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The Divinity of Christ, part 15

Aug 23, 2019

Raising Lazarus and the deity of Jesus Christ

In demonstrating that Jesus is God, we have seen that Yahweh-God says that He will not give His glory to anybody else. To stress the point: only God is deserving of God’s glory. It belongs to no one else. Let us now examine John 11.

John 11:1 Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.

 2 (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)

 3 Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.

 4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, …

Okay, let’s stop. We all know the rest of the story: how that Jesus did not go to Lazarus immediately. Instead, He delayed going for two additional days, which meant that by the time Jesus got there, that Lazarus had already been dead for four days.

Among the Jews of that time, it was believed that until 48 hours—or maybe it was 36 hours—some period of time had to elapse because they believed that a person might still be in a coma and could be revived, but after that, they were dead with no possibility of being revived.

Let’s go ahead and read this entire passage of the raising of Lazarus to keep it all in context, and to show you some other insights along the way.

 5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.

 6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.

Jesus knew what He was about to do, and He also knew that it would not be considered a bona fide miracle unless Lazarus had been dead well past the time when he might possibly be revived.

 7 Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again.

 8 His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?

Yes, the unbelieving Jews had tried to stone Him for blasphemy for claiming His equality with Yahweh. That was in John 10 and we discussed that previously in this series.

 9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.

 10 But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.

 11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.

 12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.

 13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.

 14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.

Here we have another demonstration of the omniscience of Jesus, another proof of His divinity.

 15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.

 16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.

Isn’t this so typical of Thomas? Doubting Thomas. First, he says: “Hey, Lord, they almost stoned you the last time we were over in Judea, and now you tell us that Lazarus is dead and yet you still want to travel back over there. I guess we’ll all be dead then when the Jewish officials get a hold of us.” Poor Thomas! Always slow to believe!

 17 Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.

 18 Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off:

 19 And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.

 20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.

 21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

 22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.

Do you see the faith of this woman? What a contrast between her faith and that of Thomas! You know, poor Martha often gets a bum rap because she went and did the dishes while her sister Mary preferred to skip the dishes so she could spend more time sitting at the feet of the Master.

But just look at Martha’s faith. She says to Christ: I know if you had been here, you would have healed him, and he would not have died. But then she adds words implying that she believed that Jesus could even raise him from the dead right now. And Jesus thereby tested that faith.

 23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.

 24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

What is unspoken but implied here is the added thought of Martha  “…but Lord, I know that you could raise him even now.”

 25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

We discussed the resurrection earlier in connection with the deity of Christ, so we won’t digress now.

27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

Once again, we see the phrase “the son of God,” which was understood by the people in this context to be a claim to deity, as we saw earlier when the Jews sought to stone Him.

 28 And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee.

 29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him.

 30 Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him.

 31 The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there.

 32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

 33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,

 34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.

 35 Jesus wept.

 36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!

 37 And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?

 38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.

 39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.

 40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?

 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.

 42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.

 43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.

 44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

In this short story we have pointed out several proofs of the divinity of Jesus, but there is still another which you may not have caught. Let me repeat verse 40:

40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?

Remember how we also read in Isaiah 42:8 that Yahweh is His name and He will not give His glory to anyone else. Keeping that in mind, let us return to verse 3 in this story of the raising of Lazarus, because in verse 4, did anyone notice that I skipped a phrase as I read it the first time?  I did that deliberately, so it would have more of an impact as we put it all together.

3 Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.

 4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, [and here is what I had omitted above] that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.

The Father does not share His glory with another. Yet here is Jesus plainly declaring that this miracle that He is about to perform will be done so that the Son of God may be glorified through it. Therefore—and listen carefully—if Jesus is not very God Himself, then He is a blasphemous usurper of God’s glory and He ought to have been stoned as the unbelieving Jews tried to do.

But praise the Most High God, Jesus is God manifested in the flesh! (1Timothy 3:16) In John 17 we will find further light being shed upon this doctrine of God’s glory. John 17 is pregnant with powerful evidence of the divinity of Jesus Christ.

John 17:1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

Being one with God, and being God Himself, Jesus had every right to ask the Father to glorify Him.

 2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, …

There is another evidence of His deity in that all power—and authority, as other versions render it—all power and authority in heaven and on earth is given to Christ, including the power of Him as the Creator-Word to sit as judge of the creatures whom He has created.

2…that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

Did you ever consider this fact: that raising someone from the dead is NOT a proof of deity? After all, the prophet Elijah raised the widow’s son from the dead. During the past 2,000 years of the Pentecostal Age, there have been numerous saints of God who have raised people from the dead.

The fact is, though, that those who were raised from the dead, all eventually died. The proof of deity is the power to give someone immortality, and only God can do that. Jesus continues with His High Priestly prayer.

 3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

 4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

 5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self…

Is Christ a usurper by claiming this equality of glory? Either He is a usurper, or He is God.

5…glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

Once again, we see in that last clause the proof of His pre-existence and eternality, but not as Jesus, the begotten Son, but as what?? …as the Word! "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God." (John 1:1) Let us turn to Philippians 2 as long as we are talking about the equality of Godhood of the Father and the Son.

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

In this passage, Paul is exhorting believers to imitate the humility of Christ. To illustrate just how humble Christ was, Paul reminds the believers that here was a man in whom dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily and yet, He humbled Himself to take on the form of a servant. It was not robbery; it was not usurping God’s glory. Jesus had a right to the glory of God because He is God. But He became a man…

 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

There is much more in the way of evidence for the divinity of Jesus Christ which I will share with you next time. Until then, we will close with this.

Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

What is the antecedent of the pronoun “he?”  In other words, what word, or whom does the pronoun “he” refer back to? God, right?! So, if we reinsert the nouns in place of the pronoun and the pronominal adjective “his,” then it would read like this:

“to feed the church of God, which God has purchased with God’s own blood.”

Which clearly demonstrates the deity of Jesus Christ. But yet someone will say: Well, God is spirit. How can the Spirit God have blood? The obvious answer forces any reasonable, truth-seeking person to understand that Jesus must be God.

God became man and thereby God shed His own blood. But if a person is being blinded by God to this truth of the deity of Christ, then we will find such a person having to twist or distort or simply to ignore the dozens of compelling passages in the Bible which practically shout out to us that JESUS IS GOD! 

Click here for The Divinity of Christ, part 14


Category: Teaching