Seven Points to Learn from John 11

Fred R. Coulter—March 22, 1986

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In preparing for this I thought this is an awfully long chapter just to tell us about the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Look at the whole chapter and there are 57 verses. I supposed you could have told about the raising of Lazarus from the dead in 8 or 10 verses; it would be very simple to.

We already knew that the Jews were planning to kill Jesus anyway, so why do we have such a long chapter here. In thinking about it, praying about it and trying to dissect it and I came up with these different things that we're going to learn. There's an awful lot for us to learn here:

  • God views things from a different perspective than we do

His timing of things is different than ours. God's view of problems is totally different than the view of problems the way we view them.

  • it's teaching us about belief, true belief—the way Christ wants us to have it—and human reasoning

We will see all the human reasonings, and in some places it gets a little humorous.

  • it is a dramatic setting for staging the crucifixion

as we will see concerning Lazarus, especially when we get into John 12. It had an impact leading up to the crucifixion.

  • it shows that Christ is the Lifegiver, because He raised Lazarus from the dead
  • the disciples' courage

It is an excellent example of the 'great works' that a person is going to do for God. No one is going to do a great work for God! We'll see exactly how God tripped up Thomas and Peter on several occasions when they were going to do 'great things for God.'

The long and short is that if any 'great thing' is going to be done, God is going to do a great thing to us and for us, not because of us.

  • a discussion about 'the last day'

Does that mean the Last Great Day as a Holy Day? What last day is it talking about?

  • as the beginning of the final plot for the Jews to crucify Christ

Now they finally had a 'religious' reason to do it.

Going through the book of John is a little bit laborious, but I think they need that to grow in grace and knowledge. You can't have milk and pabulum all the time. We have to grow in grace and grow in knowledge and really understand God's Word. This is all part of it.

John 11:1: "Now, there was a certain man who was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, which was the town of Mary and her sister Martha. And it was Mary who later anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore, the sisters sent to Him, saying, 'Lord, take notice: the one whom You love is sick'" (vs 1-3). There's a little implication with this: human reasoning!

Let's look at this from a human point of view. If you want someone to do something, you say, 'This is someone you love,' so therefore, you're going to hurry. That's a human way of saying, 'This is the one You love, hurry, Lord!'

The opposite of the human implication is that if you don't love him you wouldn't care. Since you love him, please come. We do this with our kids: if you really appreciated the things you are given, you would take care of your room. Since your room is in a mess you really don't appreciate it. This is the same kind of reasoning here.

Verse 4: "But after hearing this, Jesus said, 'This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.'" Here's Jesus' perspective; completely different.

Verse 5: "Now, Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. But when He heard that he was sick, He deliberately remained in the same place two days" (vs 5-6). He didn't come charging up the hill to save Lazarus.

Verse 7: And after this, He said to the disciples, 'Let us go into Judea again.' The disciples said to Him, 'Master, the Jews were just seeking to stone You, and You are going there again?' Jesus answered, 'Are there not twelve hours in the day?….'" (vs 7-9). He knew that He wasn't going to be killed or anything would happen until the time came. But here, in referring to the 12 hours in a day, He said:

"'…If anyone walks in the day… [in reference to his work] …he does not stumble because he sees the light of the world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles because the Light is not in him'" (vs 9-10). We've gone through quite a bit about:

  • walking in the Light
  • seeking the Light
  • Christ is Light
  • God's Word is Light

Verse 11: "These things He said; and after that He said to them, 'Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep…'" Here's the first lesson: God looks at death entirely differently than we do! He calls it asleep.

Human beings get so frantic. That's how all these hospitals have been able to build up their great bureaucracy and empires. They take advantage of the franticness of people not wanting to die. Of course, Catholics with their fear instilled into the people with the fear of death are just frantic. God does not view it that way. He says:

"'…'Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going so that I may awaken him.' Then His disciples said, 'Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will get well'" (vs 11-12). They knew it was something unto death.

Verse 13: "Now, Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of the rest of sleep. For this reason, Jesus then said to them plainly, 'Lazarus has died'" (vs 13-14).

We have two things we're confronted with here: we don't want to tempt God in doing daredevil things—and it's interesting that it's put that way, dare devil things—so that we fall into Satan's clutches like he told Jesus, 'cast down Yourself down off the pinnacle of the temple and God's angels will carry you up, lest You dash Your foot.'

You don't want to go to that extreme, but on the other hand, you don't want to go to the extreme of just being so fearful of death that you extend life so that life is not life. I've gone in hospitals and there are machines, plugs, pumps, drippers, keeping people alive. They're really not alive and their moaning and groaning just suffering along. When it comes the time for death, and it's really time for death, then don't get all excited and try and extend some sort of artificial life to someone.

There's a time to die! The Bible says there's a time to die! But people are in fear of death. In Heb. 2 is how when Christ came that He might redeem us from the bondage of the fear of death.

Hebrews 2:14: "Therefore, since the children are partakers of flesh and blood, in like manner He also took part in the same, in order that through death He might annul him who has the power of death—that is, the devil." I don't want to get into a theological discussion about Satan going to be destroyed after God is done with him completely? or Is he going to be bound forever? You can read in the Bible both case scenarios. So, I'll tell you what, let's just make sure that we're in the Kingdom of God and then we'll find out. If God destroys Satan—fine, great—let's have it over with.

If God binds him and he's in torment forever and ever that's God's decision. But he is the one who has the power of death, that is the devil! So, when we have been called to salvation, death does not have that power over us forever! That's what Jesus is teaching here with Lazarus. You can die, but don't be upset about it. If you're in Christ, you're only sleeping in Christ. You're going to be raised. Who has the power to do that? God! So, you don't have to be in fear!

Verse 15: "And that He might deliver those who were subject to bondage all through their lives by their fear of death." That's exactly how people, with all 'religions,' fear.

I read the notes of one of the Churches of God where that the minister said, 'If you don't believe in church authority you will not go into the Kingdom of God.' That is fear of death! Is that not a tactic of Satan the devil? Yes, it is! Does the Church of God need to use the tactics of Satan the devil to keep people in the Church? NO! The Church is not based and founded upon the tactics of Satan. It has to be based on:

  • the love of God
  • the love Christ
  • the love of each other
  • God's Spirit

That's what it has to be based upon! If a person really loves God they're not going to go out and commit the unpardonable sin and lose salvation anyway. They need to be warned of what is sin. They need to be warned of what those things are going to be. But to hold them in fear

Then the sermon ended by saying that if you smoke tobacco or wear makeup—even a little bit of it—and take the Passover, you are going to get sick or die. In the light of God's Word that is really ridiculous, but that's what can happen to churches that rely on human authority. You put people in fear!

When I first came to Monterey I had been use to two churches in the Los Angeles area: Torrance and Santa Monica. I had 400 people in one and nearly 400 in the other. I guess I was the first minister that got around to visit everybody. I visited everybody! I made sure that within a two year period that I visited everybody in those two churches.

When I came to Monterey they had 140 in the church. My visiting schedule was quite intense in Los Angeles. So, within a month I visited everybody in the Church in Monterey. I went around and visited them in the second month, and about the fourth month they were wondering what this minister was coming around for. They were fearful of the ministers.

I figured I had better back off here a little bit and not be going around and visiting everyone. Isn't it a shame that you have to have, in the Church of God, that kind of fear:

  • fear of authority
  • fear you're going to lose salvation
  • fear of a minister walking in the door

There were occasions when ministers would walk in the door and they'd 'lay them low.' That's a tactic of Satan the devil who held them, through fear of death, that all their lifetime were subject to bondage. We don't need to have the Church of God in bondage to that kind of thing. God looks at death entirely differently.

1-Thessalonians 4:13—Paul says: "But I do not wish you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, that you be not grieved, even as others, who have no hope."

I never will forget that there was one funeral that I preached. She was a woman who had been in the Church of God almost 50 years. She started out up in Oregon and came down to Southern California. I had the privilege of doing the funeral. That was not a funeral of sadness. Everybody is supposed to be grim and down-faced and I got up there to give the sermon on her death. Everyone was smiling! There was one person that they knew had made it. You knew absolutely for sure that she had made it.

I couldn't deliver a downer. I surely know that I didn't deliver the one on the immortal soul and bang the pulpit and all that sort of thing. We're not to sorrow as those "…who have no hope."

Verse 14: "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in exactly the same way also, those who have fallen asleep in Jesus will God bring with Him." You die in Christ, you have a guarantee.

Verse 15: "For this we say to you by the Word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall in no wise precede those who have fallen asleep, because the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first" (vs 15-16).

That's going to be quite a time! Those people are resurrected, they will have had no consciousness of time. They will be resurrected just like having had a good night's sleep. There's nothing better than going to bed and having a good night's sleep, wake up in the morning and everything is all great, feel good and want to get out and do. That's the way people are going to be at the resurrection. Only they'll wake up to a spirit body.

'Hello, who are you?' I'm the angel that watched over you your whole life long! 'How do you do?' We're taking you up to the Sea of Glass and we're going to meet Christ! Then we're going to see the judgment on Great Babylon. It's going to be quite a spectacular thing when the resurrection occurs and it's going to be eventful.

All those who are dead in Christ shall be raised first, v 17: "Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds for the meeting with the Lord in the air…"

I'm not going to go through the whole thing of the Sea of Glass (Rev. 15), etc. Then we come back to the earth; we all know that.

"…and so shall we always be with the Lord. Therefore, encourage one another with these words" (vs 17-18).

1-Corinthians 15:51—talking about the resurrection. God views it entirely differently: "Behold, I show you a mystery: we shall not all fall asleep, but we shall all be changed, in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (vs 51-52). God looks upon death as sleep.

Regarding Lazarus, John 11, Jesus did this for several reasons. He didn't run over there right away because He didn't love them, because it says that He did love them. He didn't get over there right away because He wanted—believe it or not—Lazarus to die.

Some people might get upset if they hear that, that Christ wanted someone to die. He knew he was going to die. He wanted him to die; there was a reason for it: To show the power of the resurrection and also we will see what some of the people did when Lazarus was resurrected and who they went to tell.

John 11:14: "…Jesus then said to them plainly, 'Lazarus has died. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there… [here's the reason why Jesus wanted him to die]: …in order that you may believe…'" (vs 14-15). If you really believe in Christ and God, it is something that is in your whole being! It's not just believing that He lived or believing that He is the Son of God. It is believing everything that Jesus has said. Believing unto salvation! If you really believe, what did Christ say concerning faith? As a grain of a mustard seed! But He wants us to believe to the very depth of our being; that it's going to be a belief that shall transcend death.

"'…But let us go to him'" (v 15). Think about these factors. This is getting pretty close to the end of the three and a half years of His ministry, about a month before the Passover. Think of all the healings, all the miracles that Jesus had done, the feeding of the 4,000 and the 5,000, all the notoriety that occurred during Jesus' ministry. Knowing all those things that had gone, here Jesus was going to solve quite a few things:

  • He was going to instill in His disciples to really believe

It's not a belief that you can do apart from God!

  • It was going to stir up such a controversy that it would bring about the fulfillment of the prophecy for His crucifixion.

Verse 16: "Then Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, 'Let us go also, so that we may die with Him.'" Here's a 'good work' for the Lord—huh? They're going to die with Him. We'll see that Thomas changed his mind a little later.

This is the section that I entitle The Disciples Courage. It gets into this thing: how many times have you heard someone say—especially Protestants—'the Lord spoke to me, so I'm doing this great work.' or 'Let's do this for the Lord.' Let's take on Thomas. He said, 'We'll go die with You.' Wonderful!

Outside of John and the women, where were the 12 apostles? 'Oh, let's go to Jerusalem that we may die with Him.' They didn't even stand there to comfort Christ while He was dying. They were off afraid someplace. And guess who had to bury Jesus? Nicodemus and Joseph and the women! It's not what you think that you're going to do for God. It's what God wants to do! Ultimately, that's going to be it.

Matthew 7—a very basic Scripture. Isn't this something? There are all those who did great 'works' for the Lord: built monuments, colleges, all those things. Listen, you can build the greatest monument, do all these things, but if it isn't what God wants it doesn't mean anything! Like God said, 'Where is the house you build for Me? I made the Earth and everything that is here, and the Earth is My footstool. But to this one will I look: he who is of a contrite heart and spirit and who trembles at My Word!' Your attitude toward God is what counts. Here are some great works people did:

Matthew 7:21: "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven…" We've heard this how many thousands of times? Now let's view this in relationship to the courage of the disciples.

"…but the one who is doing [practicing] the will of My Father, Who is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord… [here are their great works]: …did we not prophesy through Your name?…'" (vs 21-22). Yes, we made the name of Jesus made known everywhere. They paint His name on rocks and billboards.

Those who have given sermons. There are all kinds of prophets. You can pick up any 'religious' magazine and there are going to be prophecies in it. But none of them are coming out the way that they say, because it's a little different than what God wants. God is going to do it His way.

We went through the whole thing with 1972, 75, 85, 87, 89. Back then it was, when the Church first started, 'we'll know when the Kingdom of God is coming, because Christ said that John would not die until he sees Jesus Christ return.'

So, the first apostle that is martyred: James; then Barnabas took his place. Then you go right down the line and each of the apostles died. Didn't happen! What about all these people who 'play religion'? Practice playing religion?

"…And did we not cast out demons… [that's pretty noteworthy thing to do] …through Your name? And did we not perform many works of power through Your name?" (v 22). I can just hear them with soup kitchens, 'Lord, I ran five soup kitchens. I've fed hundreds of thousands. We did this in Your name; we had a nice crucifix right up there and everybody did their little thing with the crucifix.' Many wonderful works! 'Yes, we sent food to the starving.'

Verse 23: Jesus said, "And then I will confess to them, 'I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who work lawlessness.'"

So, it gets down to the basic thing: no one is going to tell God what to do, or how to do it! God is going to do what He's going to do. That doesn't mean that we sit back and do nothing. We do all we can do, but on the other hand, as I've mentioned before, I've done enough going out charging down the road and doing a work for the Lord, and I found out that isn't what the Lord wants me to do. I'm going to wait until it becomes abundantly clear what God wants me to do, and then I'm going to do it.

John 20:19: "Afterwards, as evening was drawing near that day, the first day of the weeks, and the doors were shut where the disciples had assembled for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, 'Peace be to you.' And after saying this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples rejoiced because they had seen the Lord. Therefore, Jesus said to them again, 'Peace be to you. As the Father sent Me, I am also sending you.' And after saying this, He breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit'" (vs 19-22).

What does this mean? I would have to say that this means this was the giving of the Holy Spirit—a begettal—to them after the resurrection as Christians! They had already been baptized. They had been with Christ and taught of Christ. When we come to the Day of Pentecost, they received the power of the Holy Spirit for preaching. Those are two different things.

2-Tim. Shows that there is the laying on of hands for the receiving of God's Spirit for preaching and teaching, and there is the laying on of hands for receiving of God's Spirit as a begettal of being a Christian, or what people would call 'lay members.' So, I feel this is when they received the Spirit of God as a person would today right after baptism.

Then Jesus says, v 23: "Those whose sins you shall remit, they are remitted to them…" This is not the Catholic doctrine of confession in a little booth and talk to a sinning priest. How are sins remitted? When they repent and are baptized! And in baptism it should be told them that 'in the name of Jesus Christ your sins are forgiven or remitted.'

"…and those whose sins you shall retain, they are retained" (v 23). Like Simon Magus. Was he baptized? Yes, he was! Were his sins forgiven? NO! He didn't repent! Did Peter tell him to go straight to 'the place of theological ever-burning'? Yes, he did; with your money!

Verse 24: "But Thomas, called Didymus…" This is the one we just read about who said, 'Let's go with Him, we'll die in Jerusalem with Him.' Because they were seeking to stone Him to death. So, Thomas said, 'Yes, Lord, we'll go back with You and die with You.'

After it's all said and done, Christ is crucified, buried and resurrected, the disciples had seen Him and told Thomas, 'We saw the Lord.'

Thomas—"…one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. Then the other disciples said to him, 'We have seen the Lord.' But he said to them, 'Unless I see the nail marks in His hands, and put my finger into the nail marks, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe at all.'" (v 24-25). Change of attitude! Great courageous work—huh?

Verse 26: "Now, after eight days His disciples again were within, and Thomas with them. Jesus came after the doors were shut…" What a surprise! I don't know what kind of doors they had, but I know that in Jerusalem most everything is made out of stone. In order to have a door that would be effective and keep it cool in the summer and warm in the winter, you'd have to have pretty thick doors.

I watched a series on Jerusalem and it showed these churches with this big thick clanging wooden doors. When I think of a door in Jerusalem, that's what I think of. Here you're in this room, stone walls all around, big thick wooden door and there's Christ right in the midst! Talk about hair standing up on the back of your neck! So, there He is.

"…and stood in the midst and said, 'Peace be to you.' Then He said to Thomas, 'Put forth your finger, and see My hands; and reach out your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing.' And Thomas answered and said to Him, 'My Lord and My God.' Jesus said to him, 'Because you have seen Me… [notice Jesus didn't bless him] …Thomas, you have believed; blessed are the ones who have not seen, but have believed'" (vs 26-29).

Here's Peter, 'I'm going to do a good work for You, Lord,' Matthew 16:21: "From that time Jesus began to explain to His disciples that it was necessary for Him to go to Jerusalem, and to suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and to be killed, and to be raised the third day. But after taking Him aside, Peter personally began to rebuke Him, saying, 'God will be favorable to you, Lord. In no way shall this happen to You'" (vs 21-22). In other words, 'We're not going to let this happen to You, Lord. You're too important.'

Verse 23: "Then He turned and said to Peter, 'Get behind Me, Satan!….'" This tells you something about some of these great works for the Lord that people are going to do. Where is the inspiration on all these things? Wouldn't that be a good act? Wouldn't it be something if you had a friend of yours come up to you, at a very stressful time, and you knew he was walking into a trap and he grabbed hold of your arm and said, 'We're not going to let it happen to you.' Well, that's nice of you, that's comforting of you to do that. I'm glad you're on my side.

You go back and remember some sermons where we talked about good works, bad works, evil works; here's one right here, one of the courageous deeds of the disciples.

"…'Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, because your thoughts are not in accord with the things of God, but the things of men.'" (v 23). That's the whole point of John 11; it's not the way we see or think, but the way that God is going to do it.

This incident of Peter denying Christ is in all four of the Gospel accounts. I won't go through all four to cover them. You can find it Matt. 26 and also in John 18 and:

Luke 22:31: "Then the Lord said, 'Simon, Simon, listen well. Satan has demanded to have all of you, to sift as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and when you are converted, strengthen your brethren'" (vs 31-32). Peter didn't even understand what was being said. It shows that human beings don't even know what's going on.

Can you imagine Satan coming to God and saying, 'God, I want Peter.' I mean, that's kind of awesome thing! You put yourself in Peter's shoes. How would you like it if Satan would go to God's throne and say, 'I want you.' You don't even know what's going on.

What happened to Job? Same exact thing! So, there are things going on, brethren, we don't know about. That's why we have to stay in the grace of God. There's no other way to do it.

Verse 33: "And he [Peter] said to Him, 'Lord, I am ready to go with You both to prison and to death.'…. [courageous work of the disciples] …But He said, 'I tell you, Peter, the cock shall in no wise crow today before you have denied knowing Me three times'" (vs 33-34). Deny that you knew Me.

So, whenever anyone says, 'I have faith that can't be shaken, I have faith that isn't going to be moved.' Forget it! When they're hanging over the Golden Gate Bridge, they'll be screaming for a piece of rope to get them in. Listen! That's why the Apostle Paul said that it 'was the will of God'—whatever it would be. That's why we have to live in the grace of God; it can't be any other way!

Peter said, 'Look, I'll go to prison with You.' Even to the death. And Jesus said, 'You're going to deny Me three times!' You'll find this account in John 18:

  • Who was it that was willing to go to the death?
  • Who was it that had the sword?
  • Who was it that cut off the high priests ear?
  • Peter!

Verse 50: "Then a certain one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus answered and said, 'That is enough!' Then He touched his ear and healed him" (vs 50-51).

Lot's of times it's good to just sit back and think: I wonder what that person thought? What if someone came up to you with a big sword and whacked off your ear? That's kind of messy! If they have a razor-sharp sword, they can do a nice clean job, if you ear sticks out. Otherwise, it can be a little messy. What if someone did that to you? Then the one you're arresting is a crook/criminal, and he's going to be taken and killed, reached up and touch your ear and said, 'Be healed.'

Yet, here he marched Jesus off to be arrested. And the servant of the high priest was the one who was in charge of the gang to come out and arrest Him. Sometimes, if we really think on the scope of what was happening, that was quite an event. You read in John 18 when they said, 'Are you Jesus of Nazareth.' He said, 'I AM.' And they all fell over backward. What would you think if you walked up to someone he answered and it was so powerful that it knocked you flat on your 'keester.' What is this?

Verse 52: "And Jesus said to those who had come out against Him, the chief priests and captains of the temple and elders, 'Have you come out, as against a thief, with swords and clubs? When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not stretch out your hands against Me; but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.' And after arresting Him, they led Him away and brought Him into the house of the high priest…." (vs 52-54). It was early in the morning, everyone is asleep, get it all done; 'we don't want to stir up the crowds,' etc.

"…Now, Peter was following at a distance. And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the court, and had sat down together, Peter sat among them" (vs 54-55). 'Yes, I'm ready to go to prison and to death with You, Lord.' He was sneaking around. I bet he wasn't making much noise. Then you want quiet 'Hush Puppies.'

Verse 56: "And a certain maid saw him sitting by the light; and after looking at him intently, she said, 'Now this one was with Him.' But he denied Him, saying, 'Woman, I do not know Him.'" (vs 56-57).

  • How strong is our resolve?
  • How strong is our faith?

Unless it comes from God and God's Spirit… Here's a 'great, courageous work' all melted just like butter in a fire.

Verse 58: "And after a little while, another saw him and said, 'You also are one of them.' But Peter said, 'Man, I am not.'" Don't label me with Him! I wonder what Peter thought? After the first time, 'I won't do that again.' Then he gets cornered—BAM!—second time!

Verse 59: "Now, after about an hour had passed, a certain other man strongly affirmed, saying, 'In truth, this one also was with Him, for he is indeed a Galilean.' And Peter said, 'Man, I do not know what you are talking about.' And immediately, while he was yet speaking, the cock crowed" (vs 59-60.

Another account in Mark shows that it was to crow twice.

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Verse 61: "Then the Lord turned and looked at Peter…" He was standing there wondering what's going on with Christ; you know they made eye-contact—eyeball to eyeball.

"…and Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, 'Before the cock crows, you shall deny Me three times.'…. [imagine how he felt] …And Peter went outside and wept bitterly" (vs 61-62).

It gives us a good lesson—doesn't it? Jesus said that Satan 'desired Peter, to sift him as so much wheat.' All this big thing of human resolve and everything just isn't there. It's got to be of God's Spirit! We have a certain resolve. We can be stubborn, we can be certain things, but when it gets right down to the essentials of eternal life, it has to be all what Christ in us can do. That's it! That's why, when you go back and look at it:

  • you can't run a church by structure
  • you can't create a 'right' structure, because it's human nature
  • you can't 'beat' faith into people by putting fear into them
  • you can't convert a person unless Christ does it

Maybe if we learn these lessons, then maybe God will show us what He wants us to do. We need to learn. I'm learning!

I remember that Rod Meredith said that you get up there once a year and, 'Give an attack sermon; attack sin.' I've done it once in all my years in the ministry and I about blew away the congregation, that they didn't even want to see me darken their doors. It took me a whole year to get them back. No way!

Let's see another 'great work.' If you want to get the full account just read all four accounts in all four Gospels.

Luke 9:51: "Now, it came to pass, when the days were being fulfilled that He should be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem. And He sent messengers before His face. And asthey went, they came to a village of Samaritans to prepare for Him" (vs 51-52).

  • Who are the Samaritans? We have no dealings with the Jews; Jews have not dealings with us: the woman at the well (John 4).
  • Who are hated and despised of the Jews? The Samaritans!

Here they are entering into a "…village of the Samaritans to prepare for Him, but they did not receive Him, because His face was as if He were going to Jerusalem. And seeing this, His disciples James and John said… [another 'courageous' work of the disciples] …'Lord, will You have us call fire to come down from heaven and consume them, as Elijah did?'" (vs 52-54). 'A great work, Lord! Let's get rid of the sinners and they don't receive You; it's an insult!' Humanly speaking!

Verse 55: "But He turned and rebuked them, and said, 'You do not understand of what spirit you are.'" What does that tell us about a religion based on hate?

Verse 56: "'For the Son of man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them.'…."—great works of the disciples.

See how different God's perspective is than our perspective!

Mark 9:38: "Then John answered Him, saying, 'Master, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name…'" You're not going to do something that you think is good in the name of God and that is not necessarily God's will! John came—he was one of the twelve—and said:

"…'Master, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbad him because he does not follow us'" (v 38). He's not one of us, He doesn't belong to our group, Lord. We forbid him because he doesn't follow us! Not one of the group.

Doesn't have his insignia, badge and banner, secret handshake, whatever. How many groups have all those things? Banners, badges, flags, secret handshakes, membership cards! The Pharisees had their phylacteries, like a Boy Scout merit badge and sew them on. What did Jesus say? Oh, you're good boys, that's fine, let's protect it! NO!

Verse 39: "But Jesus said, 'Do not forbid him; for no one who does a work of power in My name can easily speak evil of Me. And the one who is not against you is for you" (vs 39-40). To the knowledge that that individual had, that is not against Christ, that much is "…for you."

Another 'good work' is one that takes the cake. It's a not so 'good work,' but well intended. Our Lord was overworked and dealing with all these people and was crushed and crowded in by all of them.

Today they have Secret Service and armed guards and they clear the way and get the crowd out of the way and get all these nonsensical people around, get them out of there. Here they were coming:

Mark 10:13[transcriber's correction]: "Then they brought little children to Him so that He might touch them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them." Don't bother Him with all these little kids. What are you bringing your brats around here for. You can almost put it in human terms. You can see the attitude that was going on.

Verse 14: "And after seeing it, Jesus was indignant, and said to them, 'Allow the little children to come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the Kingdom of God.'" All the 'great works' of the disciples.

John 11:16: "Then Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, 'Let us go also, so that we may die with Him.'" I've even talked to people who have talked about what good martyrs they would make. They were planning what would happen if they were arrested for keeping the Sabbath. It isn't going to work that way! It's going to be the way God wants it.

Verse 17: "And so, when Jesus came, He found that he [Lazarus] had already been lying in the tomb for four days…." In a climate like that, being for four days you're in bad shape. Jesus waited four days deliberately!

"…Now, Bethany was near Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs away…"—about two miles; not very far away. You can walk two miles in a not too long period of time. This was close to Jerusalem. Lazarus was buried somewhere between Bethany and Jerusalem, you would have to assume. There was a little valley between Bethany and Jerusalem, that wherever Lazarus was buried was somewhere in that valley, because it was a cave. You don't have caves on flat ground; you have to have some sort of hill.

"…and many of the Jews had come to join thosearound Martha and Mary, so that they might console them concerning their brother" (v 19). They all knew that Lazarus was one of the disciples of Jesus. What did Martha and Mary talk about? I imagine that they talked about Jesus right and left, what He was doing and all the people were there! This is a big event!
You will see at Easter time in Jerusalem how everyone crowds in the streets and it's just a mass of humanity moving along. This was not quite packed up that much, but a big mass of humanity here comforting Martha and Mary.

Verse 20: "And when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met Him. But Mary was sitting in the house. And Martha said to Jesus, 'Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died'" (vs 20-21). Human reasoning; looking at it the way humans do.

Verse 22: "'But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.' Jesus said to her, 'Your brother shall rise again.' Martha said to Him, 'I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day'" (vs 22-24).

  • What is that?
  • Is that the Last Great Day Feast?
  • What's it talking about?
  • Will Lazarus be in the first resurrection? Obviously, he will be in the first resurrection!

We know that the Last Great Day Feast pictures the resurrection at the end of the Millennium. This is not talking about the Last Great Day Feast, but the last day of what? Let's let the Bible answer the question!

  • "…last great day" of what?
  • The last day of what is the first day of what? Still doesn't answer it!

Revelation 11:15: "Then the seventh angel sounded his trumpet…"—the last day of the rule of man; the first day of the rule of the Kingdom of God. What happens on the last day of the kingdoms of men? First resurrection occurs! That's the day it's talking about.

"…and there were great voices in heaven, saying, 'The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ, and He shall reign into the ages of eternity.' And the twenty-four elders, who sit before God on their thrones, fell on their faces and worshiped God" (vs 15-16).

Remember, the saints are resurrected at the last trump; there are seven trumpets. He'll be resurrected in "…the last day"—which then is the last day of the rule of the kingdoms of men by men, and they become the kingdoms of our Lord.

Verse 17: "Saying, 'We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come; for You have taken to Yourself Your great power, and have reigned. For the nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, and the time for the dead to be judged, and to give reward to Your servants the prophets, and to the saints, and to all those who fear Your name, the small and the great; and to destroy those who destroy the earth" (vs 17-18). That's the last day it's talking about, not the Last Great Day Feast.

Is Daniel going to be in the Kingdom of God? Yes, he's going to be in the Kingdom of God! If he's going to be in the Kingdom of God, that means he's going to be in the first resurrection. God promises Daniel that he will be resurrected:

Daniel 12:13: "But you, go your way till the end be…" That is, obviously, the end of the rule of man; the last day of man's rule, which then becomes the first day of the rule of the Kingdom of God.

"…for you shall rest… [same thing that Jesus talked about sleeping, being dead] …and stand in your lot at the end of the days." What is the last day of the "…end of the days"? That the last day, which is the day we're talking about!

I have gone over that I don't know how many times, and I often wondered and never really sat down and figured it out until recently.

There's a fellow who went to Ambassador College and left and he wrote a book, The Holy Days of God, and he says the resurrection is going to take place according to the Last Great Day festival, based upon this Scripture right here:

John 11:24: "Martha said to Him, 'I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.' Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life….'" (vs 24-25). Here He shows that He is going to give life. He is the resurrection! You can tie in all those other Scriptures about Jesus saying Who He was:

  • the Light of the world
  • the Word of God
  • the Way
  • the Truth
  • the Life
  • the Resurrection
  • the First
  • the Last'
  • the Beginning
  • the End

All tie together with this!

"'…He who believes in Me, though he die, shall live again… [now we're getting down to the kind of belief that we need] …and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall not die forever….'" (vs 25-26)—anyone who is living and believing into Me.

This tells us that there's a possibility of death; it doesn't say shall never die, "…but everyone who lives and believes in Me shall not die forever…" It shows there's a possibility of death, but it's not forever. There's a distinct difference.

"'…Do you believe this?'" (v 26). Are you actively believing this. Is this a thought right now, that you are believing?

Verse 27: "She said to Him, 'Yes, Lord; I believe… [she didn't answer the question directly] …that You are the Christ, the Son of God, Who was to come into the world.' And after saying these things, she went away and secretly called her sister Mary, saying, 'The Teacher has come and is calling for you.' When she heard this, she rose up quickly and came to Him. Now, Jesus had not yet come into the town, but was in the place where Martha had met Him. Therefore, when the Jews who were with Mary in the house, consoling her, saw that she had quickly risen up and gone out, they followed her, saying, 'She is going to the tomb to weep there'" (vs 27-31).

If you've ever seen some of these Israeli funerals you'll know how they take it. You can pretty well picture that was what was going on.

Verse 32: "Then Mary, when she came where Jesus was and saw Him, fell at His feet, saying to Him, 'Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.'" Again, looking at it from a human perspective, a human point of view.

Verse 33: "As a result, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping…" What a scene; boohooing. When they weep they wail, groan and moan. Quite a carrying on!

"…He groaned in spirit and was Himself inwardly moved. And He said, 'Where have you laid him?' They said to Him, 'Lord, come and see.' Jesus wept" (vs 33-35). He was crying, I'm sure, out of sorrow for their sorrow. What a pitiful thing! Here is the Savior, the Son of God, right there with them instead of coming out there saying, 'Lord, raise him from the dead.' They were all complaining because He hadn't come to keep Lazarus from dying.

Verse 36: "Then the Jews said, 'See how much He loved him!' But some of them said, 'Could not this Man, Who had the power to open the eyes of the blind, also have caused this one not to die?'" (vs 36-37). That's not the question!

Verse 38: "Because of this, Jesus again groaned within Himself as He came to the tomb. Now, it was a cave and a stone was laid over the opening. Jesus said, 'Take away the stone.' Martha, the sister of him who had died, said to Him, 'Lord, he already stinks, for it has been four days.' Jesus said to her, 'Did I not say to you that if you will believe, you shall see the glory of God?'" (vs 38-40). She didn't even comprehend when He asked, 'Do you believe?' Yes, Lord, I believe!

How many people in their tears and crying say, 'Oh yes, I believe!' They get out and sober up and they don't even know what's happened. So, the same thing right here.

Verse 41: "Then they removed the stone from the tomb where the dead man had been laid. And Jesus lifted His eyes upward and said…" Notice that this didn't take a hour to do; they didn't burn any incense; they didn't have any sprinkle water going there either.

"…Jesus lifted His eyes upward and said 'Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You hear Me always… [not some great dynamic prayer, not some sacred names] …but because of the people who stand around I say this, so that they may believe that You did send Me.' And after He had spoken these things, He cried with a loud voice, 'Lazarus, come forth.'" (vs 41-43).

That must have been quite an event, because they said, 'Lord, it's been four days and he stinks.' They all but accused Him by saying 'You weren't here in time, Lord.'

Verse 44: "And he who had been dead came forth, his feet and hands bound with grave clothes… [that shows wrapped, not some big thing like the shroud] …and his face bound up with a napkin…. [a big piece of cloth that they wrapped around his head] …Jesus said to them, 'Loose him and let him go.'"

If Lazarus was buried in a shroud all he would have had to do is flip back the sheet and walk out. No way! They had to "…loose him…"

Verse 45: "Then many of the Jews who had come to console Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in Him." We're going to see that this had a real impact leading up to the Passover.

Verse 46: "But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done." Got to go report this right away. They didn't need telephones, they had two feet! They could get there real fast.

Verse 47: "Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, 'What shall we do? For this Man does many miracles. If we allow Him to continue in this manner, all will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away from us both this place and the nation'" (vs 47-48).

Is that not politics? Yes! They're more concerned about their own status, their own political well-being, their own hierarchy that they had. How many considerations did people make based upon that? I've been told, 'Don't rock the boat. Don't get people upset.' Same type of attitude.

Listen, if it were that they all believed on Jesus, God would take care of the Romans. So then:

Verse 49: "But a certain one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, 'You have no understanding, nor consider that it is better for us that one man die for the people, than that the whole nation should perish'" (vs 49-50).

The movie Rambo had a pretty good theme to it. They got Rambo and sent him on this mission to find the Americans missing in action that were still captive in Southeast Asia. He found them, rescued them and brought them to the helicopter drop point to be picked up. And for politics, because they didn't want it to be known, they said, 'Leave him! Let him die!' That's political! Same kind of mentality here.

We know this was foretold, this was prophesied, but God uses those things of human devices to trap people in their own devices. Here it was:

Verse 51: "Now, he did not say this of himself, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation."

One other thing on Rambo: I thought the end was really fitting: He stood there all bedraggled having had to capture a Russian helicopter and bring the guys back and take them to where the big American political guys were. He went into the control room and took his machine gun and blew up all their high-tech equipment and shot them all down. They were ready to arrest him and get rid of him.

The general came up and said, 'Why did you do this?' He said, 'I just want one thing: I just want the nation to love us, as we have loved this nation.' I thought that was really fitting right there at the end. All the blood, guts and gore, it got down to one thing: the biggest thing missing was love! That's what motivated him to do the whole thing. Yet, for political expediency, nobody's life is worth anything.

Verse 52: "And not for the nation only, but also that He might gather together into one the children of God who were scattered abroad. Therefore, from that day they took counsel together…" (vs 52-53). Sounds like almost day to day they were trying to figure out how to do this.

"…so that they might kill Him. For this reason, Jesus no longer walked publicly among the Jews, but went away from there into the country near the desert to a city called Ephraim; and He stayed there with His disciples" (vs 53-54). That's interesting.

As Jesus went from Jerusalem into Ephraim to get away from the Jews, so did Christ take Christianity from the Jews and gave it to the Ephraimites who represent the rest of Israel in this latter day of taking it to the rest of the world in the form of the Bible.

I'm not saying that the Protestant religion is a religion of Christ, but they did one thing, they did preach the name of Christ and they did publish Bibles and take them all over the world. So, for a state religion kind of thing, that same thing happened—went from Jerusalem to Ephraim. That's not absolutely Gospel Truth, that's only speculation on my part.

Verse 55: "Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up out of the country to Jerusalem before the Passover, so that they might purify themselves. Then they were watching for Jesus, and were saying to one another while standing in the temple, 'What do you think, that He will not come to the Feast at all?' For both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a command that if anyone knew where He was, he should reveal it, so that they might seize Him" (vs 55-57).

Remember, He came in six days before the Passover. He went in and out for those days. He set the whole thing up for provocation for the crucifixion.

Review of the seven points of John 11:

  • God's view of things is different than ours, so is His timing, and our program is not His program
  • belief in Christ as compared to human reasoning
  • dramatic setting for the staging of the crucifixion
  • shows that Christ is the Giver of life
  • example of the disciples courage, the lack of it
  • the resurrection of the "last day"
  • the beginning of the final plot of the Jewish leaders to get rid of Christ

All Scriptures from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version by Fred R. Coulter

Scriptural References:

  • John 11:1-14
  • Hebrews 2:14-15
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
  • 1 Corinthians 15:51-52
  • John 11:14-16
  • Matthew 7:21-23
  • John 20:19-29
  • Matthew 16:21-23
  • Luke 22:31-34, 50-62
  • Luke 9:51-56
  • Mark 9:38-40
  • Mark 10:13-14
  • John 11:16-24
  • Revelation 11:15-18
  • Daniel 12:13
  • John 11:24-57

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • John 12
  • Revelation 15
  • 2 Timothy
  • Matthew 26
  • John 18; 4

Transcribed: 12-8-14
Corrected: 12-29-14