Spring 2021 Bible Reading Plan, Week 14: John 11 - 'I Am the Resurrection and the Life'
This week's Scripture passage is John 11.
(Click here for a PDF of this week's study.)
In John 11, Jesus confronts what Paul calls the last enemy, death (1 Corinthians 15:26).
Jesus’ good friend Lazarus had been very sick. Jesus, who had been called to help him, arrives 'too late'. Lazarus had been dead for 4 days.
But when Jesus was told of Lazarus' sickness he waited 2 days before going to help, telling His disciples, “This sickness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” (John 11:4)
In John 9, Jesus had healed a man who was blind from birth and accepted his worship (John 9:1-7, 35-38).
In John 10, Jesus had clearly taught and claimed that He was God (John 10:28-30). The Jews had tried to stone Him for blasphemy ( John 10:33) but escaping, He had moved His ministry across the Jordan River (John 10:40-41).
In John 11:1-7, when news of Lazarus' sickness comes, He decides to go back to Judea.
The disciples, knowing His life is in imminent danger, urge Him not to go (John 11:8). But Jesus tells them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, I go now to awaken him” (John 11:11).
When they realize He is going back, Thomas says, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him”, referring to Jesus (John 11:16).
In verses 17-24, as He enters Bethany, Lazarus, Martha, and Mary's hometown, Martha comes out to greet Him and tells Him that if He had been there Lazarus would not have died. Jesus tells her “Your brother will rise again.” (John 11:23)
And then in verses 25-27, in one of the most amazing statements ever made by Jesus, He says to Martha,
'I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live. And everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?
And Martha said, 'Yes Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.'
In verses 28-37, Jesus greets Mary and in one of life's most tender of moments, sharing his friends' grief weeps over Lazarus' grave.
And then in verses 38-44, Jesus commands that the stone be rolled away from the tomb and prays to His Father, thanking Him for hearing His prayers. He then cries out with a loud voice, 'Lazarus come out!' and the man who had been dead for 4 days comes out, alive!!
((It has been said (hypothetically of course, not in scripture) that if Jesus had not said 'Lazarus' that all the dead would have been resurrected.))
In verses 45-55, as a result of this amazing miracle, many believe in Jesus and the Jewish leaders fear that the Romans will come and take away their place and their nation. The high priest Caiaphas states that one man should die for the people, instead of the whole nation perishing. Not knowing, he was prophesying that Jesus would die for the nation and for all of God's elect. From that day on they made plans to arrest Jesus and put Him to death.
He did not walk openly among them after this time and went to the region near the wilderness to a town called Ephraim.
Questions for Reflection and Discussion:
As we consider Jesus' power over death here in John 11, and ultimately displayed in His crucifixion and His own resurrection, meditate on Romans 6:1-14 and verse 23.
Romans 6:1-14 - Dead to Sin, Alive to God
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace...
23 the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.
- How does Jesus' power and victory over physical and spiritual death, and the truth of the Gospel in Romans 6 give us encouragement, power, and strength to live a victorious life today over sin?
- Is there any sinful habit, any addiction, any bondage from sin that can not be defeated by the resurrecting power of God thru Jesus Christ?
- Jesus, who said, 'I Am the Resurrection and the Life', called Lazarus back from the dead. Lazarus came out of the tomb alive! And Jesus said 'Unbind him and let him go!'
- Read and meditate on Romans 8:31-39. Our resurrected Lord is interceding for us!
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
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