Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

John 11:41-49
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: John 11:41-42
vs41-42: Then some men stepped forward to lift the stone off the opening to the cave, and as they did John says Jesus “lifted up His eyes” and started speaking to the Father. Loud enough so that everyone could hear Him, He said, “Father, I thank You that You heard Me, and I know that You always hear Me, but because of the crowd standing around [Me] I said [this], so that they might believe that You sent Me” (literal). Before He performed this miracle He wanted everyone to understand that the power they were about to observe came from the Father; that He, Jesus, had been assigned to do what He was about to do, the Father had sent Him to that funeral; and He wanted people to understand that the Father always heard and answered His prayers. He said these things before raising Lazarus from the dead because afterward everyone would be in such shock they wouldn’t remember a word He said.

Monday: John 11:43-44
vs43-44: John selects a very special word to describe Jesus’ shout. It’s a word that usually describes the roaring sound that is heard when a multitude of people are shouting all at once (Jn 12:13; 18:40; 19:6, 12, 15; Ac 22:23). So Jesus didn’t speak to the open tomb; He bellowed out a command, “Lazarus, Here! Out!” (literal) (Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John, Eerdmans, 1971, p.561). No explanation is given for this loud command, but Jesus appears to be calling to someone who’s in another world. And that person, in another dimension of existence, heard His voice and obediently returned to his body. We are watching the fulfillment of a promise Jesus had made earlier. He had said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live” (Jn 5:25). By raising Lazarus, Jesus was proving that someday all who believe in Him will hear that same voice call us into our resurrection bodies.

Tuesday: John 11:43-46
vs43-44 (continued): John describes Lazarus’ response this way: “The one who had died came out, feet and hands bound with bandages, and his face having been bound around with a cloth (the cloth probably went under his chin to keep his jaw from falling open) (A. Plummer, St. John, Cambridge, 1893, p.245). Then Jesus said, “Loose him, and let him go!” (literal). vs45-46: The miracle was so stunning that anyone with honest doubts about Jesus was instantly convinced. John says many of the religious leaders who saw it believed in Jesus, but then we see a strange refusal to believe grip others. He adds, “But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus had done” (literal). In other words they hurried back to Jerusalem, so they could report the incident to the authorities. The difference between those two responses is confusing. One person believed while another wanted Him arrested.

Wednesday: John 11:47
v47: The impact that this miracle had on the community can be seen by the reaction it produced among two very different groups: the chief priests and the Pharisees. Ordinarily the chief priests and the Pharisees were opponents. The chief priests were appointed by political leaders. Their focus was on running the temple and profiting from its activities. The Pharisees, however, were members of a religious movement whose goal was to insure that Jewish people obeyed the Bible so that nothing like the Exile ever happened again. They had identified 613 commands in the Law of Moses and wanted every rule to be observed, down to the smallest detail. They believed any act of disobedience provoked God to anger and endangered the nation’s existence. But when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead He created a crisis that united both groups into a common cause. Both wanted to kill Him before His influence could spread any further.

Thursday: John 11:47
v47 (continued): A special meeting was convened between the “high priests” and “the Pharisees.” By “high priests” John probably means Annas and his son-in-law, Caiaphas, along with a few other family members of temple officials. By “the Pharisees” he probably means the movement’s most senior leaders. The purpose of the meeting was to determine what to do next. So far all their efforts to discredit Jesus had failed. They asked one another, “What are we doing that allows this man to do so many signs?” (paraphrase). And they had good reason to be frustrated. They had not been idle. They had worked hard to turn the crowds against Jesus. They had argued with Him (Mt 15:1-2); tried to trick Him into saying something politically dangerous (Mt 27:15-22); spread all sorts of slanderous accusations about His motives (Jn 11:37), His birth place (Jn 7:41-42), His lack of education (Jn 7:15) and His Sabbath-breaking (Jn 5:17; 9:16). They had announced to all who would listen that He was demon-possessed (Jn 8:48), insane (Jn 10:20) and a blasphemer (Jn 10:53). And they had threatened to expel from Judaism anyone who confessed that He was the Messiah (Jn 9:22). Yet His popularity was soaring, even among their own ranks.

Friday: John 11:48
v48: It would be interesting to know who reported to John what was said in that private meeting. Nicodemus (John 3:1; 19:39-40) may have been present or at least heard from someone who was. One way or another, John is able to quote for us portions of a secret conversation. We learn that someone in that meeting warned everyone, “If we allow Him [to continue] this way all will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take from us both the place and the nation” (literal). That statement reflects the fears of both groups. The high priests were afraid they would lose “the place” which in that context means they would lose the temple (Dt 12:5). For failing to control a dangerous religious movement the high priest’s position might be given to someone else, or the religious activities at the temple might be shut down. And that would mean a huge loss of revenue.

Saturday: John 11:48-49
v48 (continued): The Pharisees were afraid that the Romans would come and take away “the nation.” In this context the term probably means the legal recognition that Rome had given to Judaism. Illegal religions could be openly persecuted, but legal religions were protected by law, so long as they didn’t stir up civil unrest. And Judaism was a legal religion. But if Rome declared it to be illegal, synagogues would be closed, and the practice of their religion would be outlawed. To Pharisees, who focused on observing the Law of Moses, that would be devastating. v49: The Herods and the Roman governors had the authority to remove one high priest and appoint another whenever they felt it was necessary. The Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, noted that there were 28 high priests between the beginning of Herod the Great’s reign and the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70 (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 20.10.5). Pontius Pilate’s predecessor, Valerius Gratus, was the governor who removed Annas and then in turn set up Ismael, Eleazer (son of Annas), Simon and Joseph Caiaphas (son-in-law of Annas) (A. Plummer, St. John, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1893, p.247). Caiaphas was high priest during the trial of Jesus (Jn 18:13) and the persecution of the early church as recorded in the Book of Acts (Ac 4:6). Even though Caiaphas held the title of high priest during those years, Annas, his father-in-law, remained in charge. John mentions Caiaphas only as “a certain Caiaphas, being high priest that year” (literal).  

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