Jesus began his ministry by changing water into wine. He went on to perform countless miracles and gained a following of thousands. The Jewish leaders were intimidated by Jesus and considered him to be blasphemous for claiming to be the Son of God and equal to God. They tried several times to kill Him but He was always able to slip out of their grasp.
In chapter eleven of the Book of John, Jesus discovers his good friend Lazarus has died. Lazarus lived near Jerusalem where the Jewish leaders were plotting to kill Jesus; nevertheless, Jesus returned to help His friend. Upon arrival, Jesus met with Martha the sister of Lazarus who reported that Lazarus had been dead for four days. Jesus responded with some encouragement.
“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” John 11:25-26 (NIV)
Lazarus had another sister, Mary, who joined Martha and Jesus along with a group of Jews at the tomb of Lazarus. All were surprised when Jesus told them to roll away the stone that sealed the tomb of Lazarus. When the tomb was opened, Jesus called out to his friend.
“Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.” John 11:43-44 (NIV)
Those who witnessed this astounding miracle immediately began to spread the word and Jesus became more popular than ever. When the Jewish leaders heard that Jesus was back and had raised Lazarus from the dead, they feared they would lose their power and redoubled their efforts to capture Jesus and kill Him – and now they wanted to kill Lazarus as well to destroy the evidence of this remarkable miracle.
“So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.” John 12:10-11 (NIV)
Jesus knew He was about to die and he provided some important teaching to his disciples before his departure. He wanted them to follow His example of being the ultimate servant.
“Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” John 12:26 (NIV)
A large crowd welcomed Jesus back to the city of Jerusalem as their king, much to the dismay of the Jewish leaders. The only people who were denying that Jesus was the Son of God were the Jewish leaders who felt threatened by his presence because it would disrupt their power. Jesus used his enormous popularity in the last days to continue to preach His powerful message of light and truth.
“Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” John 12:44-46 (NIV)
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