Classic Christianity – Book of John Part 52 (07-30-19)
Jesus has just raised Lazarus from the dead. Here is Jesus, God in the flesh, looking beyond the immediate situation, knowing the deepest need of man. Yet man is so naturally selfish. He is really only concerned about his immediate problem. Natural man is not so concerned if someone else’s mother dies. But if his own mother dies, then he is concerned. God looks beyond the immediate need. He looks at the needs of the entire world. God looks at those needs and says, “I will cause all things to work together for the good of those who love God and have been called according to his purpose. I will not make bad good.” That is why we can praise God in all things. We have that promise from Christ Jesus.
Martha, the sister of Lazarus who is lying dead in a tomb with a stone rolled in front of the entrance says to Jesus, “But Jesus, there is a strong odor. He has been in their for over 4 days.” Jesus tells her, “Did I not tell you, that if you believed, you will see the glory of God?” Is the glory of God dependent on their believing or is it dependent upon Jesus. He is saying, “that if you trust me, and put your faith in me, you will see the glory of God. Your faith in me will not cause me to raise Lazarus from the dead. Your faith in me is going to say ‘I trust in you that you will go and do whatever you say you will do. If you said you will raise Lazarus, then you will raise Lazarus.’”
Such are the things Jesus did among men so that may believe that he is the Christ, the one promised by all the prophets who would come into this world, and to whom John the Baptist testified, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” But here, Jesus is performing a work out of normal order. He raises Lazarus from the dead even before he died to take away the sins of the world! We have a foretaste, or picture, of the resurrection. Jesus is the resurrection and the life.
So here is Jesus praying right before he raises Lazarus from the dead. He is going to explain why he is praying. It is not because he has any doubt that the Father is going to hear him, but we, who are listening, will come to understand something. He wants people to know he is the resurrection and the life so that by believing you may have life in his name, not life some day down yonder, but the Spirit of the living God living in you, this very moment. That is why Jesus said,
““I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Everyone will die physically, but if you are physically alive believing, then you have spiritual life right now and that spiritual life continues forever even after you die physically. Jesus wants people to know what eternal life is and to receive that life.
Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
Bob continues sharing from the book of John. Jesus is with Mary and Martha and other Jews at the tomb of Lazarus. Now here is Lazarus dead for 4 days, all wrapped up in garments of the dead. After having been raised from the dead, Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” Bob went on to explain how all of us were once dead. How strange would it be to see a child of God dressed in clothes of the dead? The clothes of the dead would be like living under the law. You may be alive but you have these grave clothes, this law hanging on you, condemning you to death. The law is grave clothes of the dead. Law can also be the grace clothes for those who are also alive. There are many people walking around, alive in Christ, still clothed, not in the righteousness of Christ Jesus, but still clothed in grave clothes of the law. Until you die to the law, you will never come alive to Christ Jesus
The law is like a mirror. It can show you that your face is dirty but it has no ability to wipe your face clean. So too is the law like a mirror. The law can show a man he is guilty of sin and is dead under the law but the law cannot take a man’s sin away or make him righteous before God. All the law can do is condemn a man to death. Indeed the purpose of the law is so that man may recognize his utter sinfulness and condition of death so he might come to Christ for new life. Only Christ has the power to give new life to man. Only Christ can raise the dead. Come to Christ for life.
Sadly not everybody wanted eternal life or understood eternal life. The religious leaders saw and heard the miracles of Jesus, but having no room in their heart for truth, they only saw Jesus as a threat to their position and nation. “If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation. ” So the Jewish leaders plotted to kill Jesus. They wanted people to follow them. “Who is this guy Jesus ”, they thought, “who comes here doing these things. Who does he think he is? We have the Moses and the law. He even breaks the Sabbath. We have to put a stop to these people following Jesus.”
Then the high priest stood up, and we read in scripture that he did not speak on his own. He tells them they do not know anything at all. It is better for one man to die than for the entire nation to perish. This is prophesy. Jesus was prophesied long ago by the prophet that he would come to this world, to die, be buried only to rise again. Before the foundation of the world, God planned to send his son to do what he did. This was not fully understood until after Jesus rose from the dead. After Jesus resurrection, the disciples recalled all that Jesus had spoken.
There is a lot said in this prophesy. “He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.” The scattered people of God are the Gentiles. This was a mystery that was later revealed through the prophets and the apostles, that both the Jew and the Gentile would come to Christ the same say. This is predestination. This is choosing. This is the mystery that has now been revealed to us today. God wants all people to be united in Christ, whether Jew or Gentile, slave or free, black or white. We are one in Christ. We are brothers and sisters in Christ because we came to Christ the same way, by faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, in what he alone did for us that we could never do for ourselves. We could never raise ourselves from the dead. We could never make ourselves righteous before God by observing the law.
So then, whatever your heritage or race, you should see people meeting together under one roof to study God’s word together, to pray, fellowship and encourage one another. That is the body of Christ in action, united together as a family with Jesus as the head. The church is people, not a building, but you would expect to see Jews, Gentiles and all sorts of people meeting together as brothers and sisters in Christ.
We are not so concerned when somebody else dies. We are just concerned when someone we love dies. Aren’t we? We are not so concerned if somebody else‘s husband runs out on his wife. We just are concerned if that one is mine. That is how we are. We are concerned with our baby. I will rock my baby. God looks beyond the immediate. He looks at the needs of the entire world. God looks at those needs and says, “I will cause all things to work together for the good of those who love God and have been called according to his purpose. I will not make bad good.” That is why we can praise God in all things. We have that promise from Christ Jesus.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose
38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.
It was very similar to the tomb Jesus was buried in. It was a cave with a stone rolled across the entrance.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
The corpse does stink.
39 “Take away the stone,” he said.
40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
Did I not tell you, that if you believed, you will see the glory of God? Is the glory of God dependent on their believing or is it dependent upon Jesus. He is saying, “that if you trust me, and put your faith in me, you will see the glory of god. Your faith in me will not cause me to raise Lazarus from the dead. Your faith in me is going to say ‘I trust in you that you will go and do whatever you say you will do. If you said you will raise Lazarus, then you will raise Lazarus.’”
41 So they took away the stone.
Why? Because they trusted what Jesus said.
Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.
He is going to explain why he is praying. It is not because he has any doubt that the Father is going to hear him, but we, who are listening, will come to understand something.
42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”
Why did he say just Lazarus? If he had not said Lazarus, then you would have had a mass exodus out of the grave. So he isolates it to one person’s name to come out, Lazarus.
44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
This is a picture of resurrection. You may have been raised from the dead but you are still in the grave clothes of legalism. Those are clothes for the dead. The law is clothes for the dead. You may be alive but there is something else you must do to be alive. You must take off what killed you.
“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.”
You may be alive but you have these grave clothes, this law hanging on you, condemning you to death. The law is grave clothes of the dead. Law can also be the grace clothes for those who are also alive. There are many people walking around, alive in Christ, still clothed, not in the righteousness of Christ Jesus, but still clothed in grace clothes of the law. Until you die to the law, you will never come alive to Christ Jesus.
What does it mean to die to yourself? What do you die to? The law. That is what you die to. The law is what demands you to behave. If you are going to die to self and keep the law alive, you will never die to yourself. The law is always demanding you to do or not do something. We must learn that law is not your friend. The purpose of the law is like a mirror to show you your face is dirty. You do not use a mirror to wipe dirt off your face. You use a mirror to recognize your condition so you can go to Christ Jesus for cleansing. You do not go to a wash rag to see if your face is dirty. You go to the mirror to see the dirt. You use the wash rag to wipe the dirt off your face. The law was given as a reflection, to show you that you are a sinner. This is the purpose of the law. It showed me my face was dirty so I turn to him for my cleansing and turn to him for my resurrected life.
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
19 Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. 20 A mediator, however, implies more than one party; but God is one.
21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22 But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
23 Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,
7 What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”
So what can be summarized concerning the purpose of the law?
- Law was temporary until Christ came
- Law was not opposed to the promises of God
- Law cannot give life.
- Law cannot make anyone righteous
- Law brings the knowledge of sin.
- Law held us captive or locked up until faith could be revealed.
- Law stops the sinner’s mouth from justifying itself.
- Law helps the world to realize that they are guilty.
- Law acts as a schoolmaster (guardian) to bring us to Christ.
When you turned to Christ Jesus, you leave the law behind. The law did its work. It showed me my condition. Now I am going to turn to him for his provision. I am not going to be camping on what showed me my face is dirty the rest of my life. I am camping on the one who cleansed me once I saw my face was dirty. The law keeps you focused over here and grace keeps you focused with Him and what he is doing. Law keeps you focused on you and what you are not doing but grace keeps me focused on what He is doing. Take these grave clothes off you. Some of you came from a very legalistic background and God is still dealing with you to peel these layers off. But it comes a point that you have to take those grave clothes off. You have to get rid of them so you can walk free, not free with no leading, but free to be led by the Holy Spirit of God living in you.
Later, in the next chapters, you can see why he told them to take off the grace clothes because he will explain in detail how to be led by the Holy Spirit of God.
2 Corinthians 3:6
6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant – not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
As spiritual people, we need to be led by the Holy Spirit of God living in us. He will lead you into all truth, to take the things of Jesus Christ and make them known to you.
14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.
“Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.
If a man could do this, that would get your attention, would it not? If you had seen a person dead for 4 days walk out of a grave and a man tells him to take his grave clothes off, now that would get your attention! So they put their faith in him.
46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.
You can hear the Pharisees saying, “Do you know what this guy did? What kind of magic trick did he pull?” Would that get the Pharisees attention? Yes, it really did.
One group said I will believe Jesus. Another group went to tell the leaders. How many times have you heard a truth and you run to a pastor to see what he thinks 11:18 AM 7/28/2019about it. You hear the chattering. “I will run to old Martin Luther and see what he thinks about it. I will run to Billy Graham and see what he thinks about it. I will run to a Calvinist and see what he thinks about it. I will run to anyone and see what he thinks about it. If they think something about it, then maybe that is what I should think.” Why? We do not trust the Spirit of God living in me. If the Holy Spirit is living in you, he will reveal truth to you.
1 Corinthians 2:10
10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
1 John 2:27
27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit – just as it has taught you, remain in him.
You do not need it confirmed. It is nice to have it confirmed. The truth is you do not need it confirmed by man if it is confirmed by the Spirit of God. Bob said he would have liked to have confirmation from somebody on the totality of the cross but he could find no one. The Holy Spirit revealed that truth to him through the reading of God’s word. He can and will do the same for you.
47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.
So the leaders do what they always do. They call a meeting. Get the whole group together to develop a plan of action. “We just head a report and no reason to doubt. We have seen him heal a blind man on the Sabbath, and we know he is a Sabbath breaker. How can we get rid of this man?
“What are we accomplishing?” they asked.
If you were there hearing them talk, this is what you could have heard: “What are we accomplishing by allowing this man to live. We are trying to negotiate. You cannot negotiate with this man. He just tells what is true and what he says is true is the opposite of what I think is true. What are we accomplishing? We are the leaders. We are the big dogs. We are the ones on television.”
“What are we accomplishing?” they asked.
“Here is this man performing many signs.”
You would think that their attitude would be, “This man might be who he is claiming to be. It is not what we are accomplishing. What does he seem to be accomplishing? Could this be the Messiah we are teaching everybody about? Could this be?” Never a thought. Never a thought.
“Here is this man performing many signs”
They are not denying Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. They are just saying he is performing these miracles and then they say this.
48 “If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”
What killed Jesus? Job security is what killed Jesus. “If we allow this man to continue before long everyone follow him and we will lose our place and our position.” Essentially the Jewish leaders ere saying, “No one will come to me for my biblical interpretation. They will all go to him. I cannot raise anybody from the dead. I cannot turn water into wine. I cannot do these things this guy is doing. Who does he think he is doing that in front of us?” If you can just understand the minds of these people, it is really a tragedy! Here they are looking straight in the face of God, seeing him doing miracles only God can do, and all they can think of is that if we let him continue then the Romans will take our place and we will lose our position and lose our nation!
49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all!”
Well that is true. Finally someone stood up and spoke some truth. You guys do not know anything.
50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”
Do you not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the whole world. This is a prophesy. We are told he did not say this on his own.
51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.
He did not just die for the Jewish people but also for the scattered children of God. That is the Gentiles, to bring them together and make them into one new man. That is the mystery. That is predestination. That is choosing. That is all of these things, in the heart of God, that the Gentiles would come to Christ the same way as the Jews would come to Christ. The whole book of Ephesians is around this statement, how he is going to make the two men into one, about a new man, a child of the living God.
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.
1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles –
2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
Bob spoke to a man with a little deal on the back of his head. That is okay. He made a statement that sounded strange to Bob. The Jew said, “If I had a choice to give up being a Jew or being a child of God, I would give up being a child of God.” So Bob said to him, “What is the big deal about being a Jew or being a Gentile? Would you not want to be a child of God?” Somebody comes up to you and says, “I am a Messianic Jew.” Bob responds, “Praise God, I am a Messianic Gentile, so let us get on with who we are, a child of God. What is the big deal in all this. So the Jew says, ‘Well, I would have to give up my tradition.’ You gave up your tradition a long time ago. If you kept your tradition, you would still be killing bulls and goats today. You would not be eating shrimp and pork today. Is there anything wrong in being a Jew who comes to Christ and celebrating, as an example, passover. No, that is a celebration of God delivering Jews out of bondage in Egypt. If I were a Jew I would be celebrating that too, if I understood that the final Passover is Christ. Nothing wrong with that. I am not asking you to give up your Jewish heritage any more than you are asking me to give up my Gentile heritage. I got a great heritage, heathenistic and idol worshipping. Now, why would we need to give any of that up? Don’t need to? God did not call us to hold onto our physical heritage. He called us to let go and become a new creature in Christ.”
2 Corinthians 5:17
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
Until you are a new creation, you are an old creation. What is my old creation? I am a Jew. What is my old creation? I am a Gentile. Now, I got a new creation. I am what? A child of God. He made the two into one. God never intended to have Messianic groups where only the Jews sit over and worship on Saturday, or whatever day they choose, and whatever day makes no difference, and then the Gentiles get together. He did not want to divide the body of Christ like that any more than He wanted to divide the body by gifts. One group sits around blowing their noses all day long. Another group sits together with their mouths wagging all day. God did not want that, people dividing themselves up by their gifts or national heritage. God says, “I want you to become one new man. I want to have unity among your diversity.” There is nothing wrong with having unity with everybody who is just like you. But when you have diversity and then you have unity, you know God is bringing that about. That is not of God to have Jew, Gentile, slave and free, all separate from each other, or in hostility to one another. God wants all of us together in one group, unified in Jesus. The unity we have in Christ is not whether we are black or white, Jew or Gentile, slave or free. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. That is a unity that no one can break down. That is also a unity, like if the Jewish people, as in World War II, ever got in trouble, there was one group they can count on, the born again believers. That is why you have the Corrie Ten Boom’s. That is why you had in any village, when the head Nazis were out trying to kill people, they knew they had believers they could turn to, who would not turn them in.
49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all!
50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”
51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation,
52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.
53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life.
The Jewish leaders, not the people, plotted to take his life. It was a plan. They planned how to take his life. You cannot say the Jewish leaders had nothing to do with the death of Jesus. You cannot say that is anti-Semitic because it is a Jew killing a Jew. Jesus was Jewish. It was Jewish leaders not liking a Jewish brother because he taught different than their interpretation of what the bible was. So they plotted and planned in detail to put him to death. Why?
“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”
What are we accomplishing, allowing this guy to continue. Before long we will lose our position and our nation. Let us get rid of him. So they plotted to take his life.
54 Therefore Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the people of Judea. Instead he withdrew to a region near the wilderness, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples.
55 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, many went up from the country to Jerusalem for their ceremonial cleansing before the Passover.
Those were baths, like baptismals. Those were for ceremonial cleansing. You had those baptismal pools all over Israel where people got into those baths and did ceremonial cleansing. What is that? Cleansing of the outside of the body. Can it ever clean the inside? No. It can only clean the outside.
56 They kept looking for Jesus, and as they stood in the temple courts they asked one another, “What do you think? Isn’t he coming to the festival at all?” 57 But the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who found out where Jesus was should report it so that they might arrest him.
Arrest him for what? To kill him.
1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him.
Martha was always the worker. Mary was always sitting at the feet of Jesus.
3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor?
Does that not sound just like people? Why are you wasting all this money on this man named Jesus? That money can be used to feed the poor. Now, Jesus knowing what is going on underneath the skin, we have an account of what is really going on.
It was worth a year’s wages.” 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
There are a lot of people who talk about the poor. There are billionaire’s always talking about the poor. It is always about them telling others to help the poor. Do not ask me to give up any of my money. I am paying taxes to do that. I am going to pay taxes and let you all do it. I am going to pay taxes and let you all do it. Do you notice how the rich are supporting the rich and the poor are supporting the poor. It is the rich helping the self sufficient. It is the poor helping the struggling. All you have to do is look at the big churches you have today. Who supports it? The rich. The more you have, the more you have the rich supporting it so they can say, “This is my church.”