“Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead.” John 12:9
I would like to divide John 12:9 into four equal parts to discuss what Jesus is doing with each of us. As we have been raised from the dead like Lazarus, we can take his name out of the verse and interject our own. We can do that with all of God’s word. To stay on the topic let’s interject our name where Lazarus’s name is.
“Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Jennifer also, whom he had raised from the dead.” John 12:9
- Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there:
The beginning of this verse paints a picture for us. It speaks of people, Jewish people specifically, knowing of Jesus’ presence in the setting. Why is it important? Jesus has a reputation for making the blind to see, the lame walk, and even raising the dead. It was the talk of the town when Jesus was there because many expected to see a miracle. Additionally, the beginning of the verse explains why God allows us to publicly experience hardship and abatement. There are divine purposes behind everyone knowing where we are in our difficult place. Our spiritual states of being are vital. God parting the Red Sea was powerful, especially because of the spiritual and literal state of bondage that the Israelites were in prior to the Exodus. The woman being healed because she touched Jesus’ hem is spectacular, particularly because she bled for 12 years and tried everything. Many of us are more than pleased to celebrate successes openly but retreat, when we feel that we are doing bad or people, may view us differently if they knew of our “unfortunate” circumstances. But it is because of our circumstances that the Lord gets the glory. If Paul and Silas were not in prison, if Daniel never stepped foot in the den, if Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego never went into the fiery furnace, the miracle working power of God would not have been manifested at the degree to which it was. Personally, if I wasn’t struggling relationally and financially and people did not know about it how could God get the glory? I put quotation marks around the word unfortunate because, prayerfully, by the end of this blog we will see our difficulties in a new light. It is my earnest prayer that we grow to be uncomfortable but content and see every opportunity that we have as a fortunate circumstance.
“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13
- and they came not for Jesus’ sake only
People coming not only for Jesus’ sake speaks volumes to the power of an effective witness. It is clear why Satan wants us to be quietly consumed with our own troubles so that we cannot accompany Jesus to demonstrate God’s magnificent splendor. Or even if we do speak, the enemy wants our talk to be fruitless gripes and complaints about how hard things are, how unfair God is, and how much we deserve better predicaments. Peradventure, when we opt to bask in the major detail that we have new life in Christ, are being made whole daily, and remember that Jesus with whom we are united thinks enough of us to raise us from the dead our carnal focus will become refocused by the spirit. The people. What about the people whose faith would be strengthened by our testimonies? The souls that are wavering in doubt and unbelief are more important than our hissy fits. Remember when we interjected our names into the verse? When we surrendered to God by way of His Son Jesus, we were grafted into a family of witnesses. Souls are waiting to hear from us. People are waiting to see us alive in Christ, knowing that days prior we were dead in sin. Folks need to observe someone drowning in debt, deficits, and depression walk by faith and overcome in the name Jesus. Yes, people came, and are coming to Jesus but they also are coming to see you. What are you showing them? Are you there? Or did you stay home again? Can you praise God despite the ferocity of your struggle or when you part your lips do you breathe complaints heavenward?
“Do everything without complaining and arguing,” Philippians 2:14
- but that they might see_____________ also,
Now, this is the tricky part. People are coming to see us but not us. Seeing Lazarus was not praiseworthy; it was what Jesus did through Lazarus that made folks want to come and see him. This is where so many men and women of God lose spiritual insight and drown in self. If it was not for the work of the Lord, I would not have a blog, a testimony, or a finger to blog with. I would not have the capacity to put together words to forms sentences to convey ideas which I do all for His glory because God is the One who made it all possible, not me. Have you ever heard someone say, “so and so preached today!” or “that person can sing!” These statements sound harmful and may be innocently spoken but they do not give God the glory. So and so only preached effectively because, prayerfully, he or she heard a word from the Lord, God gave them cognition to deliver the message to the body of Christ and so on. Yes, an individual may be able to sing, but it is God who created the vocal cord and gave the ability; to Him belongs all the glory and praise, not man. There are so many self-important people in the body of Christ because they lost sight of the fact that they were dead and Jesus raised them. They just focus on the fact that they are raised. Jesus did the miracle, not the person themselves. Even for us bloggers, we may sit at the computer pounding away at the keyboard but the likes, reblogs, and comments belong to God. The Lord gave us the wisdom, testimony, expertise, creativity, and patience it takes to do this; the praises belong to Him. To be a vessel used by God is rewarding enough, we needn’t attempt to steal what rightfully belongs to God.
“For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” Romans 11:36
- whom he had raised from the dead.
Despite our nagging inner critic, we are valuable to God. For us, when something dies we bury it, throw it away, if appropriate, and move on, but not God. God knows the value of that dead thing so until its purpose is complete it cannot die and stay dead. God raised me from an unhealthy relationship with myself, overeating, lust of the flesh, pride, people pleasing and trauma. My value outweighed the effort it took to bring me back to life. Hallelujah! God is saying that to all of us. The things that are trying to kill us, has killed parts of us, or if we’ve become the living dead, Jesus has raised us from them because of our value to Him and our Kingdom assignments. Those souls would not have been encouraged by Lazarus as much as they were if he had not been raised from the dead. For me, this means that I can stop crying about going through, stop worrying about coming out, and focus on being a yielded vessel. As a yielded vessel when I show up on the scene with Jesus, now alive but formerly dead there will be no doubt in anyone’s mind that God is God alone. I can plant my feet in Christ and be used to be a blessing wherever he sends me even and especially while I am in need. Being raised from the dead does not mean that I am not lacking anything. Resurrection in this sense means that we walk in a newness and authority that only God can give as a testament to His goodness. God will provide, surely He provided for me in my dead state. He will provide for me relationally and financially as well. In the meantime, I will flood heaven with praise, worship, and obedience as I yield to be used for the benefit of all those watching Jesus in me. Amen