Lessons from John 11: Do You Believe?
The purpose of today’s lesson is clearly laid out for us by Jesus Himself. He stated in John 11:4 that Lazarus’ illness would not end in death. No, instead, Lazarus’ illness and even his death were intended for God’s glory. God’s Son would be glorified through it.
So the question we must answer first is “what is God’s glory?”
Second, what does it mean to see God’s glory? And is it still possible for those of us living in today’s world to see and experience His glory?
Let’s begin by defining what God’s glory is. Someone once said, “God’s glory is the totality of all His attributes.” From the beginning, God revealed His glory in the beauty and wisdom of His creation. And throughout history, God revealed His glory to His people through His power, mercy, grace, judgment, holiness, and love.
Moses knew what it was to see and experience God’s glory. God revealed Himself to Moses through the burning bush. Moses and the Jewish people also saw and experienced God’s glory as the Lord came to them in a pillar of cloud. This cloud, known as the Shekinah glory, guided God’s people in the wilderness and filled the tabernacle and later the temple.
And then there was the Transfiguration, which other writers of the gospel recorded when Jesus’ glory shone through. His heavenly glory was brightly displayed. It was a light that was so absolutely awesome, (in the true sense of the word) to those who were watching.
So the question remains: Is it possible to for us, who live in today’s world to see and experience the glory of God?
The answer to this question is, “Yes, it is possible.”
All we have to do is look at the life-giving power of Jesus to those who have been transformed from the old life of sin under Satan’s control into the new life through faith in Jesus Christ. He delivers believers from the power and penalty of sin to see and experience God’s glory!
And so the next question is: How does your life in Christ and Christ life in you actively demonstrate His glory?!
As we study this passage, I believe we will see that those who believe God see His glory in everyday situations and circumstances and also in the future to come.
So, with that in mind, let’s see what John 11 has to teach us about God’s glory and how it is evidenced in our own lives.
I have three divisions for these lessons and they go as follows:
- Jesus’ delay and Lazarus’ death – John 11:1-16
- Jesus’ deliverance of Lazarus – John 11:17-44
- Religious leaders deadly conspiracy – John 11:45-57
As we closed out last week’s lesson we were told in John 10:40 that as a result of the severe opposition and persistent persecution by the Jewish religious leaders, Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. There, many people came to Jesus and believed in Him.
This happened immediately following Jesus’ teachings and proclamations that He is the Gate to God the Father. As the Good Shepherd, He cares for, guards, and protects His flock. He can do so because He is the unique Son of God, the Promised Messiah, equal with God the Father. And for this claim, the so-called religious leaders sought to kill Him.
After confronting the Jewish religious leaders and their false beliefs and teachings, Jesus began to pull away. He narrowed His contacts to a select few. We are told in John 10:42 that many believed.
What a contrast of light and dark and a good reminder that religion saves no one! It is only personal belief and relationship with Jesus Christ as the unique Son of God that opens the doors of heaven. There, all who believe abide or live with Him forever.
Do You Believe?
Now, in today’s lesson, Jesus draws us to His fifth great “I AM” statement. That is found in verses 25-26 where Jesus stated, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.
And then Jesus asked the greatest question you and I will ever be asked in our lifetime, “Do you believe this?”