November 19, 2020 – Thursday
John 11:35-36 NIV
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”
Before going into the verses, it should be noted the verse Jesus wept is often thought of as the shortest verse in the Bible. It is not, instead it is tied with 1 Thessalonians 5:16, Rejoice always as the shortest. More details are here where you find the next shortest verse, 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Pray unceasingly.
Now let us look at our verses for the day. Yesterday we ended with Martha telling Jesus (v27) Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world. Right afterwards Martha found her sister Mary and told her Jesus was there waiting for her. Then (v32) When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw Him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” There were many who had been weeping with her at their house, they followed her as they also were weeping. Jesus seeing the weeping of Mary and others (v33) was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. It was at that time He asked, Where have you laid him? After they told Him, He wept and the Jews said, See how He loved him! Then some of them asked (v37), Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying? We will see the answer to this question in His reply to Mary in a few verses.
They finally came to the place where Lazarus was buried, in a cave with a stone across the entrance. It was at this point Jesus said (v39) Take away the stone. Other versions have it as more of a command, Take the stone away! CJB and Roll away the stone! TLV. That was when Martha replies, But, Lord, by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days. She makes a good point, someone that’s been dead and entombed for four days will have more than a bad odor, their body will have the clear stench of death. Jesus’ reply to Martha is our key verse for today (v40), Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God? His actions in the next few verses will provide a glimpse of the glory of God right in front of them. Because Martha believes she will see and understand she is seeing the glory of God.
Acting in faith, a number of men removed the stone not knowing what was going to happen, only knowing a dead body was in the tomb with the stench of death about it within the tomb. Then before He took action concerning Lazarus, Jesus looked up and said (v41-42), Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 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. We should know Jesus did not need to call upon His Father, but then ask ourselves why He would pray to His Father at this point? Clearly, He had the power to raise Lazarus Himself, but He wanted the glory to go to His Father and show He and the Father are one. Having done this He acts.
Right after His prayer (v43-44), Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 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.” As a result (45), many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in Him. The verse says many, but after what Jesus did, I am surprised it did not say all. How could you watch someone come out of the grave alive because of Jesus’ command and not believe? Also, it is important to pay attention to what Jesus said after Lazarus came out, Take off the grave clothes and let him go. All too often people get saved by Jesus, turn their lives around, and others refuse to see them as they are – reborn. It is as if in their eyes, people saved are not saved and are still wearing grave clothes. Thus I find it significant Jesus said as soon as Lazarus came out, Take off the grave clothes and let him go. He is not dead, take off the clothes that define him as dead. He is no longer dead! People who have accepted Jesus and turned their lives around need to be seen without their grave clothes.
Prayer: Heavenly Father – Thank you for showing us Jesus’ power over death prior to His crucifixion and resurrection. You have given us even more reason to believe in salvation through Your Son Jesus that you offer to all of us. – In Jesus name. Amen.