The Results of the Miracle
We’ve been in John Chapter 11 for about 5 weeks now and we’ve needed every bit of it. It Has been so good for us to camp out on it for a while. I have plans to finish it today but we’ll see what the Spirit allows us to do.
We’re covering the greatest and most illustrious sign that Jesus performed and it essentially brings His public ministry to a close. The Jews—and all men–were often divided whenever Jesus did something, and this was no exception. Today the sermon is entitled, “The Results of the Miracle” and the Truth Taught is: Man is horrendously wicked and there comes a point when God will say, “enough” and refuse to call on men any longer.
We begin our text by reading that many believed. We’ve read this before.
Jn. 2:23; 7:31
God was fulfilling the purpose for which He had John write this book.
Many repented, trusted Him with their life, and received Life. All 4 Gospel writers record Jesus’s words about this….
We see Jesus in V. 44 telling the people to “unbind him and let him go.” It’s much more significant that He had just finished saying that same thing to death! He looks death head on and says, “unbind him and let him go” and one of the greatest enemies we have shudders and loosens its claws and surrenders Lazarus to Life!
But Jesus didn’t create this miracle just for Lazarus; or just for his sisters. He did it for all those people there as a preview of what would happen to Him in another week and a half. He did it for everyone since then. He did it for us to let us know that one day He would say to death ON OUR BEHALF, “unbind him; unbind her; and let them go!”
I said earlier that all men are divided when Jesus does something, and in v. 46, we see the other side of that division. The sniveling, rebellious mob of brownnosers headed right for the Pharisees (I don’t even know if “sniveling” is a word, but it fits them). They were gossips. Gossips don’t just tell lies about others. They’re also willing to tell the truth about others if they can do it in such a way that brings harm to them. They’re small scale Judases; Judas wannabees. They cater to the wants of those in power to better themselves. They are not going to join in on what’s right, even if they agree with it, because of their fear of the consequences. The bottom line is that they love comfort; they love public tranquility as John Calvin calls it; and they want to get rid of all that interferes with it. It gets worse from here.
Remember the Pharisees were the priests that were supposed to provide spiritual teaching and training. They, along with the chief priests, called the Sanhedrin into session. The Sanhedrin was mostly made up of lawyers, called the Sadducees. It’s important to note that the Pharisees and Sadducees didn’t like each other, they had nothing in common, yet they found it easy to come together because of their consuming hatred of Jesus. The Sanhedrin was the most powerful judicial body in Israel. They carried out the executive, judicial, and legislative powers all in one; a lot like a couple of the presidents we’ve had.
Some Bibles translate this question as “What are we to do?”, but a more accurate rendering is, “WHAT ARE WE DOING? It’s similar to saying, “We’re doing nothing! We can’t sit here and let this keep going on.”
Now, it’s at this point that we would probably just burst and wonder how this could happen. How could Jesus do this kind of miracle and yet people still resist? It just doesn’t make sense. How could they not give in? Didn’t Jesus tell Martha that they would see God’s Glory?
Well, first, not everyone who sees His Glory gives into it. Secondly, Jesus said people would see God’s Glory “IF YOU BELIEVED!” Lastly, this is where we find definitive proof of man’s amazing wickedness. Let us not be too shocked at this because “and such were some of you.” The only way we believed is because God opened our capacity to believe it! This is proof that it is God’s choice to save some and His choice not to save others. It is the only explanation! They were a part of the same event, heard the same things, saw the same things, but went two different directions. One commentator said that the same fire which melts wax hardens clay.
Was Jesus teaching a parable or giving prophecy? It’s interesting that the poor man was named Lazarus. Was that story about this event!!?? They really weren’t willing to believe in Him “even though He raised someone from the dead.”
We also notice that these leaders BELIEVED that what Jesus did was real. “This man performs MANY signs,” they said. It’s quite ironic that 20 centuries later, so many dispute these miracles and yet Jesus’s enemies NEVER even attempted to deny them. Their contempt of Him was because they would their place, meaning their money, their power and control. They would lose their nation, meaning their possession! Often you can tell when a leader loves his position because of the benefits and not because of the love and betterment of those he is serving. That’s why God spends so much time chastising and instructing the leaders of the church on what to do and what not to do. In Matt. 5:8 Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” That’s why these men would not see Him.
They were afraid that unless they stopped Jesus, the Romans would come in and take everything away. They would lose EVERYTHING at the hands of the Romans. That’s funny, because they went headlong into doing what they wanted to do–eliminate Jesus—and what happened? In just a short time, the Romans came in, destroyed the temple, ransacked Jerusalem, killed, maimed, and enslaved the people. Where have we seen this before? The Israelites in the wilderness hated the thought that God would let them die in the wilderness, and allow their wives and children to become prey, and so they were going to choose a leader to take them back to Egypt. So God, in His anger, allowed the people to die by the sword and their corpses to rot in the wilderness, while He took their children on into the Promised land. Brothers and sisters, we will always suffer the pains in disobedience that we imagine we’d suffer if we obeyed.
Next, we see Caiaphas come into view. We get a picture here of him being in a corner of the room, out of sight, listening to all of this go on. Then he begins to speak, and the spot light is turned towards him, and instantly we see that he’s a few rungs higher than anyone else there, both in evil and control. It reminds me of how Satan was in the garden, holding back until the right moment; the moment when he could spring into action and dictate what would happen next. It’s as if Caiaphas was disgusted by the weakness and ignorance of the others. They were involved in child’s play but he would let them know the right course of action to take. For him, this could only end in Jesus’s death if they wanted to hold on to what they had enjoyed for so long. We see a twist here, though.
John places this parenthetical statement here–in the center of all the action. I believe the Spirit has John place it here to show that God is still the One in charge; He’s the One in authority here. In the middle of all the wickedness that man could muster; in the middle of man taking over and dictating what was going to happen; God takes their actions; their very own words; and uses it to reveal His plan and His Glory. Caiaphas wanted Jesus dead so they could keep a hold on their power but his words were used by God for a prophecy of different proportions. This has one meaning for those who were against Jesus. It has a completely different meaning for those who belong to Him.
They went from purification to premeditated murder!! This is the height of irony and corruption; that those who would be involved in unfiltered wickedness would even think of purifying themselves; that they would follow a command from the very God they were trying to kill.
III. The Final Rejection BY God-V. 54
Notice I said the final rejection BY God. So many have rejected; rejected; rejected. They’ve spent a long time; maybe their whole life; rejecting the advances of a loving savior; a merciful Father. One day, He will say “enough” and He will do the rejecting. They had spent their last chance at forgiveness. He would no longer seek and save. He spent the remaining time communing with His Father and loving and teaching His true disciples.
Paul said not all descendants of Abraham are his. Not all our descendants are His—only those who believe and repent and live like Christ. The Glory of God isn’t received by all men the same way. Some move toward the light, some scatter because they hate the light.
If Jn. 20:30-31 is the theme of this book for those who believe, Jn. 1:9-11 is the theme of this book for those who don’t. What is the result of this miracle in your life? Have you moved toward the light or have you scattered?
For those who have scattered, you are in jeopardy of being just like these Pharisees and unbelieving Jews. You know deep down who He is and what He’s done. You’ve seen what He’s done in the lives of those around you. Will He soon decide to walk among you no longer?
For those who believe, are you continuing to move towards the light. Are you continuing to believe more? Are you experiencing more life? Is Jesus pleased to continue to walk among you; to chase after you?