Now that Jesus has had some “fame”, He is about to gain much more fame, which means that the Sanhedrin is watching Him closely. Whenever one becomes a celebrity, many eyes are on them — some good & some bad. Don’t be mistaken, Jesus may have had fame, but His primary concern was still compassion for His People.
We are reading in John 11 and Luke 17:11-18:14, as Jesus journeys from Perea to Bethany and then to Ephraim. Bethany was near Jerusalem and Ephraim was near Judea. Jesus was apparently at a distance of two or three days’ journey from Bethany (verse 6, 17). He was probably in Perea. The visit to Bethany, a suburb of Jerusalem, may be that to which Luke pointed in 13:22. It was here that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. This was a long travel for Jesus; however, He needed to evade the authorities of the Sanhedrin to avoid being taken in too soon, as the time had not drawn near just yet for His Redemptive Work.
Jesus Raises Lazarus from the Dead
Jesus was still in the region around Jerusalem, when He heard about His friend, Lazarus, had been seriously ill. Lazarus lived in Bethany (with Mary and Martha). Jesus knew that Lazarus was dead, so He did not hurry over there. He planned to raise Lazarus to life, to give evidence of His Divinity.
Jesus went out after two days for Bethany, to which, the Disciples tried to stop Him in fear that the Jews of that area would try to kill Him. However, Jesus assured them the time was not ready yet.
He travels over safely walking normally; however, as He walked in God’s Light, the powers of darkness could not harm Him. His raising of Lazarus would give people proof of His Power over death and strengthen the Disciples’ faith. He gave the Disciples the courage to go with Him, even though the dangers.
Along the way, the distressed Martha talks to Jesus and believed that it was too late to do anything, because He is dead. Jesus is sure that He can call on God’s Power to bring Lazarus back to life!
Martha already knew that Lazarus would be resurrected at the end times; however, Jesus comforted her by saying He is the Resurrection and the Life. Those that are spiritually dead may have Life in Him and will have Eternal Life, even if the physical body dies. Martha fully believed this, and confessed Him as the Messiah, Son of God, and Savior of the world. She hurried home and brought Mary so they could all meet.
When Jesus talked about Eternal Life to Martha, He did not want her to think He negated his physical death as no concern, but rather, He fully intended to bring Lazarus back. Death is an enemy of satan and it was to be destroyed. When He saw how satan used such weapon to fill His friends with grief, He was filled with sorrow and also anger (good, righteous/Godly anger).
To win the victory over satan in this case, Jesus went to the tomb, and before raising him from the dead, He first thanked God for always hearing His Prayers. Soon, Jesus called with a loud voice unto Lazarus, and He was miraculously resurrected.
After Jesus raised Lazarus, He became more famous, which brought attention from the Sanhedrin that He might cause an uprising against Rome. The outcome could be the loss of the Jews’ religious privilege, and could cause the destruction of the Temple. High priest Caiaphas, also the president of the Sanhedrin, suggested to dispose of Jesus quickly before Rome gets involved, so that if He dies, the nation would be saved.
Of course, Caiaphas did not know what his words meant per the Prophecy of Jesus Christ, for His death would save the masses. People of every nation would eventually believe in Him. While the Jewish leaders plotted to dispose of Jesus, He took His Disciples and went away to a quiet place from the crowd.
What can we learn from this situation?
Let us not toil and strain over death of the physical body, if we know eternal security for Eternal Life is grasped. We must be so sure that He is the Resurrection and the Life that we have the ability to fearlessly walk each day in the Light of His Presence knowing that His Hand is upon us. Death of the physical body is but sleep, for we are retiring from worldly cares and proceeding into the Heavenly realm to serve the Lord Jesus!
Ten Lepers Healed and the Nature of the Kingdom of God Explained
Many people have become so used to receiving His Blessings that they forget to thank Him. Others who have not known God previously might display true gratitude the first time when they are aware of His Goodness unto them. This was demonstrated when He healed the ten lepers and then sent them to the Priest as the Jewish Law required. However, none of the Jews in that group returned to thank Him. The only one thanking Jesus was a foreigner.
The Pharisees were still looking for visible signs of the Messiah’s Kingdom, so they could work properly. Jesus told them that He was the Messiah living among them. The Messiah’s Kingdom has begun. Jesus then talks to His Disciples, and said that He would be taken from them soon. In their longing for His Return, they should not pay ear to false prophets and false teachings, because His Coming will be unmistakably visible.
Just as the days of Noah and Lot, people will carry out their everyday duties when His Judgment will suddenly fall on them. At that time, it would be too late for people to save themselves, and therefore, there will be a separation between those who lived selfishly and those that put God first. God will intervene in our affairs on Earth worldwide, and wherever there is sin, divine judgment will fall.
Parables about Prayer
Because of the apparent delay before His Return, Jesus told a parable to encourage His Disciples, to which, they may suffer injustice and other persecutions who despise the Gospel. Therefore, they should persevere in prayer, and be confident that God will hear their prayers. If an ungodly judge gives a just judgment to a helpless widow just to rid her of the pleading, how much more would God answer the cries of His persecuted people. The world might be unbelieving in its ways; however, the Disciples of Jesus Christ must persevere in faith!
In the second story, Jesus rebuked the law-abiding people who thought themselves righteous in their prayers with God. The Pharisees would recount their good deeds, and expect God’s reward. Pharisees despised tax collectors and were all sure that God did as well; however, the tax collectors would not try to impress God. Tax collectors knew they were sinners and felt that no one could help them but God, so they would ask Him for mercy. God accepted those who humbly repented and rejected those who just boasted of good virtue.