort comes, not in some event, and not in some place, and not in some religion. Our hope is in the power of Christ to overcome sin and overcome death and defeat Satan and his accusations and be victorious over this fallen world.
Do you believe?
And the question that I have for you is the same question Jesus had for Martha? Do you believe this? Do you believe that Jesus is the resurrection? Do you believe that he is able to pay for all your sins? Do you believe his blood is sufficient to pay for your sins? Do you believe that it is only in Christ, the Son of God, that can defeat your greatest enemy...death. No one and no thing in this universe has power over death, except Jesus. This is why he is the only way. As John said in John 1:4, “in him was life.” If you do not believe in Christ as the resurrection and the life, then you will die in your sins, you will be judged for your sins, and then you will pay for your sins in Hell.
Faith in Christ, is like the door into the ark. If you believe, then welcome aboard. Yes, rain will come, but you will not die, you will live. Christ has born the wrath of God's anger in your place. He has already paid for everyone one of your sins on the cross, and died in your place. He has overcome sin and death, and because he is resurrected, if you believe, so have you been.
Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on September 4, 2016
Open your Bibles to John 11:1-16. As all of you can tell, I am not Adam Mostert. Adam was to be filling in for me this morning, but God had other plans. Adam and his wife Abi welcomed into the world a new baby boy yesterday morning. His name is Josiah Harold Mostert and he weighed 7lbs 8 oz and was 20.5 inches long. And as far as I know mom and baby are doing well, but obviously we should keep them in our prayers.
Last night as I was putting together the sermon for this morning, I as on Adam's facebook page and Adam wrote these words, “we are so amazed how God has providentially orchestrated everything.” I also believe this, and this includes me cutting my vacation short so that I could preach today's message. I do not believe in chance or chaos, I believe in providence, and for some reason God desired us to be here today, despite our greatest efforts, and for that I find comfort and peace. Interestingly enough, my wife predicted it a week ago.
Having said that, I may never know why, there may be thousands of reasons, but that is not important. What is important is to trust God and allow him to work according to his will, not mine. I do have to admit, however, that I was a little disappointed that I was not going to be able to preach on John 11:1-16, it is a great text. I wish I would have had more time to put it together, but God willing He will use the ashes of my sermon and make something beautiful with them.
John 11:1-16 - “Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. 3So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” 5Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. 7Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” 9Jesus 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. 10But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” 12The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. 14Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, 15and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
Sovereign Over Death
To begin, let us get our bearings by setting the stage, for it will help illumine some of the dialogue that we just read. If you recall, at the end of John 10 Jesus was in a significant confrontation with the Jews in Jerusalem during the Feast of the Dedication. The Jews had surrounded him outside the Temple in a place named the colonnade of Solomon and they posed a question hoping to trap him so that they could stone him. Jesus, in true form, did not hesitate to engage with them and proclaimed once again his divinity and equality with God. This of course was the trap the Jews hoped he would step into and the picked up stones to kill him in the midst of the crowd. Jesus, however, made quick work of them by quoting an obscure passage from Psalm 82:6 about being god's which tripped them up enough that the justification that they thought they had quickly slipped through their fingers. So they best they thought they could do was to now arrest him. But we read in John 10:39, “but he escaped from their hands.”
After this escape, Jesus left Jerusalem and went to a place across the Jordan. This was a place that John the Baptist had spent a lot of time preparing people for the coming of the Messiah, and the result of Jesus' presence was not stoning, but believing. Jesus and his disciples were having success in their ministry away from Jerusalem.
In the midst of this success, a messenger from a Mary and a Martha arrived with some troubling news. The message was simply, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” This person we are told in verse 1 is Lazarus. Not much is known about him except that he is brother of Mary and Martha and that he lives in a town named Bethany.
Bethany's location was a problem of sorts. Why? Because it was located near to Jerusalem. We see this in verse 18, “Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Marcy to console them concerning their brother.” This was the place that Jesus and his disciples just escaped from, and they were now being asked to return.
When Jesus first heard this message, he did not react to it. He states, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” This message was not news to Jesus, he knew exactly what was going on. God was not an accident. It did not catch God off guard. This event in the life of Lazarus was ordained. He did not get sick by chance, he was sick for a reason. And the reason was for “the Glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Does this sound familiar? It sounds a lot like what we read about in John 9 with the blind beggar. If you recall, the disciples asked Jesus why the beggar was blind, was it because of sin? Jesus answered them in John 9:3, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” The blindness of the beggar had a purpose, to manifest the glory of God and Lazarus's sickness and death had a purpose, to manifest the glory of God. I can't tell you how important this truth is for your life. The world wants to tell you that everything is random. The truth is that nothing is random. God is all knowing, all powerful, all present. In whatever situation you find yourself in, not matter how dire it may seem, God is in the midst of it doing something, and that something is for His glory. He is sovereign over all moments, not just some.
Just to reinforce this more from out text, look at verse 7, Jesus says to his disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” This statement by Jesus was not one that the disciples necessarily loved to hear for the reasons I mentioned earlier. Returning to Jerusalem meant stoning, not just for Jesus, but also for them. Because of this fear of returning to Jerusalem, they try to talk him out of it. Verse 8, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeing to stone you , and are you going there again?”
Think about how sinful that question is. It is full of doubt and pride. The disciples are effectively making themselves lord over Jesus. Questioning his wisdom, doubting his plan, resisting his will. Not to mention, they are putting their comfort before the comfort of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. They do this despite all of the teaching and all of the miracles and all of the escapes by Jesus, their faith is as small as a mustard seed. Meaning that it is extremely small.
Jesus' response to their lack of faith is interesting. Verse 9, “Jesus answered, 'Are there not twelve hours in a 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, be stumbles, because the light is not in him.” What does Jesus mean by this? What he means is simple. Jesus is comparing his work on earth to day time. His death, night, will not come one minute sooner than it is assigned. The day ends when the day ends. It cannot be changed. Likewise the work of Jesus is the work of Jesus. It cannot be changed. As we have stated before, Jesus was working on a providential clock. His death would come at the fullness of time. Jesus was immortal until the fullness of time as come.
This truth is not only true for him, but it is true for everyone. It was true for Lazarus. This illness would kill him for four days, but it would not end in death. Why? It was not when God had ordained he would die. And the disciples must understand this sovereign truth. They are also immortal until all their work is done. Just as Jesus said in Matthew 10:29, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?i And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Jesus loves Lazarus. Jesus loves the disciples. They are valuable to him. They will not fall by chance. They will die when God determines.
We can actually see this at the end of the book of John, chapter 21:18 when Jesus is speaking with Peter. Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19(This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.)” Peter will die when Peter is destined to die, and his death is not without a purpose. It is for the glory of God.
Death is not outside of God's control, praise God. He is in the midst of everyone's death. Psalm 31:14, “But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” 15My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! “ Psalm 139:16, “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Job 14:5, “Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass.” You and I will die when God appointed you to die, not a moment sooner nor a moment later. And if you are in Christ, you should not fear it, for to live is Christ and to die is gain. To die is merely to step into a fullness of joy. And knowing this truth, walking in this light, gives you the ability to serve the Lord without hesitation.
And we see a glimpse of this from an unexpected source, Thomas. Verse 16, “So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” This should be our battle cry. Let us go with Christ, even unto death, for death no longer has a sting, but is merely a gateway to Paradise.
A Strange Love
Now I want to draw your attention to verse 5, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.” What is the key word in those two versus? It is the word “so.” That word should be in all of your Bibles, unless you are using a NLT (New Living Translation) or some other poor translation. If that is you, throw that Bible away and get a Bible with all the words, like the ESV. Because the word so, changes everything.
The reason for this is because the word “so” is the most important word in those two verses, for it connects the actions of Jesus with the reasons of Jesus. It helps us answer the question, why did Jesus delay for two days? It was because he loved Martha and Mary. Verse 5, “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, SO (therefore) when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer.” The love of Christ caused him to not go. The love of Christ caused him to let Martha and Mary and others to languish in their sorrow. The love that Christ had for them was why he let Lazarus die.
What a strange kind of love. Jesus, who has the power to heal. He has done it thousands of times before this, but not now. Why? Because he loves them.
Think about this for a second. When Jesus eventually arrives in Bethany, Lazarus has been dead for four days. What do you think those four days were like for Martha and Mary? Happy? Easy? No, they were gut wrenching. Agonizing. Sorrowful. Tear filled. This was their brother, most likely the closest person in their life. Someone that they loved dearly. Now he was dead, probably at the age of 30. These were most likely the four worst days in Mary and Martha's life. Perhaps you have felt such deep pain. The passing of a loved one is a deep, deep pain. Psalm 6:6 says, “I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. 7My eye wastes away because of grief;” My guess is that this would describe the nights of Martha and Mary. And why? Because Jesus loved them.
How is the death of Lazarus a vessel in which to love them? First, lets think about love. What does it mean to love someone? To love someone means that you want for them the best of all things. And you want these best things to produce in them happiness, or joy. The act of loving someone is to do something in their life that produces in them happiness.
How is the death of Lazarus going to produce in them the best of all things? How will it produce joy? The answer is found in verse 4, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
The death of Lazarus was an instrument to display the Glory of God in the person of Jesus Christ, and this glory was to be beheld by Martha and Mary. They were to look upon the glory of God in the life of Christ and marvel. They were to stand in awe of Christ and believe in him. They were to bask in his brilliance. To soak in his power over death.
What they needed more than their comfort, what they needed more than their brother, what they needed more than a bed without tears, was to behold Christ as the radiance of God's glory. This is the greatest gift they could ever receive. This would be the source of their joy.
The Greatest Act of Love is to Give the Glory of God
And why is this? Why is beholding the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ the best thing for us? Why does it produce in us joy? Because there is nothing in the Universe of greater value then the revelation of God. God in his beauty is the thing that is the most precious in the Universe. There is not a greater gift to be given than the glory of God. The glory of Lazarus is not greater than the Glory of God. The glory of money is not greater than the glory of God. The glory of sex is not greater than the glory of God. The glory of this world is not greater than the glory of God. The highest end is the glory of God. Paul speaks of this in Ephesians 2:7 as the “immeasurable riches of his grace.”
God is infinitely and eternally great, everything pales in comparison to the glory of God. Paul understood this reality well. He says in Philippians 3:8, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” Paul's eyes had been open to the Glory of God, and nothing compared. Everything was garbage compared to the limitless riches of God's glory.
And this is exactly how Jesus explained the Kingdom of Heaven. Matthew 13:44, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” Once you behold the treasure of the Glory of God, it is easy to let go of this world. Why? Because everything else is infinitely less.
And this is what Jesus desired to give to Martha, Mary, Lazarus, and the Disciples. To behold his glory. This is why he stayed for two days. He loved them and wanted to give them something better than life. God was in the midst of this pain. He was using it to reveal to them his power.
And now, we as Christians should think along the same lines. The pain we feel is not without purpose. God is in it. He desires to show us who he is through our weakness. For it is in this weakness that God's strength is perfected, or completely, or revealed.
Likewise, we, like Christ are called to love. In fact, we are told that the world will know we are Christians by our love. The question is, how are we to love our spouse, our children, our neighbors, our co-workers, strangers that we meet? What can we give them that they need more than anything? What can we give them that will produce happiness or joy in their life? The answer is the same as we find in verse 4 the glory of God as displayed through the Son of God.
This is what your spouse needs, to see Jesus as glorious. This is what your children need, to see Jesus as glorious. This is what your co-workers need, to see Jesus as glorious. This is what the world needs, to see Jesus as glorious. If you love your spouse, kids, co-workers, the world give them what they most greatly need, to behold the glory of Christ.
So how are we to do this? Are we to assume that Jesus has to come to our home and raise the dead? No. Do you recall why John wrote the Gospel of John? John 20:31, “but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” The way that you show the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ is through his Word. It is through this Word that the greatest treasure of God's glory is found.
Starting this Wednesday, we have a great opportunity for this. This is a great opportunity to get plugged into a small group study for your kids and for yourself. It is also a great opportunity to invite people to gaze upon Christ by getting into his word.
I am reminded of the two men who were walking on the road to Emmaus when Jesus appeared to them after his resurrection And “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” Later on that night this is what they said about that experience, Luke 24:32, “They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”
This is what it is like to have the eyes of your hear open to see the glory of God. Our hearts burn within us as we gaze upon the Glory of God shining forth from the Son of God.