Raising Lazarus – John 11

When Jesus received word that Lazarus is ill, he obviously knew that he was going to die. So some Bible versions are confusing in verse 4. The New American Standard has the best translation – “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” Verse 6 may mean that Jesus wanted to give the sisters time to mourn after the death of their brother before He arrived to raise him – all the more effective when the Lord’s power over death is demonstrated. Verses
9-10 are difficult to understand. The most likely meaning is that since He is the light of the world, those who seek to kill Him will not be able to do so until his “day” – His time among them – is over. His disciples do not understand in verse 11 when He says “Lazarus has fallen asleep,” so He tells them plainly in verse 14 that he has died, and that He is glad for their sakes, so
that they will believe. Their witness of Him raising Lazarus will be a powerful memory for them.

After He raised Lazarus, the Jews that did not want to believe that He was the Christ went to the Pharisees to tell them what had happened. Their concern about people believing in Jesus as the Messiah was based on the same misguided expectation that the coming of the Messiah would mean he would be a powerful political and military leader. A Messiah that would lead believers in a revolt against Roman rule would result in the coming of the Romans to crush it and remove the leaders (and thus, the Sanhedrin itself) from any position of power. Caiaphas, the high priest of that time (about 18 – 36 AD), proposed that killing Jesus would be best for them all (verse 50). His prophecy in the following verses was unknowingly very foretelling of His resurrection and its effect on God’s people.

Jesus did not walk freely among the Jews after that (verse 54); and in verse 56, many were wondering if He would come to the Passover feast at all. Of course He would – He always followed God’s commandments.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

John 11, John 12, John 13, John 14, John 15

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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

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All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

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To Paradise – Luke 23

One traditional site of Golgotha is this hill with hollow eye sockets to look like the place of the skull. Another traditional site is in present-day Jerusalem, which in Jesus' time was just outside the wall. It is called the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

One traditional site of Golgotha is this hill with hollow eye sockets to look like the place of the skull. Another traditional site is in present-day Jerusalem, which in Jesus’ time was just outside the wall. It is called the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

As Jesus was taken away to be crucified, there were two criminals taken with him to be put to death. This fulfilled Isaiah 53:12, which said he would be numbered with transgressors. Luke says that they came to a place known as the skull. It is also known as Golgatha which comes from an Aramaic word for skull. There, they crucified Him and the criminals with one on each side of Him. Jesus said “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

The soldiers cast lots and divided his garments among them, which fulfilled what was written in Psalm 22:18.  People watched and the rulers scoffed at Him, saying  “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” The soldiers also mocked, offering Him sour wine to drink.

North door of iconostasis. Icon of Paradise: A...

North door of iconostasis. Icon of Paradise: Abraham’s Bosom with the Good Thief entering to the left (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One prisoner began to mock as well, but the other rebuked him and asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom. Jesus told him that this day he would be with Him in paradise (verse 43). Jesus, as we saw in other passages, did have the authority to forgive sins, and He exercised it there. So what did Jesus mean by that? Since His body was to be in the tomb for three days, after which He would arise from the dead, how could He be with this criminal in Paradise that day? And just what is this Paradise?

This is a point that many of us have spent some time reflecting upon, as much confusion is caused surrounding this topic. Does the soul merely sleep after the body dies until resurrection day? Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:13: “…we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve…” Or was that merely a statement that they are not really dead? When Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead (Luke 8:54-55), he had told those present that she was merely sleeping.

The birth of Benjamin was a time of joy and sorrow--joy that a new son, held by the midwife, was born; mourning for Rachel who died in childbirth (Genesis 35:16-20).

The birth of Benjamin was a time of joy and sorrow–joy that a new son, held by the midwife, was born; mourning for Rachel who died in childbirth (Genesis 35:16-20).

The scripture also says that on the occasion of that girl’s resurrection, her spirit returned. We have other scripture where people are dying, saying their souls departed (such as Jacob’s wife Rachel in Genesis 35:18). There is, of course, much we do not yet know, but we can surmise from all of this that there is a place indeed called Paradise that our souls do go to when we die. Paul also spoke of it in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4.

The parable Jesus told in Luke 16:22-26 about the poor man, Lazarus, who died and was at Abraham’s bosom may be allegorical, but it certainly contains some truths about death and what happens to the soul thereafter. Jesus told parables to instruct. This writer does not believe that He would have done so with misleading or even incorrect facts in those parables. The rich man of that parable was consciously aware of what was going on in the place where his soul went. And he saw Lazarus in his place also alert to his surroundings. I believe that at the very least, this depiction of their states must be a fair representation of the status of the soul upon death of the body.

It appears then, that the Christian can take comfort in knowing that faithful loved ones who have gone on before are not just unconscious souls waiting for judgment day. Like Lazarus in Luke 16:25, they are being comforted there. And because of Jesus’ victory over death, we will be raised in a new spiritual body one day.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

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John 11 – Jesus Raises Lazarus

When Jesus receives word that Lazarus is ill, he obviously knows that he is going to die.  So some Bible versions are confusing in verse 4.  The New American Standard has the best translation – “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”  Verse 6 may mean that Jesus wanted to give the sisters time to mourn after the death of their brother before He arrived to raise him – all the more effective when the Lord’s power over death is demonstrated.  Verses 9-10 are difficult to understand.  The most likely meaning is that since He is the light of the world, those who seek to kill Him will not be able to do so until his “day” – His time among them – is over.  His disciples do not understand in verse 11 when He says “Lazarus has fallen asleep,” so He tells them plainly in verse 14 that he has died, and that He is glad for their sakes, so that they will believe. Their witness of Him raising Lazarus will be a powerful memory for them.

The site that is almost certainly Bethany of John 11 – about two miles east of Jerusalem, on the east slope of the Mount of Olives. Jesus often visited his friends, Mary, Martha and Lazarus here. Jesus raised Lazarus after four days, one of the greatest of his miracles. The modern village, called Azariyeh, el-Azariyeh, Lazariyeh, or el-Lazariyeh to honor Lazarus, has about 1,000 people and is near the ancient village. The tower of the New Church of St. Lazarus rises next to the ruins of Christian churches from the Crusader period, about 1100-1300 A.D.

After He raised Lazarus, the Jews that did not want to believe that He was the Christ went to the Pharisees to tell them what had happened.  Their concern about people believing in Jesus as the Messiah was based on the same misguided expectation that the coming of the Messiah would mean he would be a powerful political and military leader.  A Messiah that would lead believers in a revolt against Roman rule would result in the coming of the Romans to crush it and remove the leaders (and thus, the Sanhedrin itself) from any position of power.  Caiaphas, the high priest of that time (about 18 – 36 AD), proposed that killing Jesus would be best for them all (verse 50).  His prophecy in the following verses was unknowingly very foretelling of His resurrection and its effect on God’s people.

Jesus did not walk freely among the Jews after that (verse 54); and in verse 56, many were wondering if He would come to the Passover feast at all.  Of course He would – He always followed God’s commandments.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.