17 January 2017

BSF 2016-2017: John 11:1-57

In John chapter 11, Jesus demonstrated His love for one family – Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. He knew them intimately. He considered them to be His friends.

Mary and Martha sent a message to Jesus that Lazarus was sick. Jesus responded that this sickness would not end in death. Jesus waited two more days before going to visit the family in Bethany. Jesus waited to show that He operated on God’s timetable.

Jewish tradition said a dead person’s spirit hovered over the body for three days. On the fourth day, the body would begin to decay; the person was certainly dead. By waiting two days, Jesus could bring life into a hopeless situation. All of this would help develop the faith of the people who would witness this miracle.

Just because Jesus delayed His response didn’t mean He stopped loving this family. Sometimes a delay from God is an opportunity for us to grow and develop our faith.

Jesus finally arrived in Bethany. Lazarus had been dead for four days. There were many mourners there.

Martha met Jesus as he arrived. She had a conversation with Him. She said Lazarus would not have died if Jesus had been there. Martha demonstrated her faith by saying that Lazarus will rise on the last day. Jesus told Martha that Lazarus would rise then and now.

Jesus proclaimed Himself the resurrection and the life. He asked Martha if she believed. She professed her belief that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God. Then Martha went to Mary and told her that the teacher was there. Mary quickly ran out. The mourners followed her, thinking she was going to the tomb to mourn Lazarus. Mary brought the mourners to Jesus.

Mary fell as Jesus’ feet. She also said Lazarus would not have died if Jesus had been there. Jesus was deeply grieved. He was angry about what sin and death have done to His people. Jesus asked to be taken to Lazarus’ tomb.

Jesus wept. He was human. He knew what it meant to grieve and to lose a loved one.

Jesus comforted Martha with words of truth. He comforted Mary with sympathy. He comforted the mourners with action (“take me to him”).

When they arrived at the tomb, Jesus instructed the mourners to roll away the stone. Jesus reminded them that He would reveal His glory. They moved the stone. Then Jesus prayed aloud and thanked God. He invited the people into God’s presence.

Jesus commanded Lazarus to come out of the tomb. Lazarus emerged from the tomb. Jesus instructed the people to remove Lazarus’ grave clothes and let him go. Jesus allowed other people to participate in this miracle.

After this miracle, some mourners believed in Jesus. Others told the Pharisees about what happened. The Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.

The Sanhedrin began to plot to kill Jesus. This prevented Jesus from being able to walk around freely. So He withdrew with His disciples. Soon His time of suffering and death would arrive.

Things to Think About
  • Jesus has the power to give life to a physically dead person and to a spiritually dead person.
  • A delayed response from the Lord does not signify abandonment.
  • God operates on His own timetable.
  • What are you waiting for God to do? How is God developing your faith as you wait for Him?
  • Jesus comforts those who mourns.
  • Jesus has power over life and death.
  • What is your response to Jesus’ power?

This Week’s Memory Verse
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26 NIV