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John 11

Read. Pray

So here is our last chapter in John before John spends basically 2/3s of his gospel in the last week of Jesus’ life. And John seems to really set up Jesus\’ last week with this chapter concluding on the plot to kill Jesus. 

We’re gonna be talking about love, death and glory, and prayer


The village of Bethany is only 2 miles from Jerusalem, where Lazarus is. 


I’m not sure why exactly John here chooses to skip ahead and tell us a snapshot of John 12. But he does and we’ll cover that more next week. 


I find 2 things interesting here: 

1) They sent for Him/the sisters didn’t go to Him. 

2) They didn’t plainly ask of Him their request to heal their brother. 

Now I have no doubt that the sisters wanted to be with their brother to comfort him but our time with the Lord is always our best spent time. Within our reach there is a God who knows us, loves us, and, as we’ll see here in a few verses; treasures us. Let us not make the same mistake the sisters made; let us be quick to prayer and bold in our requests to Him. 

Do y’all find it hard to pray? 

Do you enjoy prayer? 

How are we to pray? 

Spurgeon, “Prayer is a never-failing resort; it is sure to be a blessing with it. Even apart from the answer to our supplication, the exercise of Prayer is healthy to the person engaged in it.” 


Notice the Lord’ response to the sister’s, indirect/roundabout, request. 

The illness isn’t even about Lazarus but about God. 

here, I think we see the true end/purpose to prayer/to making requests to God. 

Prayer is not so that we would be happy and satisfied but that God is glorified. 

Prayer is not about God serving you but the radical mindset of you serving God. 

Is that the mindset of prayer y’all have? It\’s not allowed, rarely even the one I have. The Lord seems to condemn that mindset here. 

What do y’all pray for when you do?

The end of prayer is to honor God. 

How is God honored in Prayer? God has blessed the ends, that is the salvation of souls, but also the means that is preaching the word and prayer. God is honored in prayer by being God! God to us, God in our lives, in our schools, homes, church and more. We do more work, more for the kingdom in prayer than in preaching. Make prayer sweet to our souls oh God! 

So, the purpose of this illness sins the end of Lazarus’ life but because of the glory of God so that the son’s glory may be shown through it. 


Well, that\’s one hell of a way to show love. Jesus loved Mary & Martha so He purposefully stayed put. In short, the Lord seems to have allowed Lazarus\’ dead to happen when He could have stopped it. 


How do we respond when God says no to a request? 

“Oh God, why have you forsaken me!” It may seem that way but the text says this is simply not so. In love, the Lord said “no”. 

Idk why we go through all the things we do. But at some level, the answer for suffering is “God’s love”. “well that\’s not much of an answer” yes it is. The Lord\’s love is the best answer. what are the alternatives? Nihilism? 

We don\’t understand the complete “why” to God’s ’No” but we know that the “no” is said in love and that good enough for me. Maybe it ain\’t for Y\’all. In which case, keep praying until it is good enough for you. 

Because He showed His love to them, and us, by denying their request for healing. 

Because love is doing what\’s best for the other person. So it was better for them to have their brother die and see Jesus\’ glory shown to them than for L to be healed. 

The most loving thing we can do for others is to show them God’s glory.


meaning what?

12 hrs of sunlight to work in farming culture. Jesus is saying that He still has work to do. The day isn\’t finished. Night/His death haste come. Thus, by this statement, we know that Lazarus is apart of Jesus\’ work.  IE Jesus is saying, \”The time appointed to me by God for working is not yet elapsed; as long as it lasts, no one can do anything to me; but when it shall have come to an end, I shall fall into the hands of my enemies, like him who walks in the night, and who stumbles, because he is without light.\” By saying this, Jesus sets aside the anxiety of His disciples by directing their attention to the fact that, His time is not yet expired, He is safe from danger, and by reminding them (John 11:10) that He must make use of the time given to Him before it comes to an end. 


Typical disciple behavior: Hearing but not listening/understanding. 

v. 15

“for your sake” the raising of Lazarus is a foreshadow of the raising of Jesus. So if the disciple sees L being raised then they’ll believe Jesus when He says that He must be lifted up and go to the father. Moreover, Jesus is glad because he rejoices in us and our belief in Him/our true life in Him more than just our heart beating. 


It seems based on this verse, the disciples weren’t cowards, per sa, they just didn’t see what was to come. That is, they still thought of Jesus as their “warrior messiah”. They expected to be made generals for Jesus in His coming war; not citizens of heaven or sons of God the father. 


v. 19

a brief note on consoling: What do you say when consoling someone? nothing. mourn with those who mourn. say nothing. just be there for them.

v. 20 given 11:32 why did Mary not go see Jesus upon His arrive in Bethany? 

It would seem she was angry at God/Jesus for not saving Lazarus life. So often we get hung up on “what could’ve been” or the classic “why does God do XYZ and not 123” 

Be very careful in that thinking when in suffering. Often when one asks the question of “why does God do ___?” they are not asking genuinely but selfishly but they believe their way was/is better than God’s and therefore they are idolators.


Notice the difference in Martha and Mary’s reaction to Jesus\’ arrival to them (11:32).

Do y’all think Martha here, in 11:21-22, is a confession or an accusation? 

Confession is clearly given 11:22. She still had trust in Jesus regardless of her deep loss. 

She whats she saying here in 21-22. 

If you are of God, Jesus, then this must also be of God. 

Whats it means that Jesus is the resurrection and the life?

In Jesus, there is power over death. He holds the keys to life and death. He is the power of life itself. 

Tho we die biologically if we are believers in Jesus then we can’t die. Our biological death doesn’t disturb the living personal existence in God. We have the life of Jesus in us; it\’s eternal. Nothing can destroy the life that God gave to us. 

11:27 Lord help us to believe


v. 28 If I had more time maybe I could’ve developed a theology on grief here, but I don’t. But I will say that it seems, the Lord doesn’t let His ppl sorrow for long. For Martha, she rushed to the sweet presence of Jesus. Mary seems to have a need to be called out by the Lord. She was angry with her Lord, not understanding why He let this tragedy come upon her when He could’ve so easily prevented it. God is most gracious to us even when we are not so to Him. 


It would seem that this family was well known/respected in the community; thus the Jews consoling Mary. Friends are good in distress but we must first rush to God in trouble before a friend. A friend may help. But God can help all the more and heal our wounds and troubled hearts. 


Do y’all think that Mary here is confessing or accusing Jesus?

It would seem to be an accusation. As if her faith was shaken perhaps even destroyed at seeing the tragedy of death and seeing the lack of action on her Messiah’s part. Overcome with sorrow she falls at His feet no longer having the strength to stand, endure such a deep wound. 

But the Christ wasn’t stoic in His response to His friend. 

“deeply moved” this is an interesting translation. The greek here suggests something closer to “irate” than deeply moved. Why do y’all think the Jesus, knowing what He was about to do anyhow, was irate/moved?

Here, Jesus is witness to His true enemy Death. Death was here and won overwhelmingly. He loved them more than they could know because of that was hurt all the more than they knew. 


this pain must now end! His glory must now be revealed. “come and see” We are told in the psalms to “come and taste (that is to see/know) that the Lord is good. Here, Christ comes and sees the ugliness/bitterness of death and sin. 


the shortest verse of the bible. But one of the sweetest. As Spurgeon put it, “A savior who did not cry is unworthy to wipe away my tears”. We have a great comfort in a glorious, weeping savior. Burn this verse upon your minds and hearts and take comfort in it. 



Here, we have a perfect description of us. We, dead men in sin were called out of black darkness by the words of Jesus at the appointed time and raised to life by Him. No odor, no sin could keep Him from us. He chose us and He raised us in His great love. And in our raising to the life God is glorified. 


Here is an interesting prayer. Jesus tells them, and us, why all this happened. 


Loud voice doesn’t cover it. Screaming, hardly holding in His rage against sin and the pain it brought any longer. He repeats the pattern of creation when His Father spoken creation into existence. And in much the same way, God spoke and so it was. 

If any verse should break a grammatical rule it is this. All caps and a \”!\”


His life is returned. He has risen. But there\’s a problem: Lazarus is still in bondage, he cannot do, to go/move, to even see His savior. And so the Jesus commands “free Him”. What good it would\’ve been had the Jesus raised Him and not freed Him. But He did and us also! We are free to do to move and see all the good things God has done, is doing and will do for us. 



So what are the Jews concerned about here? 

Not truth but power. Pragmatism not praise of their Savior. They wanted civility, not Christ. 


Jesus didn’t come to make men happy/feel good. He came was uncivil in His proclamation of God and His plan of salvation. Are we likewise?


How are we to then live in light of this text?

Remembering God in suffering. Knowing He suffers with us. 

Uncivility for the gospel.  


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