November 17

John 10:22-11:57

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Jesus, we believe in you our Resurrected Lord.  Amen.

Today’s reading contained the greatest claim ever made in all of literature; that He; Jesus is ONE with God the Father in Heaven.  It also contains the greatest resurrection narrative outside of Jesus’ resurrection in biblical history.  Some are thrilled about this, and some are murderously disturbed about this. Where is this going to lead?
10:22-42 – Two months prior Jesus gave His talk about being the Good Shepherd.  That was in what we call “October.”  It is winter in Israel now, two months have passed. Jesus had been back to Galilee during the autumn interval.  Jesus has about four months out before the Passover wherein HE would be the sacrificial lamb.  He is 33 years old by now. It is winter of 29 A.D.  The Feast of Dedication is in process. It is just after what Matthew 17:1-8 tells us about the Transfiguration. Jesus is walking in Jerusalem among some regal architecture and makes it clear who he is.  They would dismiss Him with a chuckle except for the miracles that prove that what He is talking about is authentic.  That is something that needs to be asked anytime there is tension in dialogue: are the disturbed people all roused up because what was just stated is false or because it’s true?  They are ready to kill Jesus! And is it because he is telling fairy stories? If He’s all off base, there’s no tension because He’s a looney tune with a jaded mind. BUT, they are livid with Him – the leaders are.  And yet the people continue to gather and listen and receive Him and are touched in the heart. Jesus spent the next two months (the remainder of winter) east of the Jordan among many people where the Sanhedrin had no authority or jurisdiction.
11 – Here comes the point of no return; the raising of Lazarus.  It is springtime. Lazarus is the third person Jesus raised from the dead (1-Jairus’ daughter, 2-son of the widow in Nain).  There is less than a month before Calvary occurs and this resurrection truly sets the stage for setting off a cultural wildfire in Jerusalem. Jesus is informed of Lazarus’ death when He was in Jericho (at the Zacchaeus event). But Jesus waits two more days for timing’s sake (He knew what He was doing). He wanted more to gather before He entered the stage.  Mary and Martha and Lazarus were a popular set of siblings in the area, btw, and Jesus is going to go up to Bethany to provide the ultimate blessing.  Jesus marches the 11 miles, plus the 3500+ ft. climb and arrives four days after Lazarus died. The people are hopeless, grieving. The thought of Lazarus coming back to life is no where in anyone’s thinking. Mary contests opening the tomb because of the smell. She can’t envision a resurrection happening. Who could? Today, who could? And then it happens: Jesus calls Lazarus back from death. Notice He orders to take the grave clothes off of him and “let him go.” Did you catch that? Death had him as it is coming for us all.  This gives us hope of resurrection against what haunts all of humanity; that all are headed for death.  At any rate, hundreds saw the resurrection of a beloved man from a prominent family.  News spread like a flash flood (this is pre-cell phone days, folks!)  The population wants to make Him king immediately and yet the leaders in Jerusalem want to kill Him immediately. Caiaphas’ words about one dying for the whole country is prophetic.  It’s an educated man making an accurate statement and doing so for a completely selfish and power-motivated reason.  Right words – wrong heart. This finalized the decision to kill Jesus.  Jesus knew what was developing.  So he and His disciples headed north about 12 miles to basically hide out and rest up a bit.  Back in Jerusalem a high stakes and threatening game of pay-offs and hide-n-seek was well underway.  Do you wish you could have been there and experienced all of this?  The steps of all this can be retraced in Jerusalem and Bethany and Ephraim and Emmaus and Bethlehem even today.  Whatever we do let’s keep reading until we all meet in the New Jerusalem.

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