Notes of a Lecture on John 11:1-14

John 11:1‑14  •  11 min. read  •  grade level: 6
This account presents a magnificent picture of the way of the Lord Jesus, when down here, and gives us an insight into the path of the Man Christ Jesus. And, let me here say, that the study of the path of the Son of God, is not only that which the mind may dwell upon with pleasure and admiration, but it is something on which the heart may feed for strength and blessing. There are three precious facts which I want us to consider for a short time this evening.
1. The blessed Lord Jesus was at all times actuated by a true and real desire to glorify His Father in heaven. It was this that moved Him moment by moment. Ah! He is the only One who has ever lived in this scene, having this one thing governing the whole course of life-the glory of God. Personal affection never for a moment swayed Him, nor did personal fear hold Him back, when this was concerned: but, along His entire pathway, the glory of God shone out most brightly through Him.
And in this case, Had Jesus no love for those sorrowing sisters? Did He know their case, and yet stay two days "in the same place where he was"? Yes; He knew all about their need-He had love for them. Then why not at once hasten to their side? This is how you and I act, beloved friends; we hear of the illness of some loved one, and take the next train in order to be with that one as soon as possible. But to bring glory to the Father, was that which was ever dearest to the heart of the Son. Was it that Jesus had forgotten their distress? or that His love for them had changed? No; there was no coldness in His affection for these tried ones (as they prove by-and-by), but the right moment for Him to act had not come then.
Yes, Jesus pitied them, loved them, felt for them, as He alone was able, and yet things got to the very worst in that little home, and the Master came not. What would those loving hearts feel? Would they question like the disciples in the boat, "Master, carest thou not that we perish?" Did they dare to say that to the Master?-"Carest thou not?" Oh, how little they understood Him to speak thus! And perish, with Jesus on board? Impossible!
Beloved, do we know anything of this, "Carest thou not?" When circumstances look dark, our hearts begin to question the love of the One who permits such to befall us. Oh, let me press upon you this important truth, The dealings of the Father's hand must ever be looked at in the light of the love of that Father's heart. Grasp this. Never try to interpret love by its manifestations. How often our Father sends chastisement, sorrow, bereavement, pressure! How well He could take me out of it all-in a moment-He has the power, but. He leaves me there. Oh, may He help us to rest patiently in Himself at such times, not trying to read His love by the circumstances, but them, whatever they may be, through the love of that heart. This gives wondrous strength-knowing that loving heart, and not questioning the dealings of His hand.
Beloved friends, I feel that I am addressing a little company of those who are saved. Oh! the inexpressible joy of this! and I love to speak to those who desire to drink in all that concerns Him-the blessed One who is your object-the object of heaven's adoration and worship too. The study of Himself in His ways amongst men, bows the heart in worship and fills the soul with wonder and praise.
In their bitter sorrow the sisters flee at once to the Master. No one like Him for them now. Do we know anything of this?-telling Him the trouble of the heart, the sorrow of the way? They send word, but He sets not out to their help. But all is right; they are not forgotten, nor left without His caring for them, or concerning Himself about them.
Oh, no; and if we tell Jesus, we may rest satisfied that He will undertake for us. Have you taken your needy case to Him? Then leave it with Him-that is all-how simple! Have we not sometimes seen the little child take some treasures to the mother for her to keep, and then, in the restlessness of its mind, turn back to take them into its own hands again? And do we not too often, in the restlessness of our unbelief, carry away the need and care we have been telling out to Him? Sickness, sorrow, want, bereavement come upon us; perhaps some domestic trouble burdens us; a wife bound to a godless husband, a husband to an unconverted wife, the thing has gone on so long, it seems as though the Master heeded not. Have you "told Jesus"? Then leave it with Him, in happy confidence that it will be all right. This Martha and Mary found, and truly our God is worthy of the unwavering trust of the heart. He doeth all things well.
In the Father's dealings, He may see fit to suffer trial and pressure to remain for years, because that He, in His wisdom, knows that it is exactly what His child needs. Do you ask for an illustration? I give one that occurs to the mind at this moment. The "thorn in the flesh" to Paul." What!" you say; "the apostle Paul need something to keep him balanced!" Yes; he who had been up in the third heaven, and had heard things which it was impossible for human speech to utter, needed a counterpoise-something to keep the flesh in check. Perhaps you think, that one who had been up there, and had listened to such glorious words, might have kept straight down here ever afterward. No, Satan would make use of those wondrous revelations to puff up the flesh; so God allowed the messenger of Satan to buffet him, lest he "should be exalted above measure." And the beloved apostle "besought the Lord thrice" that it might depart from him.
"What!" you say; "could he have been in communion with the Lord, when he asked a thing which it was not the will of the Lord to grant?" That is not the point for us; let us make our requests known to Him, and, if it be right, we shall get deliverance; if not, like the apostle, we shall get what will be infinitely better, the Lord's grace in the pressure, enabling us to bear it all for His glory. This will give moral elevation-bearing the trial, supported by the condescending grace of God, knowing that what His hand dispenses is good, and so giving glory and honor to His name. Ah! and in everything from morning to night we may glorify Him,, and so follow in the steps of Jesus, our beloved Master.
"But," you say, "that is too lofty a height for me ever to attain to; how can I glorify Him in my commonplace duties which seem like domestic drudgery from Monday morning to Saturday night"? Better than that, beloved, if you are where He has placed you; and not too commonplace either for glorifying His name. What says the Holy Ghost? "Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Cor. 10:3131Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31).) Can anything be more commonplace than eating and drinking? Surely not. And can I do this to His glory? Yes. Two persons may be sitting at the same table, one eating merely to gratify the appetite and passion, the other to keep his body in working order for the Master to use down here. So in the home circle, behind the counter, or elsewhere, His name may be honored and glorified. How would nineteen out of every twenty of us live for Him, if the only way of so doing were public service? No; service is what the Master gives one to do, whether it be to evangelize a continent, to stand behind a counter, or to sweep a crossing; only let each one of us be where He wills, and there shining for Him.
Then saith He, "Let us go into Judaea again. His disciples say unto Him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?" Yes; He will not allow fear of personal safety to keep Him back now, any more than He suffered personal affection to take Him to Bethany, when it is a question as to what is for the glory of God. No thought of personal danger kept Him from being about His "Father's business." And now the moment is come, God's glory will shine through the One who "pleased not himself."
2. The profound sympathy of the heart of Jesus with us in all the sorrows and trials through which we pass. Had those sisters for a moment questioned the love of Jesus for them, and His sympathy with them in their sorrow, how they would be rebuked by those groans and tears! "Jesus wept." I suppose this is the shortest verse in the Bible, when one talks of verses, but oh, what it opens out to us! He is going to the grave of His friend as "the resurrection and the life," and as He goes He weeps! What tender sympathy and grace! And He is the same to-day. It is true the surroundings are different, but the heart is the same "yesterday, to-day, and forever."
He "wept!" How we see the reality of His human nature! Yes; it was a perfectly human heart. He wept for the sorrow and desolation which sin had brought into the world; and He entered into it as no other could. Oh! those groans and tears! How they tell out the love and tenderness of the heart of our precious Lord Jesus! Yes; He truly loved those tried ones, and they proved it. So shall we, if we rest in the same tender, gracious, sympathizing Lord. How sad for Him to have to say to Martha, "Said I not unto thee, that if thou wouldst believe thou shouldst see the glory of God?" Unbelieving heart, listen, doubt not, and thou shalt see that glory too. Hinder not the Master by unbelief.
3. His gracious condescension in linking us with Himself in the work which He is now carrying on in this world. He only does that which they are unable to perform. He allows them to roll away the stone; it is His work to raise the dead, so He speaks, "Lazarus, come forth." He stands at that open grave, the expression of God, and surely God's glory shines forth most brightly through His beloved Son. Then "Jesus saith unto them, Loose him and let him go." Here, again, they can help in the work, and can free Lazarus from the graveclothes that bind him, hand and foot. So now, Jesus graciously permits us to help Him in His work with dead souls. It is true He alone can speak the word that quickens the dead unsaved one; but He, blessed be His holy name, allows us poor, feeble things, saved by His grace, to speak a word here and there to the unsaved, and to endeavor to bring them under the power of His word, so that they may be blessed, and in our measure to assist Him in the wondrous work which He is at present carrying on.
May He enable us to enter into these marvelously blessed facts, and teach us to make them truly practical, so that we may, whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, do all, even the most commonplace things of our daily life, to the glory of God: and also help us to understand and to realize the sympathy of Jesus for us, in all we go through; and may He help us too so that we may be "workers together with him," whilst He leaves us here.
" When the pangs of sorrow seize us,
When the waves of trouble roll,
I would lay my head on Jesus
Pillow of the troubled soul:
Surely none can feel like Thee,
Weeping One of Bethany

Jesus wept! '-that tear of sorrow
Is a legacy of love:
Yesterday, to-day, to-morrow,
He the same doth ever prove.
Be Thou all in all to me,
Living One of Bethany."
C. H. M.
"I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him."
There is an index to what is found in the heart which, more than any other, betrays what is within. This index is the tongue. He who knows how to govern his tongue is a perfect man, and able to bridle the whole body. The appearance of religion is vain, if the tongue be not bridled; such a man deceives his own heart.