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81: The Grave Mistake

May 14, 2009

Major Text: John 11:45-54

Outline:

  1. Accepted John 11:45
  2. Rejected John 11:46-50
  3. Plotting John 11:51-53
  4. Pursuing John 11:54

Context/Discussion/Comments:

Jesus is forced into the less inhabited areas such as Ephraim to save His life until it is time for Him to give it up. The miracle at Bethany divides the Jews into two camps, those who accept Him and those who reject Him. Those who reject Jesus think more highly of their status and position than the life and ministry of Jesus. They are of more value than life itself [a very similar attitude is expressed by those who support abortion rights]. They believe they are more important than Jesus Christ, the Son of God. They chose to unify the nation by breaking God’s Commandments instead of keeping God’s Commandments. Their intentions and actions are the exact opposite of God. They claim to be God’s people but they really belong to Satan.

Some Jews accepted Jesus but this lesson really focuses on those who reject Him. The Sanhedrin and High Priest stoop so low as to approve killing a man who is doing good [even if they won’t accept Him as God Incarnate] in order to maintain their status in life and power over the people. It’s all about them. They have no love and compassion for those they are called to serve. The Roman occupiers are closer to the Kingdom of God than are the Jewish leaders. The Jews, particularly the leaders, had all the signs and all the information yet they sold out their Messiah instead of welcoming Him and worshipping Him. Beware. Watch out. Evaluate you life and your attitudes so you don’t make the same mistake.

Think of the emotional roller coaster Lazarus was on. He was in the presence of God for four days. He, at the beckoned call of Jesus Christ, is back on earth alive. Then he learns that God has used his miracle of life to precipitate decisions which would kill his cherished friend and Lord in about one month. Lazarus must have asked himself “why?” many times. There is only one good explanation. Jesus used Lazarus’ death and resurrection to enable some to accept Jesus Christ for who He really is and join the Kingdom of God. Jesus had to die for our sin and demonstrate His power over the wages of sin, death, so that we who believe in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.

Lessons/Applications:

  1. Lazarus was used by God for His Divine Purpose. He will use us too. Let’s not stand in the way of God’s Divine Purpose, that others might accept Jesus as Lord and Savior and become members of His Kingdom.
  2. God brings out the best in those who accept His Son, Jesus. God allows Satan to bring out the worst in those who reject His Son, Jesus.
  3. Rejoice for the privilege of seeing God’s miraculous works. Remember, they are His works, not man’s [yours]. Be careful because we will worship the one who we believe is the source of these good works.
  4. We are to evaluate our attitudes, making sure none of them are clouding our acceptance of Jesus Christ. Jesus does not threaten your position, your power, your livelihood, your influence as long as we accept them as His gifts and not our possessions.
  5. Do not place a higher value on “saving face” than on saving your soul.
  6. Rejecting Jesus and His miracles is no different than killing Him.

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