John 11 Part 3

Resumed from part 2

But, “Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again’.” That would make her think of the general Jewish understanding of a resurrection, which the Pharisees affirmed, but the Sadducees denied. You had this notion of some kind of vague understanding that there would be a general resurrection from the dead at the end of days. That is what she thought He meant when He said, “Your brother will rise again.” But, “Martha said to Him, ‘I know he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day’.” Then Jesus hones in more closely and makes her think about something new that she has not seen. He says to her, and here is the fifth ‘I-am’ statement, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” There are different interpretations of this, but it seems to me that the phrase, “everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die,” may again refer to that mystery Paul would later talk about. No matter how you understand it, we do know this, the power of Christ has the authority over life and death; an authority over the grave; an authority over disease and sickness and sorrow and suffering.

Now, Martha’s response was, “Yes, Lord, I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.” This is a very strong affirmation. She had a good understanding of who He was in that regard.

So, she makes a statement not unlike the one Peter makes in Matthew chapter 16, where he says, “You are the Christ.” By the way, one thing I want to point out about Mary and Martha is that Jesus was their Rabbi and teacher and that was unique because in those days no Rabbi would instruct women.

So, it transcends those boundaries. “When she said this she went away and called Mary, her sister, saying secretly, ‘The teacher is here and is calling for you’.” He wanted to meet the sisters before He got into the town and before all the din of confusion and turmoil would take place. “When she heard it she got up quickly and was coming to Him. Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met Him.”

So, He is waiting for her to arrive before He will go and accomplish what He knows He will do. “Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and consoling her, when they saw that Mary got up quickly and went out, they followed her supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. Therefore, when Mary came to where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet.” It is interesting to me that each of the three times she is mentioned in all four Gospels, she is at the feet of Jesus. In Luke chapter ten, she is at the feet of Jesus, and what is she doing? She is learning from Him. She is receiving truth from Him.

Then, in John chapter 12, in verse 3, that is where she washes His feet. It is interesting that she sat at His feet to listen to His word, she fell at His feet to pour out her pain and sorrow, and then she washes and anoints His feet. That is the idea. We now see this same question here, this same comment that Martha makes, as well, “Lord, if You had been here my brother would not have died.” It is the exact same statement. “When Jesus, therefore, saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping,” and the word for weeping there is ‘klaio’, and it is a word for loud lamentations. In the culture of the times, grief would be expressed very loudly and openly. There would be flutes as well, and it was quite an emotional event.

So, she was actually wailing in this regard. The Jews who came with her were also weeping. You had quite a din of confusion. It says He was “Deeply moved in spirit and was troubled.” But, this particular word is more than simply ‘troubled’. ‘Tarasso’ is a word that actually means ‘angry’. It means, in fact, that He was outraged. It is the image, then of fury and anger. What is this anger about? In part, I think, it is because of the disbelief of the people. He is not angry with Mary and Martha, but there is the idea, that He is “the resurrection and the life,” and He is right before them and they do not see Him, and He sees His enemy, death, and He sees the affect it has on Him and He also sees that which He has come to overcome. And so, Jesus is angry, or troubled, in His spirit, and He says, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” The mystery of the incarnation is great. On the one hand, He knew right away that Lazarus was dead.

But, then He has to ask where they laid him. He has knowledge which is really and intimation of omniscience, and yet there are times He has to be told. Then comes the shortest verse in the Bible. In verse 35, “Jesus wept.” Now, it is significant in that verse to note that He was actually stirred, and the idea of His being grieved here, of His weeping, is that it was a different kind of weeping than we have with Mary and Martha. It was a quieter weeping, where he was more deeply stirred in His spirit. It could be that the Spirit of God was stirred in this context, but we see also, and I have to stress this, Jesus’ solidarity with the human condition. He understands what it is like to suffer and have loss and pain and grief. That is why He is a faithful high priest who can minister to us because it is not that He is simply on high, but that He became one of us. He understands.

Continued in part 4



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