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As we learned last week, God made and fulfilled promises to His people all through the Old Testament, but there was one promise that they did not see fulfilled as God has provided something better for us. How was that promise fulfilled?
Immediately after Lazarus was raised from the dead we read this in John 11:45-57:
45 Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him. 46 But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, “What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. 48 If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.” 49 And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, 50 nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad. 53 Then, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death. 54 Therefore Jesus no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there into the country near the wilderness, to a city called Ephraim, and there remained with His disciples. 55 And the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went from the country up to Jerusalem before the Passover, to purify themselves. 56 Then they sought Jesus, and spoke among themselves as they stood in the temple, “What do you think—that He will not come to the feast?” 57 Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a command, that if anyone knew where He was, he should report it, that they might seize Him. After raising Lazarus from the dead Jesus became a hunted man. The religious leaders sought to capture Him and put Him to death. They hoped they could catch Him around the time of Passover which was just a few weeks away.
As they waited we see that Jesus travelled to Jerusalem in preparation for the Passover. Let’s read John 12, starting in verse 12. This is a lengthly passage, but listen closely to what happened as God prepared His Son and the people to make a better way.
Read John 12:12-50.
In this passage we see that the people accepted and proclaimed Jesus to be the Messiah because He had raised Lazarus from the dead. They saw that He was the promised Savior who Israel had been waiting for for generations.
In their excitement they cut palm branches down from the trees, layed their cloaks out on the road before Jesus, and as He rode into town on the foal of a donkey in fulfillment of prophecy to the very day, they cheered and worshipped and proclaimed for all to hear “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel!”
And after He rode in triumph into the city, He began to teach the people about the life of faith. To believe in Christ it to lay down ones life. He said to them, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abideth alone; but if it dies, it beareth much fruit. He who loves His life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
Then He said that if we are to serve Him we must follow Him. This is to obey Him. To do as He did. He also said to them “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of the light.”
Finally, before observing the Passover with His disciples in the Upper Room, Jesus said to those listening, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me, but in Him who sent Me.” And He said, “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.”
Here He has defined faith in God. We as a nation claim “In God we Trust.” People from one end of the country to the other will say that we are a Christian nation and that we all believe in God. There are many people we meet every day who really do think that they believe in God.
But listen to Jesus. If we believe in Him, we believe in God. So to have faith in God, to say “In God we Trust”, to believe in God is to have placed our faith in Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, God with Us.
Further, to believe in God is to walk in the light and to refuse to abide in darkness. Remember Ephesians 5:8?
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.
Before trusting Christ we were darkness, now we are light. But we need to be reminded. Before Jesus washed His disciples feet, before He transformed the Passover Feast into the Lord’s Supper, before He went into the Garden to pray, before all this He said to them, “whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.”
Do we abide in darkness? Do we dwell in sin habitually? Or do we rather love the light? If we are trusting Christ we will walk in the light. We will live by the very faith that we profess.