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Posted By Nan

John 11:1-16 continued.
Today I am going to look at verses 8-10. In verse 8 the disciples question Jesus about His intention to go back to Judea because the Jews had tried to stone Him when He was last there (10:22-42). In response, Jesus says there are twelve hours of daylight. He continues that a man who walks by day will not stumble because he sees by daylight, which Jesus describes as “this world’s light”. He then states that at night, when there is no light, a man stumbles. I have read many interpretations of this statement. One suggests that at the twelfth hour Jesus’ time will have come so He can go back to Judea and know that He will not be in trouble until the twelfth hour. This carries an element of truth about it. I think the point of this is that the man He is talking about is walking by the light of “the world”. The light that comes from God, Jesus, however, does not rely on the light of the world. If Jesus were to go to Bethany under his own strength He would stumble, particularly if He went back in the darkness, when His life is in danger. However, Jesus is proposing going back with the blessing of God. This means that He goes back in the light of God. His disciples are concerned about worldly things. Jesus’ concern is with the things God instructs Him to do.
For me, the message of these verses is that when we do what God directs us, then we walk in the Light that is Jesus and we do not have to worry about whether it is earthly day or earthly night or whether there are worldly circumstances that may hinder us. When we walk forth in the true light, Jesus, then we walk forth in victory.

Posted By Nan

John 11:1-16 continued
I am continuing looking at the passage in John 11:1-16. Today I am looking at verse 4 where Jesus announced that Lazarus’s sickness will not result in death. Then Jesus made a strange comment. He said that this was for Gods’ glory, that the Son of God would be glorified through this. The last time He mentioned an affliction being for God’s glory was in John 9:3 when he healed the man born blind. It must have seemed puzzling to the disciples. On the one hand He was saying that Lazarus’s sickness would not result in death. Yet on the other hand he was saying it was for God’s glory. This implied that a miracle was going to happen, which would suggest Lazarus’s sickness was serious. Then having said that, he waited two days! (v6). I think if I had been a disciple then, I would have been confused about what was going on. On the one hand I would have been encouraging Him to stay where he was, because Lazarus was in Judea and Jesus was in danger in Judea. On the other hand, I would have been wondering how God could be glorified if Jesus stayed where He was.
Another thought that came to me from verse 4 is that so many in the Christian Churches portray illness and suffering as God’s punishment. Yet twice in John (9:3 and this passage) the suffering is portrayed as bringing glory to God.
Another point in verse 6 is the fact that Jesus waited two days after receiving the message about Lazarus. I wonder how Mary and Martha wondered as they waited for Jesus to come and then as they mourned their brother’s death? I wonder if they wondered if Jesus would ever come, or even if He would care enough to put Himself at risk and come back to Judea? I thought about the many times I pray and wait impatiently for the answer, wondering if God is going to want to answer my prayers. I have had God remind me a lot lately about the number of prayers I have prayed over the years that He has answered. Many of them were answered so long after the original prayer that I had forgotten I had prayed it. At the moment I have been instructed to Praise God for answering a prayer I have been praying for five years, but the answer has not happened yet. Yet God tells me to praise Him because He has answered the prayer. I just have to wait patiently for the miracle of that answered prayer. Life can seem very complicated. Yet at the foundation of all this is the fact that God does care, He does answer prayer, and His timing if perfect but does not always coincide with the timing we think He should observe.

Posted By Nan

John 11:1-16
Chapter 11 of John covers the story of Lazarus. In some ways this is a very well known story which most people would feel they did not need to know more about. But in other ways, there are many aspects of this story that are often overlooked but teach us a lot of Jesus.
This section of the story is of a man named Lazarus. He is mentioned nowhere else in the Bible, although his sisters are mentioned in Luke 10:38-42 in the famous story where Mary sat at Jesus’ feet while Martha hurried herself with preparations for dinner and was corrected by Jesus when she complained to Him about her sister not helping her.  Mary is also identified here as the woman who poured oil on Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her own hair. This story can be found in Mark 14:3, Luke 7:38 and John 12:3. This family appear to have had a close and loving relationship with Jesus. Lazarus is sick and the sisters send word to Jesus. Jesus response is to say that Lazarus’s illness will not result in death and that this is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified.
The verses here record that Jesus loved the three siblings, yet He stayed where He was for a further two days before telling His disciples it was time to return to Judea. The disciples are not keen for Him to go as the Jews had only recently tried to stone Him and they felt His life was in danger. Jesus’ response was a cryptic statement about there being twelve hours of daylight and a man who walks by day will not stumble. I will be exploring these verses in another blog so will not stop and discuss them.
Jesus told the disciples that Lazarus had fallen asleep. When they did not understand what He meant, He told them plainly that Lazarus was dead and that He was glad for their sakes because they would believe.
Thomas then said an amazing thing. He encouraged the other disciples to come with Jesus “so that they could die with Him”. It is amazing that at this point Thomas, and presumably the other disciples, were willing to die with Jesus. Later, when Jesus was arrested and led away to be crucified they scattered and, in the case of Peter, denied knowing Him. I wonder why that was.
I am going to continue the discussion of these verses in the next blog.

Posted By Nan

John 10:31-42.
Jesus must have felt frustrated with the continuing unbelief of the people. Again the Jews wanted to stone Him. Jesus asked them for which of His miracles were they planning to stone Him? Their reply was that they were planning to stone Him for blasphemy because He claimed to be God. Their opposition was based on the fact they believed He was only a man, yet His actions showed that He was more than that. It is almost as if the Jews wanted to stop Him saying more, so decided to stop Him by preparing to stone Him. Jesus however did not allow them to stop Him. He pointed out Psalm 82:6 which refers to those divinely appointed as gods. If it is alright to call them gods then what is wrong with the one God set apart, Jesus? After all, Jesus has performed more miracles than anyone else. If others can be gods, why can’t Jesus be the Son of God? The Jews did understand what Jesus was saying. However, they did not want to accept because Jesus did not fit their idea of who the Messiah should be. As a contrast, the people on the other side of the Jordan believed Jesus and came to faith in God through Him because of the same miracles that the Jews saw as a stumbling block.
The message to be open to what God chooses to reveal to us is one I keep giving, but it is an important one. This is why it appears frequently in John. We must be wary of allowing our preconceived ideas and assumptions to blind us to God’s revelation. Our focus must be on Jesus and our relationship with God through Him. Then we are open to God’s messages.

Posted By Nan

John 10:22-30.
This section repeats some information from earlier parts of John, but adds to it. It is winter and the Feast of Dedication. Jesus is in Jerusalem in the Temple. The Jews ask Him when He is going to tell them He is the Christ. He replies that He already has but they have not believed. The miracles He has performed in His Father’s name speak for Him. He then adds that the reason they do not believe is that they are not His sheep. He reiterates that His sheep listen to His voice. He knows them and they know Him and nothing will ever take them away from Him. He then extends that to say that His sheep were given to Him by God and no-one can take them away from God. Just in case that seemed confusing that a person can belong to Jesus but also to God, Jesus stated that He and the Father are one.
There are a lot of things that run through my mind when I read this passage. The first is that Jesus seemed to be perpetually telling the people things that they did not believe. However, this time there is an explanation. Now that Jesus has told people about Him being the shepherd He tells them in words they should understand, that they do not belong to Him. That is sad, and Jesus must have felt sorrow about that as He does for every person who does not belong to Him. I love the way Jesus then links His sheep to God by stating that God gives Him His sheep and also that God holds His sheep in His own hand. Not only are we held by Jesus, but also by God. That must mean we are doubly secure! Not only do we rest secure in Jesus’ safe grasp, but also in God’s safe grasp. That makes us doubly secure and doubly loved by the Son and the Father who is “greater than all” (John 10:29 NIV)
Woohoo! Hallelujah! Praise God.



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