Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #302 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading John 11 today and our focus is on How many people did Jesus resurrect? How Did Jesus Face Death? How Did Jesus Deal With Grief and The Death of a Friend? We are a daily 10ish minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in . Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
When asking the question, how did Jesus face death, I am not talking about when He faced His own death, but how He faced the death of others – those close to Him. As mortals, we will all face the death of friends, family members and those we know at some point – it is one of the most universal human experiences there is, and it would likely benefit us to see how Jesus faced it. Multiple times in the Bible, Jesus encountered the death of those close to Him. Almost certainly, Jesus lost His Father Joseph to death at a fairly early age. We can’t prove this, but there is almost no mention of Joseph after the childhood of Jesus, but several mentions of His mother Mary. Very likely Joseph survived until at least when Jesus moved to Nazareth, because he is mentioned in passing by those in Capernaum, which is actually around 20 miles or so away from Nazareth, where Jesus grew up.
They were saying, “Isn’t this Jesus the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’ ?” John 6:42
However, Joseph isn’t mentioned in John 2 at the wedding in Cana, nor does he appear in any narrative (apart from somebody saying that he was Jesus’ father) anywhere after Jesus’ childhood. This could explain why Jesus stayed home until He was around 30 – caring for His mother and siblings. Beyond any reasonable doubt, Joseph would have been dead when Jesus was crucified, because Jesus gave the care of His mother to John the disciple, which would have been incredibly strange were Joseph still alive:
26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. John 19:26-27
So Jesus faced the death of His father, but nothing in the Bible is recorded of it. Jesus saw other deaths, however, and we do see His reaction and his actions. For instance, upon being presented with the heart-wrenching sight of a widow who had lost her only surviving son, Jesus moves into action:
11 Afterward he was on his way to a town called Nain. His disciples and a large crowd were traveling with him. 12 Just as he neared the gate of the town, a dead man was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow. A large crowd from the town was also with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said, “Don’t weep.”14 Then he came up and touched the open coffin, and the pallbearers stopped. And he said, “Young man, I tell you, get up!” Luke 7:11-14
So, in this case, Jesus faced death with compassion and POWER, raising this man to life after telling his mother to not weep. In another instance, we see how Jesus dealt with the death of a synagogue ruler named Jairus’ daughter in Mark 5:
35 While he was still speaking, people came from the synagogue leader’s house and said, “Your daughter is dead. Why bother the teacher anymore?”36 When Jesus overheard what was said, he told the synagogue leader, “Don’t be afraid. Only believe.” 37 He did not let anyone accompany him except Peter, James, and John, James’s brother. 38 They came to the leader’s house, and he saw a commotion—people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40 They laughed at him, but he put them all outside. He took the child’s father, mother, and those who were with him, and entered the place where the child was. 41 Then he took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum” (which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, get up”). 42 Immediately the girl got up and began to walk. (She was twelve years old.) At this they were utterly astounded Mark 5:35-42
What did Jesus do here? He told the father to not fear, but ONLY BELIEVE. Then Jesus throws out the people in Jairus’ house who were disbelieving and laughing, which is very interesting. Does such doubt and behavior create an atmosphere that is antithetical to healing and miracles? It would appear so, based on passages like Matthew 13:58, “And he did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.” How did Jesus confront death here? He encouraged those impacted by death to not be afraid, and to believe, and He raised the dead girl to life, and He pushed away those who were doubters.
One other note of interest – a rabbit trail – in the Luke account Jairus’ daughter being resurrected, vs. 55 says, “Her spirit returned, and she got up at once. ” This tells us much about the spiritual aspects of death – when one dies, their spirit separates from their body.
And that gets us to today’s reading in John 11. How many people did Jesus raise from the dead? Probably quite a few, but – believe it or not -the Bible only records THREE. Jairus’ daughter, the widow of Nain’s son, and Lazarus. How did Jesus face the death of His dear friend Lazarus? First, He faced the death of Lazarus with great faith and a concern for His Father’s glory, as we see in vs. 4, “4 When Jesus heard it, he said, “This sickness will not end in death but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” The fact is that Jesus KNEW Lazarus had died when He said the sickness will not end in death, and yet Jesus was absolutely right – the sickness did not END in death – death happened in the middle. Life happened after that! Jesus was also concerned here for the faith of His disciples:
13 Jesus, however, was speaking about his death, but they thought he was speaking about natural sleep. 14 So Jesus then told them plainly, “Lazarus has died.15 I’m glad for you that I wasn’t there so that you may believe. But let’s go to him.” John 11:13-14
Jesus knew Lazarus was died, and knew He would resurrect him, and Jesus knew this would bolster the faith of His disciples. So far, we don’t see Jesus getting emotional at the death of a dear friend…but wait, because when Jesus gets to Bethany, and sees the suffering of Martha and Mary, the sisters of Lazarus, then things change:
32 As soon as Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and told him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died!” 33 When Jesus saw her crying, and the Jews who had come with her crying, he was deeply moved in his spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you put him?” he asked. “Lord,” they told him, “come and see.” 35 Jesus wept.36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Couldn’t he who opened the blind man’s eyes also have kept this man from dying?” 38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. John 11:32-38
THREE times in a just a few minutes, Jesus was overcome with grief – being deeply troubled and moved to see Mary crying, then outright weeping on the way to the tomb, and then being nearly overwhelmed with grief once more when the Jews implied that Jesus could have prevented Lazarus’ death. And then, of course, Jesus shows us that He is LORD over death, and calls forth Lazarus from the grave – raising Him to glorious life.
So, how does Jesus deal with death? How did Jesus face the death of His dear friend? We see in these accounts that Jesus faced death with faith – great faith and assurance in that resurrection was coming. But even with His great faith, He still showed great compassion, and even wept and was obviously and deeply moved in the face of grief. Jesus demonstrates for us how we are to face death – with great faith, great compassion, and great grief. Weeping is ok. Breaking down and being deeply moved is okay – Jesus was…and yet we maintain faith. Perhaps we won’t see our loved one raised to life after four days in the tomb, but we are a people of the resurrection, and we know by faith that we WILL see them again by the power and might of Jesus, so let us also face death with faith.
Bible Memory passage for the month of October: 7 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7-8
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