Good Morning, Siblings!
Today’s readings are John 11-12
John 11:3-4 When Messiah is told that Lazarus is ill, He replied that the illness His friend suffered from did not lead to death and existed so that YHWH and consequently Himself may be glorified through it. Of course, this illness did lead to death but not a permanent one, not a death as we’d think. John 11:5 states plainly that Messiah loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. These are people who are dear to Him. And we need to look at this personal connection between them the same as we look at His personal connection to us. He loves us.
John 11:8-11 We see that to travel to where Lazarus was would be dangerous for Messiah as there was an order out to stone Him on sight but Messiah responded that Lazarus had gone to sleep and He was going to awaken Him, determined in His purpose. How many of us have been spiritually asleep and awakened by Messiah? I count myself as one.
It is important to note that in John 11:17 the verse tells us that Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. Amy Castor shared some great insight into this in the comments last year on our reading cycle. “I think someone recently posted an article about this, how the Jews believed that your soul didn’t depart until the 3rd day after death. So if Messiah had called Lazarus sooner, skeptics could argue he was never really dead. I love how this is a picture that though we may physically die, by the power of YHWH through Messiah, we can be resurrected to eternal life!
We see Martha immediately go the Messiah when she heard He was coming. You’ll recall that she was the worker while Mary sat at Messiah’s feet. By her actions in this chapter, personally, I get a feeling of her being wise and at peace with having been rebuked. It would seem that rather than be offended, she accepted the wisdom and added it to her person as a gain. We see further evidence of this when she calls to Mary in John 11:28, telling her the teacher is here and is calling for her. This, to me, seems to read as if she has not only accepted but also blessed this special discipleship relationship between her sister and our Messiah.
When the Father first begins correcting us, it can be a jagged pill to swallow. But, as we grow and continue to mature spiritually it feels more and more like a blessing and opportunity to grow closer to Him each time He does so. In my mind, Martha has clearly responded with wisdom.
And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?” John 11:34-37
Two things from this verse. First, Messiah knew what He was about to do and yet, He didn’t diminish their pain or rebuke them for feeling it. Rather, He acknowledged it and, further, He felt it with them. Secondly, Even Messiah was not without His critics and He was the son of God Himself. Don’t let the critics of this world cause you to lose your focus on the task the Father has laid out for you.
John 11:48- shows us the Pharisees concerned about losing the authority Rome allowed them to operate under should they lose the control of the Jewish people. Rome allowed those under their rule to have some degree of autonomy provided they submitted to Rome by paying taxes and obeying Roman laws. Historically, anytime the Jews tried to rock the boat so to say, Rome was quick to respond in powerful ways, swiftly bringing them back into submission. Therefore, the religious leaders had learned how to carefully balance and play the system to their advantage and were anxious to make sure they did not tip that balance for fear of not being able to gain it again. However, they also wanted Messiah out of the way as He threatened their power. The way they ended up handing Him over maintained both their open submissive stance to Roman authority, thereby maintaining that needed relationship, while removing the man who threatened their power among the Jewish people.
John 11:49 We are told in this verse that Caiaphas was high priest “that year”, however Numbers 35:25 tells us that high priests were appointed for life. Apparently this was one concession that the religious leaders made to Rome in that Rome preferred to appoint the high priests and they served for one year time periods. This prevented any one man from holding too much power. Although we do see in John 11:51 that the Prophesy He was given was from YHWH in that we are told it was not given of his own accord and we know that it came true. Remember, if any prophet speaks a prophesy and it does not come true, he is a false prophet and we are not to trust them. This advice, should YHWH’s people heed it, would rule out many of our current religious superstars in our time. Deut 18:20-22. In our time, though, we give false prophets second, third, and fourth chances because they are likable, because we find them inspirational, and they feed some desire we have by their teachings. This complacency is dangerous. Click here to read several key verses on false prophets.
We come up on our third Passover in the book of John at the start of chapter 12 and we see a new perspective regarding the Messiah having His feet anointed and Judas’ behavior among the disciples.
The oil that Mary used to anoint her teacher’s feet was worth about a year’s wages. These very expensive oils were an investment because they were portable and easy to use as currency. As valuable as her oil was, it makes all the more impactful her action in that she is showing that this oil is only fit to wash His feet, He meant far more. This action further demonstrates her love, loyalty, and humility towards her beloved Teacher. To wipe His feet with her hair was even more humbling and no doubt done out of love and devotion rather than calculated thought because a Jewish woman did not wear her hair loosely or uncovered. It was a spur of the moment act of love.
In John 12:6 we see another behavior of Judas revealed. He had a habit of stealing money from the moneybags of their ministry. What a bold sin! And yet, Messiah knew this about Him all along. Likely, Messiah was the only one who knew about it as it was taking place.
John 12:16 shows us, yet again, the disciples recognizing Messiah through their knowledge of Scripture. Siblings, when we take seriously our responsibility to know YHWH’s word, He reveals Himself to us progressively, in ways we could have never imagined, as He draws us closer, each day, to Him.
“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”John 12:27-28
I want to present this as the model of Messiah to follow in times of stress, grief, and pain. Father, we are troubled. Use it to your glory.
Father, if I must be in this – use it to glorify your name.
I end my notes with two painful points.
John 12:43 states “..for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.”
Just think on that. Turn it over in your mind. Consider when you have done the same as each of us have been guilty of this.
47 If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. –John 12:47
This verse is often taken out of context by the world. But just because we stop reading when we see a statement we like does not remove that statement from the context around it as is the case with John 12:47-50 and of course, the context of the entirety of the Father’s Word backs this up.
47 If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.” – John 12:47-50
I have found that the truth of YHWH’s whole word brings far more freedom than the snippets I used to grab and run with. It is a deeper, abiding truth and from this comes deeper, abiding joy.
Through us, in all things, Father, glorify your name.
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!