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Sunday, November 25, 2018

posted Nov 26, 2018, 9:37 AM by Site Administrator




John 11:1-57

Key Verses 11:25, 26


Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies and, whoever lives and believes in me will never die do you believe this?”


First, “This sickness will not end in death” (1-16). Look at verses 1 through 3. When Mary and Martha saw that their sick brother Lazarus was not getting any better, they did not hesitate to send for Jesus. They had such complete confidence in Jesus' love for them that they didn't beg Him for help at all; simply, they informed him, saying, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” They thought that, at this, Jesus would cancel everything in his schedules, come to them and heal him right away. But at this, Jesus' response was different. He said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Wow! Jesus had really an optimistic view of everything. At the same time, he had such a burning passion to reveal the glory of God in any circumstances.


          The passage specifies that Jesus loved them. Martha and Mary thought that in love, Jesus would come to them immediately and heal Lazarus. But instead, Jesus intentionally stayed where he was for two more days; as a result, Mary and Martha had a really hard time, watching their beloved brother suffering from the pain and dying moment by moment; maybe, they kept checking out the time, waiting for Jesus to arrive. But Jesus didn't come, and eventually, Lazarus died and was buried, and all their hope was gone, and they were utterly frustrated, sorrowful and painful. Here, we see that Jesus' love is different than human love. In love, Jesus wanted to give his beloved people something really good, and for this purpose, he was willing to let them go through all these pains and sorrows, even Lazarus experiencing the pain of dying. Often in the same way, we are discouraged, because despite our prayer for help, things do not get better. But we must understand that Jesus' love is different than human love; his love is not just to give us a comfortable life; rather, in love, he wants to give us something really good, and for this purpose, he is willing to let his beloved people go through pains, sometimes extreme pains and sorrows. His love is indeed divine.


          Then, what did he want to give them? Jesus said, “No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it.” He wanted to reveal the glory of God to them; he wanted to reveal His own glory to his beloved people - who he truly is. Why was this so important? Once they saw Jesus' true glory, once they saw who Jesus truly was - the Word who was with God in the beginning - they would be really amazed and their life would never be the same. Their attitude toward Jesus would change completely; they would indeed worship Jesus with all their heart and soul. For this reason, Jesus stayed where He was 2 more days, even if it meant that they might question His love for them or even blame Him for the loss of their brother. Because Jesus really loved them and wanted to give them something really good, he was misunderstood by his own beloved people, but for their sake, he was willing to bear this pain also. Indeed, it was his lonely battle to show his real love to them.


Because Jesus loves us, he wants to give us the very best - he wants to reveal his glory to us. How? In our real life, in our real problems, in our life's real challenges! Maybe, we may expect him to give us a smooth path with not too many problems - in our school matter, in our job matter, in our family matter, even in our sheep matter. But in that way, we never grow and we become just naive people, so useless, having no understanding of human life, having no true knowledge of God's person and God's will, but just going through the motions - that's not what Jesus wants us to be. He wants us to be great as children of God with such integrity, maturity and beauty. So, he is willing to let us go through pains and sorrows; he wants us to experience and know him in our real life. When we see God’s glory in our real life, it is indeed amazing, powerful and beautiful; it is wonderful. There, we realize the surpassing greatness of seeing God’s glory, the surpassing greatness of knowing Him and serving Him. In view of the greatness of seeing God’s glory, all other things we once held so dear suddenly lose their value. Our pursuits of finding the perfect spouse, securing early retirement, and raising a happy family all become dull and meaningless; our view of everything changes - how we see God, ourselves, other people, and life itself changes. Jesus wants us to see his glory in our real life.


So after two days passed, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” But they said, “But Rabbi, a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?” At this, Jesus gave them a very important teaching. Look at verses 9 and 10. Let's read these verses together.


Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light.”


There are 12 hours of daylight, and only after 12 hours of daylight is complete can 12 hours of night come. We never have to worry about night falling at 11 o’clock in the morning. Night comes only when the day is over. So in the same way, God has granted each person a certain span of life. Until that time is over, we will not die. So as we serve God’s mission, our life will not end because of some accident or someone’s anger, but only when God’s mission is over. Here, Jesus encourages his disciples to walk by day so that they will not stumble; if they walk by night, they will stumble. Right now, the disciples were walking by night, because their decision to not go back to Judea was made based on their fear of death or their fear of the Jews; their whole struggle was to somehow avoid any danger and survive; when fear was controlling them this way, they didn't know what they must do and how they must live their lives, just like a man walking by night. When they lived their lives that way, certainly, it was just a matter of time before they would make a wrong decision, and then stumble. On the contrary, Jesus was walking by day, because his decision of going back to Judea was done by his absolute faith in God's sovereignty upon his life. He knew and believed that his life was in God's hands, not at the mercy of the angry Jews. At that time, he knew what to do and how to live his life very clearly. He must go Judea to reveal the glory of God.


We must not walk by night, but by day; our decisions for our major, or career or marriage must not be made by our fear, but by our absolute faith in God. Many people are so worried and fearful that if they pursue God, their life would be ruined and that they would be losers in the world without a career; so, out of this unbelief and fear, they refuse to make true commitment to God, but decide to pursue career and success in the world - they walk by night. God is good, and He has a good plan for us; if we trust in him, He will not disappoint us. Our decisions must be based on our absolute faith in God's goodness, God's provision, protection and blessing. At that time, we know what to do and how to live our life.


Jesus said to the disciples, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” But his disciples took Jesus’ words literally and said, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” They really didn’t want to go to Judea. At this, Jesus said to them, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” Here we see that Jesus not only wanted to help Mary and Martha but also his disciples. They were committed to him, but he knew their limit. They were limited by death, and because of that, their life of faith was limited also. So, by using this event, Jesus wanted to help them overcome the fear of death so that they would love God and serve God's mission freely. It is indeed good for us to be Jesus' sheep, because he knows our weaknesses and limits, and how to help us overcome them. Under Jesus' care and guidance, certainly, we will all grow as mighty warriors for God's kingdom work overcoming all our weaknesses and limits, even death.


          At this, Thomas said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” Thomas really didn’t want to die; he didn’t want to go to Judea. But he did not want to desert Jesus either. Despite such great danger, he would remain loyal to Jesus, even to death. Even though he was spiritually immature and even blind, he was loyal to Jesus. That was the expression of his love for Jesus. Then, Jesus could lead him continually, and Thomas would grow up as a great man of God.


Before meeting Jesus, I dreamed of being happy through the love and acceptance of other people, but in reality, my selfish and self-centered nature only made me unlovable. I did not like who I was and desperately wanted to be someone else with better qualities. In high school, I pursued theatre arts and performed in many shows to gain acceptance and praise but at the end of the day I was still the same person inside, and it seemed I was only slowly getting worse. In college, I compared myself to others and concluded that I could not stand a chance of being successful in this world. Soon, God sent me his servant who taught me the bible. Then, John 4:35 opened my eyes to look up from my current state and instead focus on the harvest that was ready to be picked. Through that verse, I lifted my eyes from myself, and accepted God’s calling to join Gods harvesting team at CSULB as a bible teacher. God began working so fast in my life, and mission life was very action-packed. Each week I could see how God was shaping my perspective and life according to the word of God. I enjoyed mission life and served it wholeheartedly and passionately, eventually teaching up to 23 bible studies one week. God had entered my life giving me meaning, purpose, hope and a future. However, I soon began to struggle with the temptations this world offered, especially the desire to finally to be accepted by others and peers. I thought I was missing out on a fun and fulfilling life. But after trying it out, I only saw that nothing compared to my life in Jesus. So I would come back to my shepherd, only to get tempted and leave in shame again. This happened several times.


In the summer of 2017, my father went to the ER several times. We were told that four of his arteries were blocked, he had kidney failure and multiple myeloma cancer. He was put on hospice and given two months to live. I feared for my fathers life and his salvation, so I called my shepherdess for her prayers and help. I returned to bible study and began to attend worship service again. My Fathers sickness led me to return to Jesus, with a new struggle to really hold onto him alone as a matter of life or death.


I returned to campus mission, now at CSU Fullerton, and that fall, at the bible conference, I was restored through communion where Jesus showed me he wanted me to be one with him again. Missionary John graciously asked the church to begin to pray for my fathers healing so that his sickness would not end in death. Amazingly, my fathers lab results started showing improvement despite no chemo or treatment for his cancer and he graduated from hospice. My father also began to pray for himself and he credits his healing to Gods grace in answering his prayers. I was amazed by the grace of God and was inspired by this miracle in my father’s life. Hope in Jesus began to rise up in me again. This New Year, I chose 1 Corinthians 15 verses 1-2 as my New Year’s key verse which says, “Now brothers I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise you have believed in vain.” I wanted to build up my life on the gospel and to experience practical salvation from my condition and problems by holding onto the word of God. I picked up hope to restore my life again through the Gospel. The spring semester of 2018, God helped me pick up momentum again in shepherding at CSUF. I wanted to give my heart to campus mission, so after work, I fished and had bible study on campus 2 - 4 hours each day.


Suddenly my fathers health condition began to get worse. The myeloma spread all across my father’s chest and the power of death began to creep into my heart. But during worship service, the drama on John 10a moved me to tears as Jesus the Shepherd powerfully defended his sheep from the thieves and robbers and changed their names from Coward to Braveheart. Through the message I was comforted by Jesus’ rod and staff. I was reminded that Jesus is my shepherd and I am his sheep so I let go of my grief and fear and put my trust in Jesus my good shepherd who leads me to green pastures. My father’s condition remained complicated and my father and mother were attacked by the wolves of death, hopelessness, doubt, crooked thinking and despair. But in the following Sunday service through John 10b, I was inspired again to follow my shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep and I picked up heart to spend my life for the Gospel, defending Jesus’ sheep. I began to pour out my heart for my parents and my students instead of myself and my desires. As a result, I began to teach more passionately and prayerfully in bible studies, struggling to listen to my sheep and what they needed and praying accordingly. I served my father more sacrificially and struggled to be more compassionate and understanding towards my mother. I could see how God was using my father’s sickness to purify me of my selfish and self-centered nature and raise me up with a sacrificial and giving nature for others. God used this sickness to lead me to my own resurrection. Jesus has never left my side. Because of Jesus, I can keep walking strong and not stumble; I can grow up as a woman of God and a powerful, effective servant who can reveal Gods glory. The entire time I should have trusted in Jesus’ resurrection power and love to change me from a selfish, self-centered people-pleasing-person into a sacrificial servant of God. Looking back, I see how nothing has ended in death, failure or sin. Instead, Jesus has the final say which is that my father’s sickness will not end in death. My life and my sheep’s sin will not end in sin and failure. No it is for Gods glory so that Gods Son may be glorified through it. I will remember Jesus who is the resurrection and believe that in him, all challenges will not end in death but in Gods glory.


Second, “I am the resurrection and the life” (17-27). Look at verse 17. When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. There were professional mourners, mourning so professionally, and everyone in the house looked so sad and depressed. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” As soon as Martha saw Jesus, the first words that came out of her mouth were her complaints that Jesus had not come earlier; she simply blamed Jesus for being late. She was really sorry that Jesus was late when she needed his help the most. But after blaming him that way, she was sorry for him also. So, she added, “But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” What was Martha talking about? She herself did not know what she

was talking about.         


At this, Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Amazingly this is what Jesus was planning the entire time. But she understood Jesus' words as a theological expression. She answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” That's what she had heard about from others. It was better than nothing, but practically, it did not help her at all in the

situation - she was still utterly sorrowful; it was because that theology was nothing but head knowledge - not real to her yet.


Look at verses 25 and 26. Let’s read this verse together:


Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”


Jesus was not satisfied at all with her head knowledge of the Bible. Instead, he showed her who he was. “I am the resurrection and the life.” Jesus is the resurrection and the life. This is an amazing proclamation. What does it mean that Jesus is the resurrection? It means that Jesus is everything of the resurrection - I am the resurrection. It means that the resurrection is about Jesus, for Jesus and by Jesus. Jesus is the Giver of the resurrection, Originator of the resurrection and Owner of the resurrection. The resurrection happens because he does it! The resurrection happens because he endorses on it. Usually, saying, “He will rise again,” is what we can do to comfort those mourners. But when Jesus says, “He will rise again,” it is a different story, because he is the Author of the resurrection. As the resurrection, he does the resurrection at his will anytime and anyone he desires. Who can this person, “the resurrection” be? Who can this person who does the resurrection at his will be? He is God! “I am the resurrection.” This is Jesus' proclamation as God.


Jesus also says, “I am the life.” The expression, “the life,” shows that Jesus is everything of life. He is the Giver of life, Cause of life, Creator of life, and Owner of life. The resurrection and the life go side by side; the resurrection can be there because there is life. If the dead are raised without life, then, they are nothing but zombies - they are so cursed and miserable. By the way, here “life” Jesus talks about is, of course, ‘zoe.’ We will have the resurrection at the last day by Jesus and for Jesus, and we will live forever. But this life is not about the extension of this mundane life of eating and drinking and marrying, but zoe, that truly fulfilling, happy and meaningful life - we will live that kind of life forever. Jesus gives this life, zoe at his will. Who might this person be? He is God! Then, what kind of life can we live in Jesus? Jesus says, “He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.” The phrase “even though he dies” refers to the worst circumstance that could happen to you. In our spiritual life, we want to enjoy this new life in Jesus freely forever, without having any difficulty. But often, due to our own sins, or doubt, or because of life's challenges and burdens, we lose all our strength, vision, and passion for God; we die; sometimes, we feel like worn out batteries-- no life in us. But things do not end there for those who believe in Jesus, because Jesus revives us; he gives us life power through our faith over and over. We have experienced this so many times. We died so many times, but each time, when we believed in Jesus - through the word of God we come to believe that Jesus is our good shepherd and that he is leading us to green pasture, then, our spirits are renewed and our visions are refreshed, and we are revived; through deep prayer, we come to realize that Jesus has a good plan for us and that in him we have really a beautiful future, and we are overjoyed despite all practical challenges; we experience the resurrection. This is what all of us have experienced in our life of faith and mission. So many challenges have been there, academically, financially, and even spiritually. We have been pressed down so much from every side, but we have not been destroyed. By faith in Jesus, we rose again over and over. We are indeed invincible, more than conquerors through our faith in Jesus Christ, the Resurrection and the Life!


We have experienced many resurrections in Jesus by faith. We want to enjoy this new life in Jesus to the full continually, never experiencing spiritual death again. Then, how? Now Jesus gives us his answer, saying, “He who lives and believes in me will never die.” By believing in him, we live. Challenges will come; you may have persecutions and sufferings; you may be poor financially; you may have some health issues. But your spirit is never bothered; you are never discouraged, but you always have such fervor for Jesus; you always love Jesus and enjoy such deep consolation in your heart even in extreme challenges that you are always with God – you never die. This is the kind of life Jesus wants us to live - the life of resurrection, and the life that never dies.


After this, Jesus challenged Martha personally, saying, “Do you believe this?” Do you believe that Jesus is the resurrection and the life? Do you believe that you can enjoy this kind of glorious life of resurrection by faith in him? Do you believe that you can live and never die by believing in him? After revealing himself to us as the resurrection and the life he challenges us, “Do you believe this?” After showing us what a glorious life we can enjoy in him by faith, he challenges us personally, “Do you believe this?” What is your answer?


Martha answered, “Yes, Lord. I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.” She should have stopped, after saying, “Yes, Lord.” But by adding some more comment, she showed that she had totally missed the point. She believed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God who was to come into the world. That's what she knew for sure. But when a real challenge occurred in her life, when she faced the death of her brother, she was powerless and hopeless. And she complained and blamed Jesus for being late and not helping her. When she did not know Jesus as the resurrection and the life, when she didn't know Jesus as her God truly, her attitude toward Jesus was limited. Her service to Jesus was limited. She was not wholehearted; she was not offering her whole life to him yet. That's why Jesus wanted to reveal his glory to her so that her eyes might be truly opened to him, and thereby, she would really worship him.


During the time when Martha was sad and bothered at the fact that Jesus did not come soon to save her brother from death, he encouraged her as well as challenged her to believe that he was the resurrection and the life.


In view of this part of the passage, my new life began by faith in Jesus. I had lived my life with Jesus because of his resurrection power. I was happy that Jesus gave me new life, and had brought me to himself. Jesus’ life giving power helped me cross over from my old dead life to a new life in him. I began teaching college students the Bible by faith in God. In my journey with God I also had died many times due to financial challenges. After having bible studies with students which I had spent months teaching them and praying for them, I had witnessed them reject God’s will. I died. Sometimes I had died when I did not do so well in learning my school subjects. A couple of times I had been laid off from work. Sometimes life at home was challenging as well. My family members were not always supportive of my new life, because to them, I seemed to have an excuse of why I did not always visit them when they wanted and why I did not financially support them all the time. For some odd reason, at the beginning of my Christian life, I had thought that my new life with Jesus would be easy-going all the time—not having any new difficulties in this new life. Jesus would be superman, flying to my rescue at every obstacle I faced. This was not the reality all the time. Like Martha, I wondered where was Jesus in all of these moments. Why did he allow me to go through a lot of moments where I had died? Sometimes I cried out to God in my agony of distress, and sometimes he did not respond to my questions. Rather, he kept giving me his words to believe him. He revived my spirit to live for him.


Currently I work a lot, and sometimes 6 days a week. My life is very busy with duties and responsibilities. Sometimes I feel like I have little time to rest in between each new duty. I have one day out of the week when I go to campus to find students to teach the Bible. On top of that, I have online training courses to complete for work. I am continually bombarded with task after task, duty after duty. I also have my responsibilities at home. I sometimes wonder how long will this struggle lasts. Sadly, I cannot shut my brain off from the tasks of daily life, and sometimes I cannot sleep peacefully. Sometimes my daughter wakes up at 2am for no reason, wanting to stay up, and make a lot of noise. As a result, I get a few hours of sleep. I had been scared that I may lose my job, because the few hours I sleep would affect my job performance, which means I can possibly cause car accidents to happen. As I go through day to day this way, I feel my life is not getting any easier.


As I examine my Christian life, what I found in my Christian life was that Jesus was faithful at reviving me. Although he allowed me go through moments of dying, he remained faithful at allowing me to live again. I realize that a large part of my struggle to live in this new life had been not to die--not to be discouraged, not to make mistakes, but I could not always avoid those moments. However, Jesus still remained as the resurrection and the life, reviving my soul to get up again, to live again. At each new reviving movement, I learned something new about God, and something new about myself. I had been revived just as much as I had been equally died.


Jesus says that he is the resurrection and the life in my life. This means that he continues to give me resurrection and life. I have no reason to be afraid of dying, nor be so preoccupied with wanting my present situation to change. In fact, I am learning how I can exercise a believing attitude. I had tasted the joy of believing even when my situation is limited. From having a bombarded schedule, I had learned how much I had depended on my strength, on my understanding, including the time I have to do God’s work. The more I am limited the more God expresses his great glory, his amazing goodness in my life. I don’t need to worry about how my life is bombarded with a lot of tasks, and responsibilities, because those are moments when his resurrection power is launched more powerfully and more dramatically.


 When I had looked too tired to work on some days, one of my co-workers who is training me would advise me to take a 30-minute nap in my car, while he work on cars by himself so that I would be revived. Believe me, I would take his advice. I recently had to repent of my negative mindset about how busy my life is and about how little time I have on campus to find students. When I had the negative mindset I was behaving as though Jesus was not the resurrection and the life, and not the Lord on his throne. This is the day I change my negative response to Jesus when there are life challenges to words and thoughts of faith. Even though I will die at times due to ordeals, I am not going to remain in that moment forever. I will rise again, so I do not need to be afraid of life’s difficulties and crave for a convenient life, because I will live and never die. This is the confidence that Jesus gives to me so I can overcome the world. Because of Jesus being the resurrection and the life, my life has been adventurous, action pack and filled with the glory of God. I thank God for this new life I have for I would not trade it for anything else.


One Word: Jesus is the resurrection and the life in my life.


Third, “Lazarus, come out!” (28-57). Look at verse 28. As soon as Mary heard that Jesus had come, she got up quickly and went to him. When she saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Like Martha, she too expressed her complaints that Jesus was late when she needed his help the most. Jesus saw Mary and all the Jews that had come with her weeping, and he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. When he saw how much they were suffering under the power of death, he was deeply troubled. They really needed to see the glory of God, and driving them to the corner was not easy for Jesus to do; letting them go through such pains and sorrows was not easy. Verse 35 reads, “Jesus wept.” This reveals how painful it was for him to push them to the corner and to let them go through pains and sorrows. They wept because of pain and sorrow, and Jesus also wept because of their pain and sorrow. This was Jesus' struggle for his beloved people, so he continued on in the hope that he would reveal the glory of God to them, and that once they saw it, they would be overjoyed and their life would never be the same.


          When they came to the tomb, Jesus told them, “Take away the stone.” Martha objected saying, “But, Lord, by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” Let's read verse 40 together:


Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”


          After four days, his eyeballs were rotten, his intestines and inner organs were melting, his body was covered with maggots. For Martha it was already painful enough knowing that her precious brother had died; and now Jesus wanted to open his tomb? No way! She did not want to see the decomposing and maggot filled body of her brother; no, she did not want to endure such a sight. She preferred to leave the tomb unopened and her brother’s body unexposed. But Jesus did not accept her sentiment. Instead, he challenged her, saying, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” Jesus challenged her to take away the stone and expose her brother's half-rotten body by believing in him that, once she opened it, instead of having the most painful and embarrassing moment, she would see the glory of God; once she opened it by faith in Jesus, things would turn out glorious - that's what she must believe.


          What glory? The half-rotten dead body of her brother coming back to life! Jesus challenged her to believe in His power even beyond death. Death had been the end to everything, but now Jesus challenged her to believe in his power beyond death – so she had to believe that Jesus is the resurrection and the life. The challenge was indeed great! If it had been to heal one disease, then she already had faith in Jesus' power. But now the challenge she had was death - her brother's decayed body. Would she believe that Jesus is the resurrection and the life? Did she still have hope to see her brother again? If she wanted to see the glory of God in this matter, she must put her faith in Jesus as the resurrection and the life, and by faith in him, take away the stone, thus exposing her brother's rotting body.


          Many people have this ‘tomb’ problem – their tomb is covered with a stone, so outwardly it looks okay, but inside the tomb, there is a rotting dead body filled with ugly maggots that brings about a terrible odor. They have deep wounds and scars due to their sins and other peoples’ sins, they have resentment, and a sense of betrayal and unworthiness because they have been abandoned; they have been mistreated, abused and despised; they have developed a deep inferiority complex, and have a sense of shame and dirtiness about themselves; they bury all these things into their hearts and they place a huge stone mask in front, pretending that they have no problem at all. But the problem is that while they pretend everything is okay, secretly behind the stone, their dead bodies are rotting, accumulating more maggots, and producing more terrible odors in their words and actions; as a result, slowly and surely, they themselves are decaying.


          Jesus’ heart's desire is to reveal the glory of God in our lives; he has a good and glorious plan for us. So, he comes to us and says, “Take away the stone.” But we are afraid to remove the stone from our hearts; we don't want our rotting dead bodies to be exposed publicly. So, we make excuses, saying, 'But Lord, it's too shameful” or “Lord, a bad odor is coming from it.” Or “It's already dead and there is no hope.” But Jesus rebukes us and challenges us, saying, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” If we want to see the glory of God, and if we want to see what Jesus is going to do in and through our life, then we must overcome this fear, this sense of shame and despair, and remove the stone from our hearts and life. Many of us experienced the glory of God in this matter. Surely, things didn't turn out embarrassing or ugly, but glorious, and we were full of joy and happiness and thanks to God - we saw the glory of God when we took away the stone by faith in Jesus. Jesus says, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”


          After Jesus’ challenge, they picked up faith and rolled the stone away, then he called out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” And lo and behold, Lazarus walked out of the tomb, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. He looked like a mummy! But amazingly, he was not a dead man. Instead, after four days he was completely restored, his intestines and organs were renewed and in working order, his skin became firm again and his heart began to pump steadily. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” Among all the miracles Jesus had performed, this was the most spectacular, and this revealed Jesus' glory as the Creator God most powerfully. Surely, Mary, Martha and Lazarus saw the glory of God, and their lives changed completely, just as Jesus had planned!


          In verses 45 through 57, we see the two different responses of people about this miracle. Many people put their faith in Jesus. But others ran to the Pharisees, religious policemen and told them what Jesus had done. Surely, Jesus' sheep believe in him, and those who do not belong to Jesus reject the truth no matter what. Then, they held a Sanhedrin meeting, and there, they decided to kill Jesus, with the lame excuse of sparing the whole nation through sacrificing one person. Caiaphas, the high priest suggested this. He didn't know that he was actually talking about the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ.


In this passage I was challenged by Jesus' rebuke to Martha “Did I not tell you that if you believe you would see the glory of God?” At first she did not obey his command because she thought her brother's rotten corpse would be exposed. When I refuse to obey Jesus' word it is actually the expression of my unbelief; I think negatively that the outcome will be bad. Jesus rebukes me for this unbelief and challenges me to live in complete obedience to God. Because only when my obedience to God's command is complete, then the glory of God can be revealed in my life. This is what I have experienced.


          Since the summer I have been serving at West LA college. However, for many months prior I was hesitating to return to the mission field due to my sense of failure and fear of the future. However, in Bible study on John 1 I was reminded of Jesus' teaching on life: “Whoever wants to save his life would lose it but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.” One evening when I was driving home from work and this verse came to mind. I also heard the questions “How long? How long will you wait? How long will you waste your life?” I realized that as long as I held onto my sense of failure and my fear I was losing my life. And there is no valid excuse or reason I could give for why I should waste my one life. At that moment I saw clearly what to do: lose my life for Jesus and for the gospel. Right then I exited the freeway and that was the first time I went fishing at WLAC. Since then I have been looking for students and teaching the Bible to WLA college students. Sometimes the best part of my day is when I can clock out because I am excited to go to campus. Other times I am physically drained after standing and walking for 8 hours; I am mentally exhausted after dealing with demanding managers and hotel guests all day long. At that moment all I want to do is take a nap. But I remember what Jesus taught me: if I want to save my comfort I will lose my life. So I go to campus regardless of how I feel. In this way I save my life. I am so thankful that God has restored my sense of mission and vision, the meaning and purpose of my life, my joy and freedom to live for him. It is true that through obedience to the word of God I see the glory of God. My life has been saved and I taste zoe.


           This year after studying John 10 I learned that the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. In Bible study on this passage Missionary John asked the group “What is life to you?” This question remained in my heart all throughout the week. While teaching this passage and while listening to the testimonies during the Friday meeting I was still thinking about this: what is life to me? During testimony sharing the one word that touched me was John 10:17 “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again .” I could see that the reason the Father loved Jesus is because Jesus loved him by giving up something very precious. So instead of taking Gods love for granted I must lay down what was very precious to me. And hidden in my heart was the desire to secure a romantic relationship and beautiful family. Laying this down to shepherd over college students would be like losing my life, because this is what I had been pursuing all my life. This is when everything became real; far more than doing Christian activities but really dedicating my life to God and Gods flock. At this my heart ached and it seemed almost impossible to let it go. But Jesus rebukes me saying “Did I not tell you that if you believe you would see the glory of God?” Jesus shows that a life of complete obedience to God is a glorious life. If I believe I will enjoy glorious intimacy with God; a real love relationship with God. If I believe I will see the kingdom of God come on my campus. If I believe I will see 50 churches established in CA. If I believe I will be a blessing to the ends of the earth.


One Word: If You Believe, You Will See The Glory Of God