Jesus Wept
Tim Temple

Introduction

Because we are so familiar with the miracles that Jesus did, it is easy to overlook some of the important features and some of the important lessons that can be learned from the miracles. It is good from time to time in the course of our study, when we come to a passage where the miracles are discussed and described again, to be able to think about them carefully. What we often overlook about the fact of the life of Christ on earth is the personal involvement that He felt with the people around Him. It is an amazing thing that the God of the universe stepped out of Heaven and came into history and lived among men. That is a truly amazing thing.

John, chapter 11, is one of the places that shows more clearly than anywhere else the complete humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ—the emotion that He felt, the involvement that He had while He was with the earth dwellers. This is an important chapter from that standpoint and also because it contains probably the greatest of the miracles of Jesus—the raising of Lazarus from the dead.

We have divided the chapter into four parts. In verses 1-3, Jesus gets the report of the illness of Lazarus. Then in verses 4-16, we see His reaction to the illness, which was to do nothing, to wait deliberately until it was too late to do anything about it. In verses 17-44, we see the rebuke of the illness, and in verses 46-52, we see the cause of the illness.

In our last study, we looked at the first two points in the outline, and we began looking at the third point of the outline. We were looking at the rebuke of the illness, in verses 17-44, when our time ran out. We looked at the finality of the situation, in verses 17-19. There John gives us some indications of the fact that there was no question that Lazarus was dead. Then we talked about the faultfinding of the sisters, in verses 20-32. Maybe faultfinding is too strenuous a word to use there except that both of the sisters, independently of each other, said, “Lord, if You had been here, our brother would not have died.” So there was that real sense in which they were finding fault with Jesus, but also there is a sense in which it was honoring the Lord that they had that much faith in Him.

John includes that faultfinding of the sisters, I think, primarily as another means of showing us the finality of the situation. There was no question that Lazarus was dead, evidenced by the fact that his sisters were so upset about that not having to have taken place. Both of those things describe for us the finality of the situation. It was obvious that Lazarus really was dead so that there could be no question about any kind of trickery or anything like that.

That brings us now to verse 33, and there we begin talking about the friendship of the Savior. Here is the part that is really touching and moving, I think, about this whole subject of Jesus' compassion and love for this family. Verses 33-38 talk about the compassion that Jesus had for this family, and here is the aspect of the humanness of Jesus. Jesus had personal friends on earth just like other humans do. Most human beings have friends. There are some who don't have friends for various reasons. There are some who prefer to be alone and don't make many friends, but the normal condition of the human race is that we have friends, whether we have a lot or whether we have a few. We know from the New Testament who a number of His friends were, but this was a family that was very close to the Lord Jesus.

We mentioned in our last lesson, and I will remind you again of the fact that that illustrates for us that even people who are very close to Jesus Christ, now that He is back in Heaven, can have very serious problems in their lives. Here was this tragic illness that took the life of this man who was a close friend of Jesus, and that is an interesting thing to notice.

He demonstrated His friendship for this family. He demonstrated it in an odd sort of way. He waited until it was too late to save Lazarus from the illness, but He demonstrated His friendship by first seeking out the sisters individually when He did get there. In verse 20, he went and talked to Martha personally. Then in verse 30, He went and talked to Mary. In both cases, they said the same thing to Him: “If you had been here, our brother would not have died.” But He cared enough about them that He sought them out individually and talked to them.

An Example of Jesus' Compassion

As we come to verses 33-35, we have another example of His compassion. Look at verse 33:

John 11

33When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.
34And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.
35Jesus wept.

Verse 35 is the shortest verse in the Bible, as you might guess. In the context of what we are talking about, notice Jesus' concern and love and care for this family. He felt so deeply about them that He wept. In verse 33, it says that that was because He saw his friend Martha weeping. You know, there is a lesson in that for us. The Scripture says that we should rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. We are to bear one another's burdens. That is not something that we can do just automatically, but I think that the clear teaching of Scripture is that we should allow ourselves to become close enough to people that we rejoice when they rejoice and weep when they weep, and here is Jesus doing that very thing. He was so moved by this situation that He wept when He saw his friends weeping.

Verse 37 shows that the bystanders had the same reaction that the sisters had had. Notice verse 37:

John 11

37And 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 focus of the people standing around was that Jesus didn't care much about this family; otherwise, He could have prevented this situation. The reason that I skipped ahead is that Jesus' reaction, not only to Mary's and Martha's weeping, but to these people saying these things is in verses 33 and 38. Notice verse 33 again:

John 11

33When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, [this is what I want you to notice] he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.

Then comes verse 37, where these people were saying, “What is He crying about? He could have done something about it, and He didn't.” In verse 38, we read:

John 11

38Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.

The words groaned , in verse 33, and groaning , in verse 38, are both translations of one Greek word. It is a word that is translated in an interesting way in other places in the New Testament. It is translated in one place with the phrase, snort with anger , and it is translated in another place, to straightly charge someone . It is also translated, to murmur , in a couple of places. In looking at the verse in English, we wouldn't know those things about this word, but it gives us another level of the intensity of Jesus' feelings to realize that this is the implication of the Greek word that is used here.

In this verse, I believe it means that Jesus was not only moved by the sadness of His human friends in His humanity, but also as God, He groaned in Himself. He was moved to anger, in fact, by the sin that had caused death to come into the human race in the first place, the fact that illness is a part of the curse on the fallen race. I believe that Jesus was moved not only with sorrow for these friends, but with anger and sorrow about sin which leads to death. He was sorry about the whole condition of the human race.

You know, that is a very significant thing for us to understand. The common human conception of God is that He looks over the battlements of Heaven and He sees things going on. He gets angry at people, and He has a negative attitude about people and the sinful things they are doing. But here Jesus was not angry at these people, He was angry for these people. He was angry because death had had to enter into things. If Adam and Eve had never sinned, they would have never died. It is anybody's guess about how many people would be on the earth by now. It is useless speculation to think about that, but they would have lived and continued to reproduce others who would continue to live. If sin had not come, death would not have come. Jesus said to Adam and Eve, “In the day that you eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you will begin to die.” They did die spiritually that day, and they began to die physically. Jesus was sad about that.

God the Father and Son and Holy Spirit are sad that sin has entered into the human race that They created, and we should share that sorrow. We should have compassion on sinners. We should have compassion on sin. That is a convicting thing because our biggest tendency is to hate the sinner and to some degree to hate the sin. We preachers and Bible teachers are fond of saying, “We should love the sinner and hate the sin.” What we really need is to not hate either one, but to be sorry for those who are caught up in sin, to have compassion on them, not to excuse their sin, not to downplay sin.

God didn't excuse sin nor downplay sin; God poured out His judgment on sin at the Cross. When Jesus died on the Cross, God was pouring out His full wrath and fury on sin. He poured it out on Jesus Christ so that He would not have to pour it out on you and me.

There is a prophecy about that a little farther down in the chapter that we are going to see before we are through with this study. Jesus had the perfect attitude about sin. He had sorrow about sin. If you have a friend or loved one who is caught up in sin, it is easy to become angry about that. It is easy to let hatred enter in, but God's attitude is that we should be sorrowful about that, and we should do all that we can to help that person who is in sin. That is always the instructions of the Scripture. Matthew, chapter 18, tells us that if someone sins against us, we are to go to him and try to straighten that out. There is a complete list of steps of how to go about that. God's approach to sin is always to deal with it and to deal compassionately with it and to deal lovingly with it, because it is all in the context of what a sadness it is that sin and death have entered the human race.

Jesus' Friendship Demonstrated

He wept; He groaned because of the sorrow that sin and death had brought into the lives of His friends and the misunderstanding of things that it had brought into even the lives of His critics. His friendship was demonstrated in His compassion—not only in His compassion, but in His command, in verses 39-40. In the first part of verse 39, He gives an order:

John 11

39Jesus said, Take ye away the stone.

There is His order, but as you might expect from a human standpoint, Martha gives the objection that we find in the latter part of verse 39:

John 11

39Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.

I think that that is one of the great understatements of the Bible. I suppose there would be a great stench. He had been dead four days. This was in the days before embalming, etc. This was a perfectly human reaction. Martha was not correcting the Lord Jesus. We have already seen that Martha was a woman who spoke her mind very plainly. She didn't hesitate. Even if she did believe Jesus was the Son of God, she didn't hesitate to tell Him what she thought. It was a very human reaction. Verse 27 says that she believed that Jesus was the Messiah, but even at that, she questioned the wisdom of what He was suggesting.

That is not the major point of that verse, but something to learn from that is that when we talk to the Lord in prayer, there is nothing wrong with telling God what we think about something He is asking us to do, but not rebelliously. You see, Martha didn't say this in rebellion. She didn't say this in refusal, but think how at ease Martha felt with Jesus to be able to say in so many words, “Are you sure that that is what You want us to do?”

Many times God leads us to do something or we think that He is leading us to do something or He brings something into our lives and we cannot imagine why He is doing that. We wonder if He really is aware of what is happening to us, but we don't want Him to know we feel that way. What would He think of us if He knew that we were objecting to what He is doing? There is nothing wrong with being like Martha in saying, “Lord, do You see the problem with this? Don't You understand what this is going to cause if You allow this thing to go on in my life?” The comfort is in the freedom to just be able to say that, to know the Lord well enough and to be comfortable enough in His love to be able to say that without any fear of retribution. That is how comfortable Martha was with Jesus. Why? Because she knew Jesus loved her.

John writes that perfect love casts out fear. You know, even on the fallen human level, that is true. If we love someone and we feel pretty confident that they love us, we are not afraid of what they are going to do to us or what they are going to ask us to do for them. There is no fear where there is love even if they ask us to do something difficult, even if they ask us to do something that we might think was unwise. We might question it, but we are not afraid of it. The key to this whole situation is this relationship of love between Mary and Martha and Jesus. It is a wonderful thing to know about, and it is a wonderful thing to practice in our own lives.

Remember, too, that Martha had had a great conversation with the Lord Jesus just a few minutes before this. We talked about it in our last study. Jesus had said, “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” Jesus was not saying, “ I will bring about the resurrection and the life.” He said, “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” To know Jesus Christ is to have eternal life. He is the giver of eternal life, but He is eternal life, so Martha didn't have anything to worry about when He gave instructions to do something that really made no sense humanly—to open up a grave where a dead body had been for four days. What would that accomplish? It would accomplish at most just nausea and stench and all of that.

Jesus' Objective is the Glory of God

Jesus, in verse 40, reminds her of the objective of this whole thing. He gave the order. She objected to it, but in verse 40, He reminds her of the objective of this whole thing:

John 11

40Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?

Here is Jesus' own statement of the purpose of all of His miracles. The purpose of all of Jesus' miracles was the glory of God. Everything that He did, the mundane things as well as the miracles, was done for the glory of God. Let me remind you that that is still His modus operandi. Everything that He brings into our lives, even the death of a loved one that we feel He could have spared, is done for the glory of God, just as much as it was with Lazarus. What does it matter if in the process of bringing about the glory of God Jesus asks us to do something that doesn't make much sense?

If we can grasp the fact that God's purpose in our lives is to bring glory to God, then what does it matter if He takes a brilliant young person with a tremendous education—maybe a degree in medicine—and puts in the heart of that young person to go to darkest Africa as a medical missionary? Many people, maybe medical school professors, ask what sense that makes. What a waste of talent, education and ability! But when God leads in that way, He does it for the glory of God. Those highly educated, gifted, talented young men and women who are in those kinds of situations, who could be extremely successful materially in this part of the world, giving up all of that opportunity, going somewhere else simply because they believe that is what God is leading them to do, understand this principle that everything that God asks us and tells us to do is for the glory of God.

That is a big illustration of things that can come into our lives every day on a much more mundane level. If we ask the Lord to do something—we pray about the salvation of a friend; we pray about a business opportunity; we pray about our grades in school or whatever—and God doesn't do it the way that we ask Him to do it, we need to always remember that this is for the glory of God.

An underlying presumption in all of this is that we are walking in fellowship with the Lord and that our lives are committed to bringing glory to Him in everything that we do. That is a given. You won't be able to even begin to think this way if you are making your own choices about your life, if you are guiding your life and not letting the Lord guide it. This was Jesus' objective in everything that He did—to bring about the glory of God and to let people see the glory of God.

I am sure you have heard me say this before, but it always interests me that Jesus could have accomplished this demonstration of the glory of God many other ways. The miracles that He did were always for the demonstration of who He was and what He came to do. The purpose of the miracles was to display the glory of God, and He could have done that by having the sun flash on and off or making the stars dance around in the sky or any number of things that would have been very impressive; but the amazing thing is and the comforting thing is that in every single case in the three years or so of His earthly ministry, He chose something that helped people. He could have accomplished His purpose without involving people at all; but in every case, He chose to do something to help people, so He is a God of great love and compassion.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Jesus did not come only to heal the sick and raise the dead. He came to do that, but His bigger purpose was to show and demonstrate the glory of God and to accomplish God's purpose. As was pointed out before, if Jesus came merely to heal the sick, He was a failure, because there were many people who remained sick all the time that Jesus was on earth and were sick when He went back to Heaven. If He came to do those kinds of things and that was His purpose in coming, He didn't accomplish His purpose. But that wasn't His purpose. His purpose was to demonstrate the glory of God.

God's Purpose In Our Lives is to Glorify Him

As we go about seeking to accomplish God's glory in our lives and in our activities, He may not let us accomplish some of the things that we think would bring great glory to God. I want to be careful how I say this because it could be easily misunderstood: We need to be very careful that we understand what God's purpose is in our lives. Many Christians have the idea that God's purpose for our lives is to bring people to Jesus Christ. That is not God's purpose for your life. That is certainly His commission to us. It is His charge to us. It is an extremely important part of what He wants us to do in our lives, but His bigger purpose is to glorify Himself in our lives.

One of the greatest ways that is done is by people coming to know Jesus Christ, but there are many other ways that it is done also. Don't be discouraged if you witness to that person—perhaps you witness to him repeatedly—and he doesn't accept Christ. If you have done what God has given you the opportunity to do, you can relax about the results; you can be assured that God is getting glory through your life without that person's being saved, without that prayer being answered the way that you wanted it to be answered. Our responsibility is to stay obedient to Him, to do everything that we know that He has told us to do, to be certain that we are constantly, step-by-step obedient to Him and let Him take care of the results. Let the chips fall where they may under His direction.

Jesus reminds her that even though He is not doing things the way she thought He ought to do them, she could rest assured she was going to see the glory of God. This miracle that Jesus is about to do at this point in the chapter is one of the most famous of all that He did, but it is interesting that the Holy Spirit first emphasizes the faith of the Son of God in describing it. That is what we want to think about next.

The Faith of Jesus

In verses 41-43, we see the faith of the Son of God specifically spelled out, and it is easy, as we talk about this miracle, to overlook this little prelude to the miracle. Look at verse 41:

John 11

41Then 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.
42And 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.
43And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.

Verses 41-42 emphasize that Jesus, in His humanity, was operating on faith. He thanked the Father that He even heard Him. He said, “ I know and You know that You heard Me, but these people need to know.” You see, Jesus wanted the people standing around to know that this was the work of God. Some of them didn't yet believe that He was God, and He wanted it to be clearly understood that this was a human being asking God in faith to do something, and that is always the way prayer is. It is a matter of humans approaching God in faith. It was only after He had clarified that that He gave this famous command to Lazarus: “Lazarus, come forth.”

I have heard a number of preachers down through the years point out, and it is important to be reminded of, that if He had not said, “Lazarus, come forth,” all the graves in the world would have opened up because that is the authority that He had, and that is why He specified Lazarus.

Here was Lazarus, his spirit already in Heaven with the Lord, and I wonder how he reacted to that. He was already there in Heaven, if we understand the Scripture correctly. Don't you imagine that He said, “Oh, no. He is calling me back.” Since he was in Heaven, he understood everything perfectly, and he didn't react that way. Poor Lazarus got to be in Heaven for four days, then he had to go back.

The Failure of Death

Out of that came what I refer to as the failure of death . Look at verse 44:

John 11

44And he that was dead [notice how specific that is] 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.
45Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.

There is the purpose of the miracle. The purpose of the miracle wasn't to bring Lazarus back to life. The purpose of the miracle was for people to believe in Jesus Christ.

Let me point out a couple of other things about this. I Corinthians, chapter 15, verse 27, speaks of death as an enemy. In fact, it is interesting that that verse says, “the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” From a human standpoint, death is an enemy for those left behind. We think about how much we love that one who is facing death, and when someone comes to the point of death and goes through death when we are not expecting it, when people die suddenly in accidents, etc., we think of death as an enemy. Death has taken that person from us, and even as Christians, when we understand the Word of God that they are absent from the body, present with the Lord, we also recognize that they are absent from us, present with the Lord.

We rejoice on the one hand that we sorrow not as others who have no hope, but on the other hand, we need to clearly recognize that we do sorrow. There is nothing wrong with that. Death is an enemy, not for the ones who die, but for those who are left behind. Jesus defeated that enemy. That enemy failed in this case, and Jesus was demonstrating that He has power, if need be, even over that enemy.

We have every right to ask God to spare the life of someone who is facing death when all the human indicators are that death is approaching, but we must always leave that in God's hands, as we have been talking about earlier. God may take that one, even though to us it seems so unwise and to us it seems so unhappy, but we have every right to ask God to defeat that enemy for us and to keep that person here for our sake, because death is an enemy.

Notice the contrast in verse 44. I think this is not the major purpose of the passage, but it is a very interesting thing that we see other places in Scripture. Jesus called Lazarus forth from the grave, and the amazing miracle is that he who had been dead came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes and his face wrapped with a cloth. Now look at the last line of verse 44:

John 11

44…Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

Here was God in the person of Jesus Christ, Who had power over death. He spoke the man's name and the man came out still wrapped in the cloth in which they buried people in those days. God then turned to the people standing around and said, “You take the grave clothes off him.” Here is that mysterious relationship between God and man. Just recently I read a quotation that at least registered with me for the first time if I had heard it before, and that statement was, “Man cannot do the work of God, and God will not do the work of man.” You see, there is no way that any of those people could have gotten Lazarus out of the grave or had him come walking out under his own power, but any one of them could take the grave clothes off him.

We need wisdom to know what we must have God do for us and what we need to do for ourselves. I think there is a lot of confusion in the Christian life over that very issue. We get confused going and coming on that deal. In some cases, we think we have to do what only God can do, and sometimes we think that there is no point in asking God to do it. Other times, we think that He can do everything, and we can sit back and do nothing. This is a principle all across our dealings with God. There are those times when we have to relax and do nothing and let God do what only He can do, but there are also those times when we need to work as hard as we can because God is not going to do the work of man.

There are many other illustrations of this in the Scripture, but one that comes to my mind quickly is when Peter was in prison in the early chapters of the book of Acts and God sent His angel to deliver Peter. The angel came and the gates opened in front of them. The angel came in and the chains fell off Peter, then the angel said, “Put on your clothes and let's get out of here.” If God could open the gates and remove the chains, why couldn't God put the shoes on? If Jesus could call Lazarus out of the tomb, why couldn't Jesus have taken the grave clothes off? It is because God gives us the privilege and the honor of working along side of Him to accomplish His purposes.

God could give the Gospel that way. He could cause the clouds to preach an evangelistic message every day. He could get the Gospel out in many ways, but He has chosen to get it out through human beings. He gives us the privilege of cooperating with Him. Do you suppose that any of the people who took those grave clothes off Lazarus that day went around bragging about it? “What a great work I did. I took the clothes off Lazarus.” Isn't that ridiculous? You know, it is just as ridiculous for us to go around bragging about what we have done for God, because anything God allows us to do is just purely on that surface human level. He leaves those things up to us, but He is the One Who does the work and He does the impossible. He just allows us to have a part in it to the extent to which we are humanly able to do that. The result in that cooperation, now just as much as then, is what we see in verse 45—that many believed on Jesus.

Finally, in verses 46-52, we see the reasoning because of the illness. The first reasoning was concerning powerlessness in verses 46-48. Any obvious, visible work of God divides people into two camps. There are those who believe like the ones we saw in verse 45, but we need to be prepared for the fact that there are also those who don't believe. That is what we see in verses 46-48. There were some who believed, but there were others who saw the very same work of God and it only hardened their hearts in their unbelief; so don't be discouraged if you are doing everything that God gives you the opportunity to do and some don't believe and some don't see the glory of God even if it is not in the area of belief. If some don't accept Christ, if some don't respond to your teaching or your testimony about something else, your responsibility is to do what God gives you to do and don't worry about the response. People saw the exact same event and some of them believed—verse 45—and some of them were just hardened in their unbelief.

Their Reasoning Concerned Powerlessness

Look at verse 46:

John 11

46But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.
47Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.
48If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: [notice this] and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.

Why were these Jewish leaders so opposed to everything that Jesus did? Here it is right here: “The Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” That is amazing, isn't it? Here were people who were in the very presence of God Himself, and they were worried about their place and their power. That is another part of the human condition that any of us could be guilty of. It is easy for us to talk about how our Senators and our Congressmen are afflicted with this very same disease. Do you know why they are against term limits? People would come and take away both their place and their power. Who would want term limits on a job like that? It is part of the human condition to be concerned about what we have, and if we let God have His way, we may have to give up some of our power and some of our privileges and some of our possessions.

If we could only come to understand that God's glory and God's accomplishment in our world is so much more important than any of those things that we have. But that is what they were worried about—the loss of privilege. Jude, verse 16, tells us that this is always a part of the motive of false teachers.

Their Reasoning Also Concerned Prophecy

The first part of the reasoning was concerning powerlessness, but in verses 49-52, we see that their reasoning also was concerning prophecy. Look at verse 49:

John 11

49And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all,
50Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.
51And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;
52And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.

You see, Caiaphas was speaking in terms of the immediate situation, and even from a human standpoint, what he said made sense. “If we can see to it that these Romans put this one guy to death, then they won't come in here and kill us all.” It makes sense, doesn't it, if you can set it up where only one person has to die and the whole nation can be free? That's great from a human standpoint, but verses 51-52 point out that it was actually a prophecy from God.

It is interesting that of all the people who could have had the floor that day, God did choose to let it come through the mouth of the high priest. That was an office that God had established. He didn't give this gift of prophecy to just anybody, but on the other hand, it is also interesting that Caiaphas had no idea of the prophetic nature of what he was saying. But, you know, that is exactly what Jesus did, isn't it? That is exactly what He did. One man died for the whole nation. Verse 52 says:

John 11

52And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.

That one man, Jesus, died for that nation. He kept the Romans from coming in and wiping out what was left of the Jewish nation, but He also died for people in Abilene, Texas, and Switzerland and any other place that you can name. One Man died for all the nations of the world. What a beautiful description of the death of Christ. This is a great demonstration of what Psalm 76, verse 10, says—that God is able to make the wrath of men to praise Him. Who could have had greater wrath against God than this group of little Jewish power brokers? They had wrath against what they thought God was about to allow to happen, and they were not going to have it happen. God took that wrath of Caiaphas and turned it right around to praise Him and to give a beautiful prophecy of what Jesus was going to accomplish.

This whole incident is a demonstration of the difference between human viewpoint and divine viewpoint. It is a very practical lesson, I think, not just about resurrection, not just about victory over death, but the story teaches us about the difference between our viewpoint about His timing. Jesus waited until it was too late from the human standpoint, but from the divine standpoint, that was the perfect timing. It is a good illustration of the difference between divine viewpoint and human viewpoint about the finality of death.

It was a positive, proven fact that Lazarus was dead, but that didn't matter to God. God triumphed over death. It is even a beautiful illustration of the difference between human viewpoint and divine viewpoint about the deity of Christ. Was Jesus just a human being who became a scapegoat to keep the Romans from wiping out the whole Jewish nation or was He the Son of God Who took the wrath of God—not just the wrath of the Roman nation, but the wrath of God poured out on Him, allowing us to go free?

Conclusion

This should teach us always to look for the divine viewpoint of any situation that we face, whether it is the illness of a brother or whatever else it may be. Always remember there is a difference between the human viewpoint and the divine viewpoint. Ask God to show you the divine viewpoint in those confusing and surprising and questionable things that we feel He is doing in our lives as He does from time to time.


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