Death to Life
By Aisha Darwesh
I. The Word: John 11:45-52
45-48 That was a turnaround for many of the Jews who were with Mary. They saw what Jesus did, and believed in him. But some went back to the Pharisees and told on Jesus. The high priests and Pharisees called a meeting of the Jewish ruling body. “What do we do now?” they asked. “This man keeps on doing things, creating God-signs. If we let him go on, pretty soon everyone will be believing in him and the Romans will come and remove what little power and privilege we still have.”
49-52 Then one of them—it was Caiaphas, the designated Chief Priest that year—spoke up, “Don’t you know anything? Can’t you see that it’s to our advantage that one man dies for the people rather than the whole nation be destroyed?” He didn’t say this of his own accord, but as Chief Priest that year he unwittingly prophesied that Jesus was about to die sacrificially for the nation, and not only for the nation but so that all God’s exile-scattered children might be gathered together into one people.
Today’s verses show us the aftereffects of Jesus’ miraculous work of raising Lazarus from the dead. This particular miracle marked a turning point in Jesus’ ministry. It caused many of the Jews with Mary to believe in Jesus.
This amazing result gives us some insight into why Jesus may have delayed in coming to heal Lazarus. Jesus intentionally waited until after Lazarus was undeniably dead, so the Lord’s name could be glorified by this amazing miracle. In waiting until God directed Him to go, Jesus not only saved Lazarus, but many others came to faith in Him as a result. Delays are no fun when you’re experiencing them, but God thinks so much bigger than us…and usually it’s not just about only one person.
Our individual lives touch so many others. Think of how many people came to mourn for Lazarus and pay their respects. Can you imagine their sheer wonder and amazement seeing him come back to life?! What a beautiful picture of the resurrection and life that is available to us in Christ.
While some of the Jews who went to visit Mary did come to faith in Jesus, others went to report Jesus to the Pharisees. The theme of “one life making an impact on many” is continued in this sense as well.
The Pharisees were afraid the notoriety and influence of Jesus would cause further oppression from the Romans. Instead of finding refuge in Jesus, the Pharisees turned against Him. The High Priest prophetically spoke about Jesus: “You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” (v. 49-50).
A great cross reference to this idea of how just one person can make a far reaching impact is found in John 12:
“Let me make this clear: A single grain of wheat will never be more than a single grain of wheat unless it drops into the ground and dies. Because then it sprouts and produces a great harvest of wheat—all because one grain died.” (John 12:24 TPT)
Jesus displayed that even in death we can bring glory to God and produce a harvest. What do you need to “die” to today? If you find you are turning to something other than Jesus to give you life, you might need to “die” to it. Does that mean you give it up entirely? Maybe. Or it could mean that you put it in its proper place.
For example, your spouse, your kids, your job, your relationships may all be great in and of themselves, but they’re not worthy to be your god. Only God can fill that role.
Pray to the Lord and ask Him to reveal anything in your life that you’re giving more weight to than you should. Then, ask Him what He would like you to do regarding that item, whatever it may be. Finally, be willing to surrender to Him. Obedience is the one way we can express our love to God. Let that action be a symbol of your love and commitment to Jesus. Trust Him to fulfill you in every way.
Father God, thank You for sending Your one and only Son to die for all my sin. I receive His sacrifice and finished work. Because of one Person’s quality decision to obey You, I can be in right relationship and right standing with You, Almighty God. Today, I make a quality decision to trust and obey You with all that I am. Thank You for giving me new life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.