The Glory Has Departed

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I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Friday, July 21, 2017

John 11 in English

By the twelfth century, iconography for Raising of Lazarus has changed as seen in the icon (image below) from St. Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai. Now a throng of people fill the space as well. Among the crowd Martha and Mary stand or kneel in prayer while individuals cover their noses disgusted by Lazarus’ pungent death smell. These icons much like the earlier mosaics encourage the viewer to study the image and experience the story as a participant in the crowd. The gold background represents heavenly space and time eternal.

John 11 Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.
(It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)
Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.

The Apostle John gives us a unique portrait of one set of relationships Jesus had. He was very close to Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. This miracle has several major messages.
  • This is the last straw for the Jewish opponents, who must stop Jesus, who is clearly what He claims to be - the Son of God and Savior.
  • Those who believe in Jesus see and comprehend His divinity, but that exousia enrages and frightens the opponents.
  • Lazarus is the forerunner of the death and resurrection of Christ, and visible proof of Jesus' power. So, they must kill Lazarus too.
  • The clamor and antagonism of Palm Sunday comes from the witnesses following Jesus and Lazarus from Bethany to Jerusalem, the crowds knowing of this miracle coming out to meet the throng from Bethany, everyone encircling the Messiah.

When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.

The timetable is set. This miracle will convert many people and cause an outbreak of Messianic rejoicing. That celebration seals Jesus' fate on Good Friday.
Now Jesus loved (agape) Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.
When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.
Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again.

This behavior seems contradictory. Jesus loved all three siblings, so this was far more than friendship. Yet he deliberately delayed His trip to this family. After the delay, He announced His trip to Judea.

His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?
Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.
10 But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.
The tension is quite obvious here, only halfway through the Gospel. The Fourth Gospel is alert to the time sequence of events and shows us this began with cleansing the Temple, John 2. So the disciples are perplexed that He would go where the opponents were ready to kill Him. Since He was avoiding such open conflicts before, going into them was certainly a sudden change. Jesus' comment about this is not entirely clear at the moment, but He is acting in obedience to the divine plan. 

11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. origin of cemetery from the word for sleep
12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well (literally, he is healed - or saved).
13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.
14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
This is leading to demonstrations that will show His power over life and death. Therefore, from God's perspective, given the immortality of the soul, death is but a sleep.
The religious frauds like to claim raising the dead for themselves. I have seen this in print and on TV, and they say it with great conviction.

15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.
16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.

Verse 15 explains the contradictory nature of this miracle. If Jesus had healed Lazarus, His dear friend, that would have been another miracle. This is the greatest raising of the dead - out of three. This miracle foreshadowed Jesus rising from the cave tomb, even the wrappings of death being laid aside.
The Objective Justification numbskulls are completely wrong. The resurrection is not for absolving the entire world, but to inspire faith in the Son of God.

17 Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.
18 Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off:
19 And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.
20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.
The delay meant that Lazarus was dead beyond all doubt, so the swoon theory of resurrection could not be applied. That swoon theory - for Jesus - is that He only appeared to be dead. That may strike everyone as nonsense, but many a career in theology has been based on nonsense, blasphemy, and avarice - just ask the Lutheran seminary faculties today.

21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.
23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
25 Jesus said unto her, I AM the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

This is the turning point in the miracle, because the meaning is so clear. Verse 22 is pleonastic, using God twice when once would do. "Ask of God, God will give." That is similar to a catechism explanation about prayer, so her faith inspires our faith. As the Word of God, this phrase moves us to pray for whatever concern we have, because there are no limits to what God can do.
This also shows the importance of the I AM construction, echoing the Angel of the LORD, literally the Son of God, identifying Himself as I AM to Moses in Exodus 3. Even more importantly, Jesus said to the opponents in John 8, "Before Abraham was, I AM."
The miracle, like the others, is based upon faith, and prompts faith in God. How anyone can use the Fourth Gospel to sell UnFaith is beyond me, but the entire Preus franchise does that.

28 And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee.
29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him.
30 Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him.
31 The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there.

The crowd is the opposite of the sisters. They go to see Jesus. Mary jumped up, rose quickly. The crowd thinks in terms of crying at the tomb. The sisters go to see Jesus. The whisper of one sister to another is a telling detail, which makes us think we are watching a video. We can see it happening in our minds.

32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.
The true picture of grief and hope is before us. The sisters cannot help being upset with the Son of God. Others challenged His power or told Him to keep performing miracles to amuse and entertain them. The sisters know what He might have done and know He did not rush to come to the aid of Lazarus, whose name means "whom God helps."
Jesus Himself was almost overcome with grief. The words are hard to translate. Together they make more sense - a grief so great that He shook.

34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!
37 And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?
The Bible, like the Confessions teach us the truth and they also portray falsehood and false teachers. This is also a picture of Christian grief. Believers know that Christians receive forgiveness and eternal salvation through faith in the Savior. But they still grieve.  Jesus - as the Truth - still wept for his friend.
The foolish crowd, always demand a miracle, accused Jesus -using His astonishing miracle of giving the blind man sight (John 9). Luther saw this truth - whatever is God-pleasing must be persecuted.

38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. 
Like Jesus' future grave
39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.
40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?
41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
45 Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.

We can hardly miss how closely faith and resurrection are connected. Martha, who confessed a profound faith in God beforehand, could not imagine this miracle from the Son of God. Do not open the tomb, because his corpse has already decomposed and is putrid. Thus God answers before we start to ask, and gives us more than we can think or imagine (Isaiah, Ephesians)

46 But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.
47 Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.
48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.
49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all,
50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.
51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;
52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.
53 Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.
54 Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples.
55 And the Jews' passover was nigh at hand: and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves.
56 Then sought they for Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the temple, What think ye, that he will not come to the feast?
57 Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him.

Thus the road to Calvary began with raising a rich man who had a cave for a tomb. The raising of this rich and influential man meant all the land would rush to believe in Jesus and come to Him.
Unbelievers are always afraid and act on their fears. They must silence Him by killing Him - and later we see - plan to kill the evidence, Lazarus.
The religious opponents of Jesus today are running the synods. They are afraid of losing their loot, their status as the great and wise. They are always alert about preserving their benefits, always blind to the Gospel.