How to know God’s pre-determined Plan

About this Episode

How to know God's pre-determined Plan is the topic that will be discussed today on RIOT Podcast, a Christian Discipleship Podcast.

In episode 95 “How do life’s Circumstances increase our faith” we covered John 11:1-27. In that show, we talked about how the emphasis in John 11 was on faith. We saw the word “believe” used at least 8 times throughout the chapter. We also talked about another theme regarding the “glory of God”.

We began to learn that in everything that Jesus said and did, He sought to strengthen the faith of His disciples, Mary and Martha, and lastly the Jews. Not to mention we also dove into Jesus’s 7th, but greatest miracle by raising Lazarus from the dead. This miracle was so significant that the religious leaders could not deny who He was.

This week we will turn our attention to Jesus focusing on increasing Mary’s Faith and then the Jewish people’s faith.

Read John:11:28-40

In the previous reading of our last show, Jesus dealt with Martha’s faith, now He had to help Mary. The first question we should try and unpack is; “Why did Martha call Mary secretly?“

Mary is found three times in the gospel record, and each time she’s mentioned, she is at the feet of Jesus, in Luke 10:39- John 11:32 and 12:3. She sat at His feet and listened to His word, she fell at His feet and poured out her sorrow, and she came to His feet to give Him her praise and worship. Mary’s only recorded words in the Gospels are given here in John 11:32, and they echo what Martha had already said in vs 21. “If you have been here, Lazarus would not have died.” The mystery of Jesus' incarnation is seen by His question in vs 34, where have you laid him? Why did He ask this?

Vs 35 “Jesus Wept” is the shortest and yet the deepest verse in Scripture. He silently wept (the Greek word is used nowhere else in the NT). He was not weeping loudly as mourners do. But another question we have to ask is, “Why did He weep at all?” After all, He knows that He would raise Lazarus from the dead.

The spectators saw in His tears evidence of His love. But some of them said, “If Jesus loved Lazarus so much, then why did He not prevent his death?” Perhaps they were thinking, that Jesus is weeping because He was unable to do nothing.

In vs 27, Martha declared her faith but, she failed at the last minute. She said when Jesus asked to open the tomb, “that surely by now he smells!” Jesus gently reminded her in vs 40 of the message He had sent at least three days before and He urged her to believe.

So now that Jesus has dealt with His disciples' Faith, as well as Mary and Martha’s, He now turns His attention to the Jews.

Read John 11:41-57

Jesus turns His attention off to His friends and now addresses the people who had come to comfort Mary and Martha. Jesus paused to pray vs 41 and thanked the Father that the prayer had already been heard. When had he prayed? It’s probably when He received the message that His friend was sick.

A quaint Puritan writer once said that if Jesus had not named Lazarus when He shouted, He would have emptied the whole cemetery! Since Lazarus was bound, he could not walk to the door of the tomb, so God’s power must have carried him along. It was an unquestioned miracle that even the most hostile spectators could not deny.

Lazarus was set free from the grave clothes and given new liberty. You find him seated with Christ at the table in John 12:2 and all believers are seated with Christ in heavenly places enjoying spiritual food and fellowship.

As with the previous miracles, the people were divided in their response. Some did believe and on Palm Sunday gave witness to the gift that Jesus had performed. But others immediately went to the religious leaders and reported what had happened. Keep in mind these informers were so near to the kingdom, yet there is no evidence that they believed.

In vs 49, the name Caiaphas is mentioned. He was a High priest at the time. He was a Sadducee, not a Pharisee. Unknown to himself and to the council, Caiaphas uttered a divine prophecy in vs 50: Jesus would die for the nation so that the nation would not perish. Isa 53:8 says “For the transgression of my people was he stricken”.

The official decision that day was that Jesus must die. The Leaders thought that they were in control of the situation, but it was God who was working out His predetermined plan (Acts 2:23)

in vs 54, Jesus withdrew to Ephraim, about 15 miles north of Jerusalem, and there He remained in quiet retirement with His disciples. The crowd was gathering in Jerusalem for the Passover feast, and the pilgrims were wondering if Jesus would attend the feast even though He was in danger. He was now on the most wanted list because the council had made it known that anyone who knows where Jesus was, must report it to the officials.
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