In the Absence of the Father, Death

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by the apostle John. More specifically today’s passage is found in the first twenty-seven verses of the nineteenth chapter. “Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, and said, Hail, King of the Jews! And they smote him with their hands. Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold, the man! When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God” (John 19:1-7).

 

            “When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; and went again into the judgement hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. Then Pilate saith unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him; but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified” (John 19:8-16).

 

            “And they took Jesus, and led him away. And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. This tile then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek and Latin. Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that He said, I am the King of the Jews. Pilate answered, What I have written I have written. Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did” (John 19:16-25).

 

            “When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home” (John 19:26-27).

 

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the continuation of Jesus’ trial before Pontius Pilate who was the Roman governor in Jerusalem at that time. In the previous chapter you find Jesus being led away from the garden by the officers and band of men led into the midst of it by Judas Iscariot. As Jesus was led away we find Him first being led unto the house of the high priest where He would stand trial before religion in the house of religion. If you are to truly understand the trial of the Lord Jesus Christ you must recognize and understand that immediately after He was betrayed by one of His own disciples He would be led away from the garden and unto the house of religion. It would be there in the house of religion where He would not only stand trial before and in the presence of the chief priests, the scribes, the elders of Israel, the Pharisees and the like, but also where false witnesses would rise up against Him. It would be there in the house of religion where Jesus would be accused of blasphemy—and not only accused of blasphemy but accused of specific types of blasphemy. Upon reading the words which are found in these chapters you will find that Jesus was indeed falsely accused based on some of the words He spoke—one of them being the words He spoke concerning destroying the Temple and rebuilding it again in three days. Perhaps the single greatest accusation which was brought against the Lord Jesus Christ came not in matters of the Temple and rebuilding it but in His unique relationship with the Father. There is perhaps no greater stumbling block which the chief priests, the scribes, the elders of Israel, the Pharisees and the like had with Jesus than when it came to His professing Himself to be the Son of God thus making God His Father.

 

            The more you read the words found in this passage of Scripture the more you will find that directly linked to the statement and declaration of Jesus concerning God being His Father you will also find religion accusing Him of making Himself King over the Jews. In fact it would be this accusation and the “crime” which the religious leaders brought against Jesus that would be nailed above His head on the wooden cross upon which He was nailed. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it draws and calls our attention to the fact that perhaps the two greatest stumbling blocks religion had with the Lord Jesus Christ was His unique relationship with God as His Father and the understanding that He came introducing and preaching an entirely new and different kingdom. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and pay close attention to the words found in this passage of Scripture for if you want to truly understand the trial of Jesus after being betrayed in and led away from the garden you must recognize it in terms of relationship and kingdom. What’s more is I would dare say that the two greatest stumbling blocks religion had with Jesus were pertaining to matters of relationship and authority. On the one hand they had an incredible difficulty with Jesus’ unique relationship with God as His Father while on the other hand they had an incredible difficulty with the authority Jesus proclaimed and professed to exercise. Oh you cannot read the four gospel narratives without encountering and coming face to face with the Lord Jesus Christ and His continued relationship with God as His Father. In fact I would dare say that it was entirely and altogether impossible to separate the Lord Jesus Christ from His unique relationship with God as His Father as well as with the kingdom of heaven which was to be manifested within and upon the earth.

 

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words found in this passage of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth that the Lord Jesus Christ was indeed accused in the presence of religion and all its leaders on the night in which He was betrayed based on relationship and authority. The more you read the four gospels the more you will encounter and come face to face with the tremendous and incredible truth that the Lord Jesus would stand trial and be accused because religion could not handle nor could they accept the fact that He was indeed the Son of the living God. Throughout the four gospel narratives you will encounter time after time when both the Jews and the religious leaders of His day took great offense to the profession that God was His Father. The four gospel narratives found in the New Testament are filled with example after example of the offense of both the Jews and the religious leaders within Judaea and Jerusalem concerning Jesus and the words which He spoke. In fact, if you read chapters five through twelve you will find example after example of the Jews offense with Jesus—and not only with Jesus but with the words He spoke and His apparent disregard for the Sabbath day. This particular section of Scripture carefully describes and outlines Jesus primarily being in Judaea and in the city of Jerusalem at the time of certain feasts of the Jews which they would have celebrated in the ancient city of Jerusalem. With the exception of the sixth chapter where we find the Lord Jesus Christ in Galilee these chapters highlight and underscore the tremendous truth surrounding the offense surrounding the Lord Jesus Christ—and offense that was centered upon His actions and His words. What’s more, is that before you attempt to understand Jesus standing trial before Pontius Pilate I feel it is absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the various passages found in chapters five through twelve of this New Testament gospel for they bring us face to face with this offense which surrounded the Lord Jesus Christ by both the Jews and the religious system with its leaders alike:

 

            “…The man departed, and told the Jews it was Jesus, which had made him whole. And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I wok. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth Him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel” (John 5:15-20).

 

            “The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. NO man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed no, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. From that time many of His disciples went back and walked no more with him(John 6:41-66).

 

            “After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him(John 7:1).

 

            “But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he? And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, nay; but he deceiveth the people. Howbeit no man spake openly for fear of the Jews” (John 7:10-13).

 

            “Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned. Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me? The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee? Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel. Moses therefore gave you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man. If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have mad a man every whit whole on the sabbath day? Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this he, whom they seek to kill? But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ? Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is. Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not. But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me. Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him because his hour was not yet come. And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done? The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him. Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me. Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come. Then said the Jews among themselves, Whither will he go, that we shall not find him? Will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles? What manner of saying is this (John 7:14-36).

 

            “Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth, this is the Prophet. Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was? So there was a division among the people because of him. And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him” (John 7:40-44).

            “Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death, Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? And the prophets are dead, whom makest thou thyself? Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it and was glad” (John 8:48-56).

 

            There is a greater amount of language that is found in chapters nine through twelve of this New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John, however, we must needs recognize and understand that within these chapters we not only find a tremendous amount of opposition against Jesus from the Jews but we also find it coming from the Pharisees, from the chief priests, from the scribes, from the elders of Israel and the religious system. You cannot read the words found within these chapters and not encounter and come face to face with the awesome and incredible truth that the Lord Jesus Christ experienced persecution, murmuring, animosity and opposition all sides. It is absolutely undeniable to read the words found within the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John and not encounter and come face to face with the incredible truth that Jesus was vehemently hated and despised by the religious leaders and system of His day. Although He was betrayed by relationship and fellowship He would be despised, rejected, abhorred and vehemently opposed by the religious leaders present during those days. Not only this but we must also recognize and understand that Jesus also experienced a tremendous amount of persecution which came against Him from the Jews when they not only learned of His healing a man on the sabbath day but also professed God as His Father thus making Himself equal with God.

 

            Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth and reality for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous opposition which Jesus would face and experience during those three and a half years of public ministry in the midst of those in Judaea and Galilee. When we come to the eighteenth and nineteenth chapters of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John we find—like the other three gospel narratives—Jesus standing before Pilate after being handed over to Him for sentencing and ultimately death. If there is perhaps one thing that makes the gospel narrative written by the apostle John so incredibly interesting and unique it’s how many times the Jews and the religious leaders sought to lay hands on the Lord Jesus Christ and yet how they could not lay their hands on Him because His hour had not yet come. The Jews and the religious leaders continually sought to lay their hands upon the Lord Jesus Christ and they continually sought to remove Him from the midst of the public’s eye and view and yet they could not because His time and His hour had not yet come. What is truly unique and interesting about this is when Jesus was finally seized and in the hands of the chief priests, the scribes, the elders of the people, the Pharisees and the like they could not kill Him or put Him to death. Perhaps one of the most astonishing truths surrounding Jesus’ being betrayed into the hands of His enemies and adversaries was that even when He stood trial before the religious system and leaders of His day having been bound and buffeted they would and could not put Jesus to death. Despite their vehement hatred and animosity toward the Lord Jesus Christ they would and could not put Him to death—especially because of the time in which these events would take place. The apostle John makes it perfectly clear these events took place around the time of the feast of the Passover and even around the sabbath day. The Jews therefore being unwilling to defile themselves would deliver Jesus into the hands of Pilate and the Romans to carry out their bidding and essentially do their dirty work.

 

            The more I read and consider the words which are found in these two chapters the more I am brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth that when Jesus stood trial before Pontius Pilate He stood trial not as a guilty man who was accused of crimes He had committed but rather as an innocent man accused of crimes He had not committed. With this being said we must needs understand that some of those things and some of those words which were spoken by those who sought to accuse Jesus were in fact true. Jesus did indeed speak of the Temple and declare unto them that if they destroyed it He would raise it up again on the third day, however, they understood not that the temple He spoke about was the temple of His body. Jesus did indeed come preaching a kingdom that was not of this world and a kingdom that was of His Father who was in heaven. Jesus did indeed come into the earth preaching and introducing a kingdom that was far greater than any kingdom or empire present in the midst of the earth—either at that time or leading up to that time beginning with the ancient Egyptian Empire. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for one of the greatest accusations brought against Jesus was this concept of a kingdom which He Himself came to introduce in the midst of the earth—a kingdom that would not be of this world but a kingdom that would be of His Father who was in heaven and a kingdom that was come down into the earth and manifested among men.

 

            Perhaps one of the greatest realities that so astonishes me when I read of Jesus standing trial before and in the presence of Jesus it’s that despite His being accused before this Roman governor he found no fault in Him. What’s more is that directly linked to this you will read the four gospel narratives written concerning the life and ministry of Jesus and will not find in a single place where Rome or the Roman government took any offense to the words and actions of the Lord Jesus Christ. You can search each of the four gospels beginning with that which was written by the apostle Matthew and continue through to this gospel narrative written by the apostle John and you will not find a single place where Rome took offense with the words and actions of Jesus. Even though Jesus came into the earth teaching and preaching the kingdom of heaven there was not a single instance where Rome or the Roman government sought to silence Jesus during those three and a half years of public ministry. In fact there is an account found within the four gospels when a Roman centurion entreated Jesus that He come unto Him and under His roof that He might heal his servant who lie in bed sick and on the verge of death. When this centurion saw and beheld Jesus being willing to come with him unto his home he spoke boldly and declared unto Jesus that he was not worthy to have Him come under his roof but rather needed only speak the word and his servant would be healed. This Roman centurion would so astonish, amaze and impress Jesus with his understanding of authority and his level of faith that Jesus would turn Himself in the midst of the crowd that would be walking with and following him and declare that He had not found so great faith in all of Israel. As a direct result of this faith within the heart and soul of the centurion his servant would indeed be healed of the infirmity which plagued his physical body.

 

            Oh it is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this for during those three and a half years of public ministry you will not find a single account of the Lord Jesus Christ standing accused by and before any of the Roman centurions. There is not a single instance or occurrence found within any of the four gospels where Rome took any offense with the Lord Jesus Christ and sought to persecute and lay hands on Him that He might be put to death. Even when Jesus was delivered into the hands of the Roman governor Pontius Pilate he sought to release Him for he found not fault with him. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth and reality for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth that the Lord Jesus Christ was indeed vehemently hated and abhorred by the Jews and by the religious system and leaders of His day, however, there is not a single account of Jesus ever offending Rome. Even when they sought to ensnare and entrap Jesus asking if it was lawful to pay taxes and tribute unto Caesar Jesus would instruct them to render or give unto Caesar those things which belonged to Caesar and unto God those things which belonged unto God. Although it might not seem like anything extravagant and worth noticing and paying attention to we find Jesus first speaking of Caesar and those things which belonged to Caesar and then transitioning to speaking about those things which belonged unto the living God. Jesus would lead first with rendering and giving unto Caesar those things which belonged unto him and would then transition to speaking of those things which belonged unto the living God.

 

            The more I read the words found within the four New Testament gospel narratives the more I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth that nowhere in any of the four gospels will you find any account of the Lord Jesus Christ offending any of the Roman centurions or any within the Roman government found in Judaea and Galilee. There are absolutely no accounts of the Lord Jesus Christ angering and/or offending the Roman government and the Roman system which was present in the midst of the regions of Galilee and Judaea. It is truly astonishing and remarkable to read the words which are found in the four gospels as they call and draw our attention to the tremendous truth that throughout the three and a half years of the public ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ there would not be a single instance or occurrence where Jesus angered, upset or even offended Rome or any of the representatives which were present in Judaea and Galilee at that time. Nowhere will you ever find Rome seeking to seize and lay hold of Jesus and put Him to death during those three and a half years. There is not a single account of the Roman government taking any offense to the words and/or actions of the Lord Jesus Christ and the only offense that was ever hurled against Jesus came from the religious system and leaders of His day. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the Lord Jesus Christ for there would not be a single time when you find the Roman government questioning Jesus, nor His words, nor even the works which He performed. You will not find Pilate assembling a legion of centurions to march against Jesus that they might lay hold of Him and take Him into custody.

 

            Oh I sit here this day thinking about Jesus standing trial before Pontius Pilate and I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth that even when Jesus finally did stand before a representative of Rome being falsely accused by religion and His own people it was Pilate who found no fault with Him. Having heard all the accusations which the Jews and the religious leaders of that day brought against Jesus Pilate not only repeatedly declared that he found no fault with Jesus but he also sought to release Him. What we must needs realize, however, is that despite the fact Pontius Pilate might have sought to release the Lord Jesus Christ, and even though Pilate found no fault with Him it was entirely and altogether impossible for Jesus to be released once more into the midst of the Jews and the religious system. Despite Pilate’s most noble attempts to release the Lord Jesus Christ back into society and back into the public it was absolutely and entirely impossible for Him to do so for there was an authority at work which was greater than any authority which he himself had possessed. Even when Pilate declared unto Jesus that he had the power to release Him or put Him to death Jesus emphatically declared unto him that he had no power or authority over him save that which was given unto him by His Father who was in heaven. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this as it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the authority that was working behind the scenes as Jesus stood trial before Pontius Pilate. Pontius Pilate thought and believed that he himself had the power to release Jesus or put Him to death and Jesus corrected his thinking and declared unto him that he had no power or authority over Him were it not given unto him by His Father who was in heaven. Pontius Pilate thought and believed that he alone held the power and authority over the Lord Jesus Christ to put Him to death or release Him and Jesus would declare unto him that such a line of thinking was entirely and altogether false and misguided.

 

            If there is one thing I can’t help but be entirely and altogether amazed about when I read the account of the Lord Jesus Christ it is how the narrative and account of Lazarus seems to directly tie together with Jesus standing before Pilate. If you turn and direct your attention to the account of Lazarus as it was written and recorded by the apostle John in the eleventh chapter of this gospel you will find that Lazarus whom Jesus loved was sick. When Jesus Himself heard that Lazarus was sick He deliberately and intentionally chose to abide where He was for another two full days and would not immediately come to the aid and help of His friend whom He loved. What’s more is that as you read the words found in this passage of Scripture you will find that it would not be until Lazarus had been dead and buried in the grave for four days that Jesus would indeed show up. That which I find so incredible about the narrative written by the apostle John is how Jesus could have indeed showed up in Bethany and healed Lazarus while he lay upon his bed of affliction. Jesus could have departed from where He was and came unto the rescue of His dear friend Lazarus whom He loved. It would have been very easy for Jesus to depart from where He was that He might come unto the rescue of His dear friend Lazarus and yet love alone wasn’t enough to release Jesus to come to the aid and rescue of His dear friend. Oh we would like to think that love would have been enough for Jesus to depart from where He was that He might come unto His friend Lazarus and heal him of that sickness which was plaguing his physical body. The truth of the matter, however, is that Jesus was entirely and altogether prohibited from making His way unto Bethany that he might heal and restore Lazarus unto health and wholeness. As a direct result of Jesus’ absence—or I should say in the midst of the absence of Jesus—Lazarus would ultimately die and his lifeless body buried in the grave.

 

            I sit here considering the words which are found in the eleventh chapter of the New Testament gospel account of the sickness, the death and the resurrection of Lazarus and I find myself encountering and coming face to face with the fact that Jesus could have healed Lazarus of the sickness within his physical body and restored him unto heath. The truth of the matter, however, is that it was not the divine will of the Father for Jesus to heal Lazarus that this sickness might no more be present within his physical body. Oh we would like to think that healing was the means whereby this sickness was eradicated and destroyed from the physical body of Lazarus, however, what the scripture points to and reveals is that it would be ultimately through death that Lazarus would be healed of the sickness that was present within his physical body. Upon reading the narrative and account of Lazarus you would think that Jesus would and perhaps even should have shown up in the town of Bethany and at the bedside of Lazarus that He might heal him and restore him unto perfect health as he had done countless others during those three and a half years of public ministry. The truth of the matter, however, is that the Father did not want to heal Lazarus of the sickness within his body through Jesus’ coming unto him as he lay upon his bed but rather as his lifeless body lie buried in the grave. What’s more is that Lazarus’ body would be buried in the grave for four days before Jesus would show up and call for the stone to be rolled away from the entrance of the tomb. Four days after Lazarus had been dead and his lifeless body buried in the tomb Jesus would show up outside that grave and would call for the stone to be rolled away and removed.

 

            There is something we must needs recognize and understand concerning the narrative of Lazarus for not only did Jesus heal Lazarus of the sickness that was present in his body through death, but it would be when Lazarus rose from death to life that his body would be entirely and altogether healed of the sickness which actually caused him to die. Please do not miss and lose sight of this for the narrative and account of the life of Lazarus demonstrates something which we must needs recognize and understand of the Father—namely, that there are times within our lives when the only answer for what we are struggling with and suffering from is not healing or even deliverance but death. Jesus could have showed up in the town of Bethany and healed Lazarus of the sickness which was present in his physical body and Jesus could have restored Lazarus unto complete health and wholeness, however, the divine will of the Father was that Jesus not show up while Lazarus was alive but after he had been dead. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth that Jesus could have indeed showed up at the bedside of Lazarus and healed him of that sickness which was present within his physical body, however, it was the divine will of the Father that this sickness not be healed but rather destroyed through death. Oh the more you read the words found in this passage of Scripture the more you will find and encounter the awesome and powerful truth that the divine will of the Father was that this sickness which was present within the physical body of Lazarus be entirely and altogether destroyed through death and that death—and not healing—was the ultimate answer to that which threatened to destroy Lazarus.

 

            Oh although Lazarus would ultimately die and his lifeless body would be buried in the grave where it would lie for four days it would be through death the Father would entirely and altogether destroy this sickness which was present in the physical body of Lazarus. Lazarus would indeed be sick and that sickness would ultimately lead to his death, however, we must needs recognize and understand that death and not healing was the actual plan and will of the Father. Please do not miss and overlook this for it has the ability to entirely and altogether challenge the way we think about God and even what we believe concerning Him. We tend to think and even expect the Father to heal of us of that which we suffer from and yet there are times within our lives when the Father’s desire, purpose and will is not to heal us. We tend to think and believe that when we are suffering it is the divine will and obligation of the Father to deliver us from our suffering and yet the truth of the matter is that this simply is not the case. There are those among us who think, feel and even expect the Father to heal us of those sicknesses within our physical body and deliver us from the suffering we are presently facing and enduring and yet it is the divine will of the Father to do something entirely different. Lest you think this is somehow inaccurate and false I would invite you to consider the trial and suffering of Jesus as the Father could have shown up and delivered His Son from the hands of the religious leaders and system of His day. The Father could have shown up and dispatched legions of angels to the aid and rescue of His only Son in the midst of the suffering He would face and ensure and yet the Father would remain entirely and altogether distant and seemingly absent in the midst of it. We would like to think that the Father would have shown up and delivered His Son from the suffering He faced and experienced and yet the truth of the matter is that the Father deliberately and intentionally allowed His Son to endure suffering—and not only suffering but suffering that would lead to death.

 

            SUFFERING WHICH LED TO DEATH! SICKNESS WHICH LED TO DEATH! What so amazes and astonishes me about the narrative of Jesus as well as the narrative of Lazarus is that in the life of Jesus His suffering would lead to death. In the life of Lazarus, however, we do not find Him suffering but we do find Him sick. We would like to think that Lazarus’ sickness meant that he was in need of healing, however, if there is one thing this passage reveals it’s that Lazarus’ sickness did not require healing. As you read the passage found in the eleventh chapter of this gospel narrative you might get the impression that Lazarus was sick and that his sickness would require Jesus showing up and healing him, however, the truth of the matter is that this simply was not the case. Healing was not the answer for Lazarus’ sickness nor was keeping and preventing Lazarus from dying and his lifeless body being buried in the grave. Mary and Martha both declared unto Jesus that had He shown up their brother would not have died and yet neither of them recognized or understood that healing was not the instrument through which the eternal Father would raise up their brother. It was never the divine will of the Father to heal Lazarus of the sickness that was present within his physical body and to raise him up from his bed of affliction. The divine will, the divine plan and purpose of the Father was to allow this sickness to produce within Lazarus death that through death Jesus the only begotten Son of the Father might show up, raise him from the dead and entirely and altogether deliver him from the sickness that was present within his physical body. This sickness which Lazarus would experience within his physical body would ultimately result in death, however, it would be death itself that would eradicate and decimate that sickness which was present within his physical body. It would be through death and ultimately resurrection that Lazarus would indeed be raised up to health and to wholeness—and not only to health and wholeness but also to new life.

 

            Oh the more I read and consider the narrative of Lazarus as well as that of Jesus the more I am brought face to face with the fact that in the life of Lazarus it would be sickness that would ultimately result in death while in the life of Jesus it would be suffering that would ultimately result in death. There would be those who would read these two narratives and expect the Father to show up in the midst of sickness and to show up in the midst of suffering and yet the ultimate truth and reality is that the Father would neither show up in sickness nor would He show up in suffering. Not only this but the sickness which was present within the physical body of Lazarus would indeed result in his dying and being buried in the grave for four days while the suffering of Jesus would result in His being crucified and being buried in the grave until the third day. Both of these men would indeed experience death and both of these men would indeed be buried in a grave, however, both of these men would experience resurrection from the grave according to the divine will, plan and purpose of the Father. How absolutely incredible it is to read the words found in these two chapters for although the Father would not show up in the midst of sickness and suffering, and although both would ultimately result in death it would be the Father who would raise up both of these men from death to life after being buried in the grave. The Father would not show up and deliver Jesus His only begotten Son from suffering and Jesus would not show up and heal Lazarus of the sickness that was present in his body and in the absence of the Father and the Son death would ultimately occur.

 

            IN THE ABSENCE OF THE SON—DEATH! IN THE ABSENCE OF THE FATHER—DEATH! If there is one thing I find so absolutely incredible when reading the words found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John it’s how in the absence of the Son death occurred. Not only this but in the absence of the Father death would also occur within the life of the Son. Jesus would indeed hear that Lazarus whom He loved and considered to be a friend was sick and yet instead of immediately coming to the rescue and aid of His beloved friend He would remain and abide where He was for another two full days. It would be during those two days Lazarus would ultimately die and his body would be placed in the grave. What’s more is that for four days Lazarus’ lifeless body would remain within that tomb and grave before Jesus would show up outside the grave. Oh it is truly something worth thinking about how in the absence of the Lord Jesus Christ that sickness which was present within the physical body of Lazarus would ultimately result in His dying and His body being buried in the midst of the grave. For four days his physical body would lie in the grave before Jesus would show up which is quite interesting for not only did Jesus not show up in sickness but it even appeared he would not show up in death either. Imagine being Mary and Martha and considering the fact that their faith might very well have been shaken in the depths of their hearts and souls as it would appear that Jesus would not show up during what was perhaps their greatest hour of need. Their brother Lazarus was indeed sick and that sickness would be on the verge of death and it would be in the absence of Jesus Lazarus would indeed die and his lifeless body be buried in the midst of the grave. When Jesus, however, would show up—even though He would show up at the graveside four days after Lazarus had been buried—He would show up to raise Lazarus from death to life.

 

            Now you might be wondering how and why I would choose to include the narrative and account of Lazarus when writing of Jesus standing before Pilate and I completely understand why you would ask such a question. The truth of the matter is that although Jesus would not show up and heal Lazarus of the sickness which was present in His body, and although it would be in the absence of Jesus Lazarus would indeed die it would be in the presence of Jesus when resurrection would take place. Oh we must needs recognize and understand that healing was never the answer nor was it ever the divine will, plan and purpose of the Father for Lazarus as the Father had purposed and designed Lazarus to experience death and then be raised from death to life on the fourth day. Lazarus would indeed be dead and buried in the grave for four days before Jesus would show up and it would be through resurrection the sickness which was present in his physical body would be entirely and altogether destroyed. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture it’s that death and not healing would be the means and instrument through which Jesus would manifest and show forth the glory of God in the life of Lazarus. Despite the fact that Mary and Martha thought, believed and felt Jesus should have showed up while Lazarus was still alive it would be the divine will of the Father that Jesus show up in the midst of death. In all reality I would dare say that it would be through death the Father would ultimately destroy this sickness within the body of Lazarus and it would be through resurrection Jesus would restore Lazarus unto this world and unto his sisters.

 

            If there is one thing we must needs understand concerning the narrative of Lazarus it’s that it is not only a powerful picture of our own lives but it is also a powerful picture of the Lord Jesus Christ who would Himself also die. There is not a doubt in my mind that death was the ultimate instrument within the heart and mind of the Father to destroy this sickness which was present within the physical body of Lazarus. Although this sickness would threaten and ultimately claim the life of Lazarus we must needs recognize and understand that it would be through death the Father would destroy this sickness which was present within his physical body. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this as it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding this sickness which was present within the physical body of Lazarus. In all reality I would dare say that it was the ultimate design and will of the Father the whole time to through death eradicate and destroy this sickness which was present in his physical body. What’s more is that when Jesus raised Lazarus from death to life on the fourth day He would undoubtedly raise him without any trace of that sickness which was previously present in that body. There is not a doubt in my mind that when Jesus raised Lazarus from death to life He did so with him being completely and entirely healed and made whole of that sickness which had ultimately taken his life. With this being said, however, I would like to take an entirely different spin and declare that I don’t believe that it was this sickness which claimed and took the life of Lazarus but rather it was the Father Himself who allowed Lazarus to experience death that through death this sickness might be destroyed and eradicated from his physical body. I would dare say that it was the Father and not this sickness which ultimately caused the death of Lazarus—not only that His glory might be manifested but that when he was raised from death to life his physical body would be entirely and altogether free from this sickness.

 

            More often than not we think and believe that healing is the ultimate answer for sickness and yet through the narrative of Lazarus we discover that death was the ultimate instrument used by the Father—not to heal him of this sickness but that through death this sickness might be destroyed. I firmly believe that when Lazarus died it was more than his physical person that died but it was also the sickness which was present within his physical body that also died. I am absolutely convinced that when Lazarus died and his body lie buried in the grave he would be entirely and altogether delivered from that sickness which had previously been present within his body. Oh it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this as it is not only a powerful picture of us ourselves and how death is absolutely critical and crucial in our lives but it is also a powerful picture of Jesus Himself who came in the flesh. If you take the time to read the New Testament epistles you will find and discover that sin is that which plagues, corrupts, destroys and threatens our existence. It is sine present within our hearts, within our minds and within our souls that threatens every area of our lives and desperately needs to be destroyed and eradiated. If you read the New Testament epistles you will find the apostle Paul writing and emphatically declaring that the ultimate answer for sin within our hearts and lives is death. We live this life in the form of flesh and blood and our physical bodies are entirely and altogether corrupted by sin and it is this sin which threatens our very existence. It is the apostle Paul who recognized and understood this and emphatically declared that we must not only put to death those sinful members within our physical bodies but we must also count ourselves crucified with Christ and buried together with Him in baptism.

 

            The reason I feel the narrative of Lazarus is so incredible and vital in our understanding of the suffering and death of Jesus is that just as death would be the instrument that would destroy that sickness which was present in the flesh of Lazarus so also would death be the divine instrument in which sin would be destroyed in the flesh of the Lord Jesus Christ. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth that it was absolutely necessary for the Lord Jesus to come in the nature of man and take upon Himself the form of flesh and blood that in the flesh He might not only suffer but also through in the flesh sin might be destroyed. The apostle Paul emphatically declared that the Father made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us that through him sin might be entirely and altogether destroyed in the flesh. Oh it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome and powerful truth that it was entirely and altogether necessary for Christ to come in the flesh that in the flesh of His body sin might be destroyed. Just as death was the divine instrument used in the hand of the Father to destroy that sickness which was present within the physical body of Lazarus so also was death the divine instrument through which the Father might destroy sin once and for all. What’s more is that this death is essentially two-fold as there was the initial and original of the death of sin in the flesh of the Lord Jesus Christ and there is the second death of sin which is experienced within our own lives. What’s more is that there is this two-fold death which takes place within our hearts and lives as there is the first death which is manifested when we are baptized and profess outwardly that we are dead to sin, that we are buried together with Christ in death, and that our old man is indeed dead and gone. There is a second death which takes place and it is not merely a second death as a singular event but rather a continual death and putting to death of our members within our physical bodies which are contrary and against the person of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.

 

            This concept of death within the physical body and person of the Lord Jesus Christ is entirely and altogether necessary for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that it was necessary for the Lord Jesus Christ to suffer and die. With this being said we must needs understand that it was not only necessary for Him to die as an offering and propitiation for us that atonement might be made but it was also necessary for Him to die that through His death in the flesh sin might be destroyed in in His physical flesh. It is indeed true that the Lord Jesus Christ would suffer and die in the flesh that He might be an atonement and propitiation for us in the sight of the Father but it was also necessary for the Lord Jesus Christ to suffer and die in the flesh that in the person and form of His flesh sin might be destroyed. The true and ultimate answer for sin as it pertained to the Lord Jesus Christ was indeed death for it would be through His death upon the cross that sin would ultimately be destroyed in the sight of the Father. There was absolutely no way around this particular truth and we must needs recognize and understand that the Lord Jesus Christ needed to die in the flesh that through His suffering and death in the flesh sin might ultimately be destroyed.

 

            We must needs pay attention to this and recognize it for it helps us understand how and why Pontius Pilate could not release Jesus nor deliver Him from the cruel intentions of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of the people. Despite the fact that Pilate found no fault in Jesus and despite the fact that Pilate sought to release Him it be the divine will of the Father that He suffer and ultimately die that through His death sin might once and for all be destroyed. Oh we have a great need to recognize and pay close attention to this as it calls and draws our attention to the fact that it was absolutely and entirely necessary for Jesus to suffer in the flesh and even to be sentenced to death for through His death sin itself might be destroyed. There was absolutely no other way for sin to be destroyed than for it to be destroyed in the flesh—and not only destroyed in the flesh but destroyed in the flesh through death. Just as death was the ultimate instrument and answer to destroy and eradicate sickness within the physical body of Lazarus so also was death the ultimate instrument and answer to destroy sin in the flesh and physical person of the Lord Jesus Christ. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this as it calls and draws our attention to just how absolutely necessary it was for the Lord Jesus Christ to not only suffer in the flesh but also to be condemned to death. It is truly something worth thinking about and considering when thinking about the Lord Jesus Christ being delivered by Pontius Pilate from the suffering and death which religion demanded and yet there was absolutely no way for Pilate to go around this for to do so would be to go against the will of the Father—even if he himself wasn’t aware of the Father nor His will. What’s more is that it is absolutely necessary to acknowledge the fact that it wasn’t just religion which demanded that Christ die but it was also the Law of Moses that demanded Him die. Although the Law didn’t specifically demand that Christ the Messiah die per se it demanded that the offender and transgressor die and that sin be punished.

 

            As I prepare to bring this writing to a close it is absolutely necessary that we call and draw our attention to the fact that it was absolutely necessary for Pilate to not only profess the proclaim his finding no fault in Jesus but also seeking to release Him for it would demonstrate the innocence of this Nazarene who stood before him. With this being said we must needs recognize that it was never the will of the Father that Jesus be delivered from suffering nor delivered from death. Itself. It was the divine will of the Father that Jesus the Christ suffer in the flesh as well as be killed and crucified for it would be death itself that would be the answer to the problem of sin. The only way the Father could in fact deal with sin was through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ in the flesh as it would be in that flesh Jesus would ultimately deal with sin. An actual physical body needed to be prepared and made ready for Jesus to inhabit and dwell for it would be in that physical body sin would be destroyed once and for all. Oh that we recognize and understand just how incredibly significant this truly is for it calls and draws our attention to the fact the Lord Jesus Christ needed to not only come in the flesh but also suffer and die in the flesh that in the body of that flesh He might indeed destroy sin. Just as it would be through death that the sickness within the physical body of Lazarus might be destroyed so also would it be through death sin would be destroyed in the flesh of Jesus. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this for it helps us to understand Jesus’ standing before Pontius Pilate and how He was not only pronounced as being innocent and there being no fault within Him but also how He was ultimately sentenced to death.

There is something truly incredible truth surrounding the words found in this passage of Scripture is that as Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate He was already sentenced to death—not by man but by the eternal Father. Even before Jesus took upon Himself the form of human flesh He would indeed carry the sentence of death within His physical flesh and within His body. From the moment Jesus was born of the virgin Mary He was destined to die and there was absolutely nothing Pilate or anyone else could do to stop, thwart or prevent that from taking place. It would be the Lord Jesus Christ was destined, ordained and purposed by the eternal Father to suffer in the flesh and to die for it would be through His death in the flesh that sin would be ultimately destroyed. Not only this but it would be through the prophet Isaiah that we learn how it was by His stripes we are healed. Oh that we would recognize and understand that just as death was the instrument through which Lazarus would be healed of the sickness which plagued his physical body so also would death be the instrument in the life of Jesus through which sin and sickness would be dealt with. We have a great need to pay close attention to the tremendous significance of Jesus needing to come in the form of human flesh—and not only come in the form of human flesh but also to suffer in the flesh and die in the flesh that through death sin and sickness might be destroyed. What’s more is that it would be through His resurrection that death, hell and the grave would be overcome and triumphed over. Oh that we would recognize this tremendous truth and that we would acknowledge the tremendous need for Jesus to come in the flesh—and not only to come in the flesh but also to suffer in the flesh, to experience death in the flesh and to be raised from death to life on the third day that sin and sickness might be triumphed over as well as death, hell and the graves

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