Sunday 06 March 2016

Bible Book:

John 11:17-44 Sunday 6 March 2016

Psalm: Psalm 30


When John wrote his Gospel, he carefully compiled his materialso that he unfolded the mystery of who Jesus was. He did this bytelling of greater and greater miracles. These miracles are 'signs'pointing to the true nature of Jesus. John tells how Jesus changedwater into wine (John 2:7-11); healed at a distance anofficial's son (John 4:46-54); healed a paralysed man (John5:1-15); fed 5,000 people (John6:1-15); walked on water (John6:16-21); and cured a blind man (John9:1-34). In each case, he told what effect this had on thefaith of those who witnessed these things. He tells us at the endof the Gospel - before his appendix - that he has written thesewords so that we might believe in Jesus too (John20:30-31).

In today's passage we read about the ultimate sign of Jesus'power. In the seventh and therefore most perfect sign presented byJohn, Jesus raises a man from the dead. His friend Lazarus has beendead for four days (verse 17). Yet Martha believes that even nowJesus can ask God to put things right (verse 22). However, herfaith is simply based on Jewish teaching: she believes in thegeneral resurrection of the dead at the end of time. But what goodis that now?

It is then that Jesus reveals himself to be the resurrection andthe life. Martha expresses her faith in him even before the miraclehas taken place (verse 27). He is not just her friend - he is alsothe Messiah expected by the Jews. They too express great faith inJesus, and wonder why he is not performing a miracle (verse 37).There is no specific prayer in which Jesus asks his Father to raiseLazarus, because his will and the will of his Father are one.

Lazarus was, in one sense, temporarily healed. He had to gothrough death once more - perhaps years later. Yet the way thatJohn points to Jesus as the resurrection and the life indicatesthat those of faith do indeed avoid the consequences of death.Death cannot bind them (verse 44). And if John were here today, hewould ask us "What do you make of that, then?"

To Ponder

  • Martha did not immediately listen to what Jesus was sayingbecause she knew the Jewish teaching about the resurrection of thedead. When you have suddenly realised that you could think aboutthings in a new or different way?
  • It's one thing to go to a healing service at church. But howwould you feel if you heard that someone had been raised from thedead? Are there some miracles that you wouldn't expect to seetoday? Which ones?
  • Given that he had the power to raise Lazarus from the dead, whydo you think Jesus wept?

Previous Page Saturday 19 March 2016
Next Page Monday 07 March 2016