Lectionary Year A
March 21, 1999
John 11:1-45

Step V: Hermeneutical Bridge


      Watching an elementary age basketball game I realized that this was perhaps the first chance these young kids had to experience receiving the glory that comes with making the big plays. I watched as these youngsters fought for the privilege of "getting the glory" and making the baskets.
      Is this not the way of all of us? Don't we as adults also seek personal glory and attention, whether it be at work, or by owning nice things, or associating with influential people?
      And, isn't this just the opposite of the way Jesus lived his life? It seems in verse 4 that Jesus was acting not for his own glory, but for the glory of the Father. Jesus never did things because they were his own will, but because they were the Father's will. Jesus' purpose for raising Lazarus was not for his own glory or even to pacify the grief of Lazarus' sisters, but "it is for God's glory so that the Son might be glorified through it."
      That is, Jesus ultimately received God's glory, not because it was Jesus' will, but the Father's.

      AND, (now this is the important part), the purpose of all this glory was not simply glory for glory's sake, but "for the benefit of the people standing around THAT THEY MAY BELIEVE THAT YOU SENT ME (vs 42)."
      In other words, Jesus acted for the glory of the Father so that more people might come to a saving knowledge of Jesus himself. And this is what happened as we can see from 12:11, "for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in him."

      The message here is ultimately one of evangelism. How should we live our lives? In search of God's will, and for God's glory so that others might see God's glory in us and come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ through the testimony of our lives.
      It was never Jesus' purpose with this resurrection, or others, or any of the miracles to impress people with "signs." The signs and miracles were never intended to serve as ends in themselves, but to point to a greater reality, that of the presence of God in the midst of God's people. That same presence is availed to us today when we are obedient to live not for our own glory, but for God's glory....

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