|John 11 |
1 Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
2 (It was that Mary who had anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)
3 Therefore his sisters sent to him, saying, "Lord, behold, he whom you love, is sick."
4 And when Jesus heard that, he said, "This sickness is not to end with death, but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God might be glorified by it."
5 Now Jesus loved Martha, her sister, and Lazarus.
6 But, when he heard that he was sick, he still remained two days in the same place where he was.
7 Then after that he said to his disciples, "Let us go into Judea again."
8 But his disciples say to him, "Master, the Jews recently tried to stone you, and you are going there again?"
9 Then Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walks in the day, he does not stumble because he sees the by light of this world.
10 But if a man walks in the night, he stumbles because there is no light in him."1 [To walk in the night is to walk in darkness, still sinning, still stumbling; but if a man were full of the light of God, he would see by the light what to do and say, walking in the light of God with obedient faith. From the Word of the Lord within: "Walking in the light is to be guided through life by God; walking in darkness is making your own decisions as to what to do and say. All sin is darkness. The whole world lies in wickedness; the wickedness knows no shame. Darkness mocks the earth; darkness covers the earth. Light comes from faith in the voice."]
11 After he had said these things to them, then he said, "Our friend Lazarus sleeps; but I go to him, that I may awaken him out of sleep."
12 Then his disciples said, "Lord, if he is sleeping, he will recover."
13 However Jesus was speaking of his death; but they thought that he had spoken of resting in sleep.
14 Then Jesus told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead.
15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him."
16 Then Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us go too, that we may die along with him."
17 When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the grave for four days.
18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two mile away.
19 And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary's' to comfort them concerning their brother.
20 And as soon as Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him, but Mary sat still in the house.
21 Then said Martha to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.
22 But I know, that even now, whatever you will ask of God, God will give it to you."
23 Then Jesus said to her, "Your brother shall rise again."
24 And Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."
25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection, and the life. He who believes in me, although he might die, yet he shall live."
26 Whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.2 Do you believe this?" [Jesus has just said that you must be living in him, and then, believe in Him, (being in Him, you believe Him), (both together), to have eternal life. From the Word of the Lord within: "What must you do to inherit eternal life? — what everyone must do: keep the commandments, pick up your cross, and follow me. The works of my father must be done by all if you are to inherit eternal life."]
27 And she said to him, "Yes, Lord. I believe that you are the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, who was to come into the world."
28 When she had finished speaking, she went her way, and called Mary her sister, saying quietly, "The Master has come and he calls for you."
29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and went to him.
30 Now Jesus had not yet entered into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him.
31 And when the Jews, who were with her in the house comforting her, saw that Mary gotten up quickly up to go out, they followed her, saying, "She is going to the grave to weep there."
32 When Mary arrived where Jesus was and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying to him, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have not died."
33 And when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping who came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was deeply moved.
34 And he said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to him, "Lord, come and see."
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then the Jews said, "Look how he loved him!"
37 And some of them said, "Couldn't this man, who had opened the eyes of the blind, have even prevented this man from dying?"
38 Now Jesus was again groaning in himself as he came to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.
39 And Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, "Lord, by this time he stinks, for he has been dead four days."
40 But Jesus said to her, "Did I not say to you that if you would believe, you would see the glory of God?"
41 Then they removed the stone from the entrance of where the dead mad had been laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me.
42 And I know that you always hear me; but I said it so that the people standing by might believe that you have sent me."
43 And when he had thus spoken, he cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth!"3 [Like the resurrection of Lazarus, after you undergo the baptism of death, the Lord calls you by name to "come forth" and be raised with Him into a newness of life. The baptism of death, burial, being raised with Him, and newness of life are not to be imagined, assumed, or presumed. From the Word of the Lord within: "You are raised to a new life, not just an imitation; He is one with us and ever-present. The new life is as radically different as a man who has lived underground his whole life, suddenly coming above ground to see the sun, the sky, the plants, the animals, the wind, the stars."]
44 And he who was dead came out, bound hand and foot with grave clothes; and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus said to them, "Loose him, and let him go."
45 Then many of the Jews, who had come with Mary and had seen the things that Jesus did, now believed in him.
46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them the things that Jesus had done.
47 Then chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council and said, "What shall we do? For this man does many miracles.
48 If we leave him alone, all men will believe in him; and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation."
49 But one of them, named Caiaphas, who was the high priest that same year, said to them, "You know nothing at all,
50 Nor consider that it is advantageous for us that one man should die for the people rather than the whole nation should perish."
51 He did not speak this of himself; but because he was high priest that year, he had prophesied that Jesus would die for that nation;
52 And not only for that nation, but that he would also gather into one body the children of God who were scattered abroad.
53 Then from that day forth they all conspired how to put him to death.
54 Therefore Jesus no longer walked openly among the Jews; but went to an area near the wilderness, to a village called Ephraim, where he remained with his disciples.
55 Now when the Jewish Passover neared, many people of that country went up to Jerusalem to purify themselves before the Passover.
56 These looked for Jesus and said among themselves, as they stood in the temple, "What do you think? Will he not come to the Feast?"
57 Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a command that if any man knew where he was, he was to inform them, so they could arrest him.
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1 if a man walks in the night, he stumbles because there is no light in him. If any man walks in the day, he does not stumble because he sees the light of this world.
if a man walks in the night, he stumbles because there is no light in him.
We wait for light, but behold, darkness; for brightness, but we walk in gloom. We grope for the wall like the blind, we grope as if we had no eyes; we stumble at noon day as if it were night; we are in desolate places like dead men. Isa 59:9-10. Until a man has been purified and the light arises in his heart, so that he sees with the eyes of God, seeing only what is virtuous and ordered by God, a man walks as a blind man, or a man in the dark. He bounces off walls, trying this, and trying that; ever failing, ever hitting walls, ever stumbling, falling into ditches. Without God, we are unable to make right decisions; the best we can do is to choose the least evil alternative, which is still evil.
if any man walks in the day, he does not stumble because he sees the light of this world.
Jesus is telling us, when God causes his light to shine in your heart and the morning star appears in your heart, then you will no longer be stumbling through life on your own carnal mind's selfish, defective decisions, still sinning, still walking in darkness; but you will be walking by the light of God, in perfect obedience to God, speaking and working as He commands you.
From the Word of the Lord within:
- "I work with the blind; but if you think you can see, and you are not with me in heaven, I will make you a laughingstock.
- He that follows me will have the light of life.
- Follow precisely; do not deviate."
Be sure you understand that to follow Jesus you must hear His spoken commands and then completely obey Him.
2 Jesus said in verse 26, "whoever lives and believes in me, shall never die." Mark, lives and believes in Jesus! There are two possible interpretations to these few crucial words:
First - if you are not dead, (whoever lives), and believe in Him, then you shall never die. This seems to excludes dead people from believing in Him, when only living people were being addressed, which exclusion of dead people seems obviously superfluous, "wisdom needs few words." In no other quotation of Jesus, do we see Him qualifying what He says to be applicable to those who live only.
Second - if you live in Him and believe in Him, then you will never die; or saying it another way, those in Him and believing while in Him will never die. It is also possible that Jesus' use of the word lives refers to who lives in the life of God, not the life of the flesh, which fleshly life must be lost to find the life of God. Either means the same thing: you must be living in Jesus, who is the life of God, who is eternal life, who must be possessed in sufficient measure to be your true Lord, controlling your every word and deed.
In my opinion, the later, (living in Him to believe in Him), is what He is saying because it is in conformance with the rest of the New Testaments' exclusions, requirements, and qualifying conditions of salvation. This statement then explains that to believe in Him is to first be living in Him; being in Him, you must believe what he says is true and are valid commands. Again, in my opinion this gives entirely new meaning to "believe in Jesus" because it refers to belief while living in Him. Obviously to live in Him, we must persistently believe what we hear Him say to us and then obey, receiving the engrafted word that saves our soul and imparts the life of God to us; but until we have salvation from sin, we do not have the assurance of eternal life; and even after we have been freed from sin, we still must continue for the rest of our life on earth to believe Him and obey Him.
There are many in Christendom who think that they are already in Christ because they believe that Jesus was the son of God and are born again, (See 1 John 5:1 for the refutation of that claim to be born again). To be "in Christ" is explained by Paul and John below:
- John explains who is in Christ: whoever keeps his word [obeys the Lord's commands spoken to him], truly the love of God is perfected in him; by this we know that we are in him. 1 John 2:5. If we love one another, God dwells in us, and his love is perfected in us. 1 John 4:12. Notice, this is to be "in Christ" — to have the love of God perfected in you.
- Paul also explains who is in Christ: There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Rom 8:1. To walk after the Spirit is to be led by the Spirit in thoughts, words, and deeds. If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Gal 5:18. To walk after the flesh is to walk according to your carnal mind and evil heart, before it has been cleansed and purified; until them you are not in Christ Jesus because your are still walking in the flesh — in your lusts, desires, affections, pleasures, pride, anger, vanity, fear, worries, plans, etc.
- Paul further explains who is in Christ: Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Cor 5:17. This is not to imagine yourself a new creature; this is to experience the death of the old and the birth of the new; death of the sinful nature is the old which must go. And death of the old is only through the cross of Christ, sharing in the suffering of Christ, sharing in the death of Christ, sharing in the burial of Christ, sharing in the resurrection of Christ - that is NEW - all else is presumption and imagination, or make-believe Christianity. From the Word of the Lord within: "The new life is as radically different as a man who has lived underground his whole life, suddenly coming above ground to see the sun, the sky, the plants, the animals, the wind, the stars. If anyone is standing with a new heart, he is a new creature."
Now for those who think that beginning belief is all that is required for eternal life, first consider what Jesus told us:
Do not labor for food which perishes, but for the food that endures to everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give to you; for God the Father has authorized and certified him with his seal. John 6:27
He is telling us that we must labor for food that endures to everlasting life. What food? The words we hear him speak to us impart the life of God to us, and Jesus is the life of God, and Jesus is everlasting life. So if you have experienced the appearance of Jesus to come and crush the head of Satan under your feet, if you have experienced the baptism of fire and death, if you have experienced the resurrection of Jesus within you, then you have experienced the receipt of eternal life — all else is lies, high notions, and presumption, which has become universal in Christianity today, supposedly excusing their believers to continue to live their life of lusts, pride, and immorality.
Then consider that Jude, (the half-brother of Jesus), advised the early Church to earnestly contend for the faith, waiting for them to actually experience Jesus bringing them their eternal life:
Beloved, while I was diligent to write to you about the common salvation, I found it necessary to write and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith, which was once delivered to the saints. Keeping yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring eternal life. Jude 1:3,21. Now if you think that just believing is all that is necessary, for what are you advised to contend? And if you think you are instantly saved by believing, why would the brother of Jesus be writing believers that they must keep themselves in the love of God, looking, (future tense), for Jesus to bring eternal life? Do you think you are a more special Christian than those in the early Church, founded by the Apostles, who were looking for a future bringing by Jesus of eternal life to them in their lifetime? Eternal life is brought by Jesus at the completion of one's salvation in all generations of those who have the hope and have purified themselves! To those who persistently and patiently wait for him he will appear the second time, not to bear sin, but to bring full salvation. Heb 9:28. To wait on God is to persistently and patiently sit in humble silence, listen for his voice and words, watch for his revelations, hear his commands, and then obey Him; only those who heed and obey Him receive eternal salvation. Heb 5:9. You are saved through faith, and by faith your hearts are purified; but obviously in the beginning of faith, you are not purified, neither are you saved. Before purification and salvation, your faith must be tested in several trials, in which you must grievously suffer in order to be purified of sin. You must contend for the faith, grow in the faith, build up your faith, increase in faith, perfect what is lacking in your faith, fight the good fight of faith, until victory when your faith is finished by the finisher; faith is a process and a journey, the end of which is to see Christ bring your salvation, to bring your eternal life.
From the Word of the Lord within:
"What must you do to inherit eternal life? — what everyone must do: keep the commandments, pick up your cross, and follow me.
The works of my father must be done by all if you are to inherit eternal life."
If you are in Him and if you believe in Him, then you shall never die. When you are living in Him, He becomes your eyes, He supplies your thoughts, He supplies your words, He shows you what he wants you to do, He leads you. If you are going to walk in faith, you have to believe. To believe Him while living in Him is to be obedient. However, you still have free will; you can still balk at being told what to do; you can think that it would be better to wait for a better time than at the moment you are told to do something — doubt or delay or refusal to comply is not believing in Jesus while living in Jesus. Jesus is always going to stretch us so that we can grow in Him; He is always going to ask what He knows is a stretch of our faith, so that our faith can grow when we obey and see the results that we doubted. George Fox, just before having been translated into paradise was told to warn some traveling judges; here is Fox's account from his journal:
At a certain time when I was at Mansfield there was a session of the justices about hiring servants; and it was upon me from the Lord to go and speak to the justices, that they should not oppress the servants in their wages. So I walked towards the inn where they were holding their session; but finding a company of fiddlers there, I did not go in, but thought to come in the morning, when I might have a more serious opportunity to discuss it with them, not thinking the present to be an appropriate time. But when I came again in the morning, they were gone, and I was even struck blind so that I could not see. I inquired of the innkeeper where the justices were to be that day? He told me they were to have a session at a town eight miles away. And my sight began to come to me again; and I went and ran in that direction as fast as I could. When I came to the house where they and their many servants were, I exhorted the justices not to oppress the servants in their wages, but to do what was right and just to them; and I exhorted the servants to do their duties, and serve honestly, etc. They all received my exhortation kindly, for I was moved by the Lord to speak to them.
John Burnyeat gives us another account of this possible hesitation:
When the first-day of the week came, in obedience to the word of the Lord, I went to Aspetry, the place which the Lord set before me, to speak to one Warwick a priest. When I came, he was preaching in their bell-house, who, soon after I came in with a friend with me, began to put forth some subtle questions to provoke us to speak, that he might have an opportunity to cause us to be haled out, and sent to prison; but I resolved not to mind his temptation, but to wait upon the Lord. When he could not prevail with his questions to get his end upon us, he spoke to the constable to put us forth: who answering, bid him go on, and said, "they do not disturb us." Then the priest went on and finished with his sermon. When he was finished, I began to speak to the people; but the priest got away, and the people hurried me out, and kept me and the priest asunder, that I got not to speak to him that morning. So I came away with my friend, and thought to have returned home; but immediately after I got out of the town, the wrath and displeasure of the Lord in his word sprung dreadfully in my heart, and a dreadful cry was in me from the same, — cursed is he that does the work of the Lord negligently. Then I saw how I had let in a fear upon me, in which I had shunned the priest and spared him, for fear I should be sent to prison for speaking to him, the law being such at that day, that whosoever did disturb a minister, as they termed it, should be sent to prison. When I found out my weakness in this, that I had spoken to the people, and spared the priest, against whom I was sent to cry, then was I sorely afraid, and my heart was filled with horror, and a sore cry [prevailed] in me still, cursed is he that does the work of the Lord negligently. Then I knew not what to do, for the wrath of God was upon me; and another cry from the same word was sounded in my heart, saying, Babylon has sinned, all you that bend the bow, shoot at her; spare no arrows, for she has sinned. When it was thus with me, and I saw that I had not been faithful, but had missed my service, after I had come so far as the common [the public grazing land] above Plumland, I sat down; and there I mourned before the Lord, whom I had so grieved; and humbly desired of the Lord, that he would but grant me liberty to go again to clear myself, that I might come into peace with him again; and then let outward life or liberty go, which I did not value. So waiting upon him in this humble bowed frame of spirit, the word of life arose in me again, and opened my heart, and sealed to me "That I might go." Then I arose with boldness, and went with speed, until I came at the worship-house. The priest was preaching again in the afternoon, so I went in and stood before him, until he was finished; and then was my heart filled with peace, and I resolved in the name of the Lord not to spare, but to speak the word of the Lord faithfully, whatever I might suffer for it; for in comparison thereof, I valued neither life nor liberty. So when he was finished, I spoke unto him, what the Lord put in my mouth; he immediately got away and gave me no answer, but I followed him so quickly, and cried out after him, that he turned again to me in the graveyard; and then I cleared my conscience to him, and a great dispute we had, for I did not spare him; at last he went away, and would stay no longer. Then I spoke to the people, and cleared my conscience among them; after which I came away in peace, and my heart was filled with unspeakable joy, and my soul with gladness. Then I saw it was good to be faithful to the Lord, and to trust in him, and to obey his voice;
To believe in Jesus that assures eternal life, is to be in union with Jesus, (living in Him), and then believe that He always knows best, that He does not make mistakes, that He is perfect; and therefore, you should obey his every command completely and at that moment or as soon as possible. This is the true meaning of "to believe in Jesus." It is easy to think, "Oh I could always believe in Jesus enough to obey Him, especially if I were already living in Him; I would know He never makes mistakes;" but until you are sent to reprove a judge, or sent to cause a false prophet minister to flee from his congregation, which might lead to getting beaten or even sent to jail, you can't be sure of your courage being sufficient to always obey what He tells you to do at that instant. Plus, when you realize that Jesus is always going to be ordering increasingly challenging tasks, so that you can grow; then perhaps you can see that even while living in Jesus, we will often be deliberately stretched or pushed to our limits of courage and faith, which limit He knows better than we do.
This verse is totally compatible with the other qualifier, (John 6:40), of when believing in Jesus results in eternal life: And this is the will of him who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in [depends on, trusts, and obeys] him, may have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. John 6:40. So your belief must lead to you seeing Jesus, the face of God. When your belief results in you persistently waiting on God, in humble silence, to hear Him, and to obey Him — His words that you hear Him speak to you impart the life of God; until finally you are pure and you see the face of God in your heart: Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God, Mat 5:8. And every man who has this hope in him, purifies himself even as He [Jesus] is pure. 1 John 3:3.
3 And when he had thus spoken, he cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth!" Like the resurrection of Lazarus, after you undergo the baptism of death, the Lord calls you by name to "come forth" and be raised with Him into a newness of life. Burial, baptism into death, being raised with Him, and newness of life are not to be imagined, assumed, or presumed. From the Word of the Lord within: "You are raised to a new life, not just an imitation; He is one with us and ever-present. The new life is as radically different as a man who has lived underground his whole life, suddenly coming above ground to see the sun, the sky, the plants, the animals, the wind, the stars."
Some say that since the words in the Bible are Christ's, to read them is the same as to have heard him speak them. However, “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life-giving," John 6:63; he does not say the words as written, much less the scriptures or writings, are spirit and life. When Christ himself speaks to a soul, his words are spirit and life to that soul, for spirit and life are in his words, when he speaks them. But when another reads or speaks them without his spirit, they minister neither spirit nor life. For instance, Christ's calling to Lazarus when dead and buried, “Lazarus come forth;" his words were spirit and life to Lazarus. But let another read or speak the same words to a man dead and buried, and cry to him to come forth, they will not raise him to life. (From A Christian Progress).
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