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young man praying October 26 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: John 10:22-11:45

Believe

In order for us to believe in people, they have to prove themselves in some way. Their character has to be consistent with their words. They have to be able to do what they say or promise. Does this always lead to belief? No. Impossible situations make it hard to believe a person can do what he/she says he can do. Jealousy can also keep us from believing in a person, even if that person deserves our trust and has done nothing to violate that trust. We can believe who Jesus says he is because of his works and who he is.

Most Jews did not believe in Jesus. Once, late in his earthly ministry,

Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon's Colonnade. The Jews gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”

Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep [my followers]. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one,” (John10:22-30, NIV).

At this declaration the Jews took up stones to stone him, for to claim to have God as your father was to claim to be God’s Son and therefore to have the same nature as God. This was considered a blasphemous statement worthy of death by stoning. Even though his words and deeds were consistent with the Scripture prophecies made about the coming Messiah (the chosen one of God), they did not believe. They tried to seize him, but somehow Jesus escaped their grasp.

Lazarus, Mary, and Martha were friends of Jesus. They believed in him. Lazarus, however, became deathly ill. Jesus assured them that this sickness would not end in death. This message sent back to Mary and Martha was probably a great comfort to them. Yet Jesus delayed coming. Why? If he were avoiding persecution that would have been a good enough reason for the disciples for not going to Jerusalem. Four days later, when Jesus told them that he wanted to return to Jerusalem, they were shocked. Why would he want to do that? Why walk right into a trap? At last Jesus explained himself, saying Lazarus was dead and he was going to wake him up; i.e., he was going to resurrect him. “And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him,” (John 11:15, NIV). God’s ways are not our ways; his ways are much better.

To Mary and Martha it seemed like Jesus did not care, and that he had lied to them. While Jesus delayed, Lazarus died, and Jesus did not even make it to the funeral. That was very hurtful. Then Jesus came. Mary and Martha likely thought, “Why couldn’t you be here before? Now it is too late to do anything.” Jesus’ reputation as a caring friend was certainly at stake. When Jesus finally came, Martha expressed her disappointment, but she was still willing to believe in her friend.

“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

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?”

“Yes, Lord,” she told him, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.” (John 11:21-27, NIV).

Do you believe that Jesus was the unique, chosen one of God, who came into this world to save sinners? He offers forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life (more...). It gives pleasure and glory to God to answer even impossible prayers of those who believe in him and seek his will.

Jesus then proved himself worthy of their trust. He told them that if they believed they would see the glory of God. After removing the stone, he called out to God, then raised Lazarus to the joy and amazement of everyone watching, even the religious leaders who opposed him.

Lessons to live by:

  • Jesus’ words and deeds were consistent with the prophecies made about him, so we can believe him.
  • God’s ways are not our ways; we might even experience pain and loss, but God's ways are best.
  • God offers us forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life (more...).
  • It gives pleasure and glory to God to answer even impossible prayers of those who believe in him and seek his will.

Today’s Bible memory verses:

John 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?’" (NIV)

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