John: The Light
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The church of Christ’s day, as today, had rejected Jesus. They were not interested in “sharing” their fame, glory, power or obedience with Another. In the name of “God” they were claiming to represent God, love God and offer salvation to all who accepted “their” church. But in reality, they had become “antichrist”. They stood “in place of” Christ and were diverting the eyes of the people away from God and unto themselves, their organization, services, feasts days, rituals and traditions. Oh, they read from Scripture, memorized Scripture, beat each other over the head with Scripture and quoted Scripture to impress upon people that they were of God and had the truth. But in reality, Scripture was only used to enhance their own power while they refused to humble themselves to live in obedience to the teachings of God.
While Jesus kept referring the church members back to their Scriptures (Old Testament) and encouraging them to be obedient to them, the leaders were leading the people to “church” and their services, rituals and traditions. The leaders only used Scripture as necessary to keep the people thinking the “church” was still of God. They argued among themselves over every detail they could find to prove how “dedicated” to the Scriptures they were. But “you leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” Mark 7:8.
Today, the churches are doing the same. Whether it be fighting over a day, over a letter, the name of “Jesus”, holy days/feast days, a modern-day prophet, food, clothing, women’s ordination, homosexuality, abortion, which Bible to read or which church to belong to, none of it will get you into Heaven. That which will get you into heaven is what Jesus said, “If you want to get eternal life, keep the Commandments”. (Matthew 19:17). And yet, I have not had one person in 20 years show me any printed or video matter from a present-day leader of their church or denomination that teaches the teachings of Jesus to be perfect, stop sinning and to keep the Ten Commandments to get their eternal life. Yet, they all claim their churches, pastors or denominations are of God. They have let go of obedience to the Ten Commandments in order to follow their churches’ Catholic tradition: going to church.
If you want eternal life, to be raised up at the last day for Heaven, you must unwrap yourself from this dark world, and your church, and be obedient to the Light of the teachings of Jesus and Jesus only. You must open your eyes, step out of your cave-like church, and see the Light.
John 11:1 to John 12:36
Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the woman who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair. Her brother Lazarus was the one who was ill. So the sisters sent word to Jesus, saying, “Lord, the one whom you love is ill.”
How touching. A family who had loved Jesus, opened their home to Jesus, and were very close to Him, needed His help. Lazarus was ill and after trying every available remedy, there was only one “remedy” left. Therefore, they sent a messenger to inform Jesus of the situation. Since Jesus was their closest and dearest Friend, they did not need to petition, urge or plead, they simply stated, “Lord, the one whom you love is ill”.
In some churches today, the prayers are anything but “simple”. They yell, multiply their words, babble, scream and agitate themselves all in an attempt to get God’s attention. If Jesus is your Friend, all you need to do is quietly talk to Him and share your needs, sorrows and desires, then wait patiently for Him to answer. I have learned that concept in my working for Jesus over the past 21 years. At first, due to my past church training, I used to get animated in my prayers to God. I got all emotional and would raise my voice to quite a pitch. Even the dogs would run and find a hiding place when I would “talk” to the Lord. Over time, the Lord showed me that He loved me and this ministry, and I did not have to act so. After all, it was wearing me out emotionally. I finally fell at His feet and learned to just talk to Him. He was always listening. He always answers my prayers. All I have to do is just be quiet, listen and be obedient.
But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This illness is not meant to end in death. It is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
In last month’s newsletter, we read were the disciples asked Jesus “who had sinned” in order for the man to have been born blind. Jesus let it be known that it wasn’t about placing blame, but using it for the glory of God. God always takes our adversities and turns them into blessings to glorify Him if we are living in obedience to Him.
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed where he was for two more days.
How often we get impatient. I sure do. I am working on developing far greater patience in my life. I have come a long way, but there is still a long way to travel. I want things to go as I have planned or desired and when they don’t pan out as I want, I begin to feel my anxiety level rise. I start to “blame” God for not working as fast as I think He should. But then, I have to take a deep breath, sit back or take a long walk around the property and leave it in God’s hands. He loves me. I know this. He called this ministry into being, dictated and directed the book “Change Your Life Biblically” and has commissioned me to manage it under His direction.
Therefore, I have nothing to fear or get impatient about. All I have to do is my duty and leave the rest in God’s hands. Since Jesus told the disciples that Lazarus would be all right, they let it go. I wonder if the messenger heard Jesus stating that his “illness is not meant to end in death”, and took that comforting message back to Mary and Martha?
After this he told the disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.” The disciples told him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you to death, and you are going back there again?”
In the few days since the messenger had given the message about Lazarus, Jesus and the disciples had been consumed by work. There was so much to do in teaching, healing and accommodating the work of God. The disciples had completely forgotten about Lazarus. Now, all they could think about was their own safety in going back to Judea. Since Jesus said Lazarus would not die, why would Jesus want to go back there and put His life, and their lives, in jeopardy? After all, they were doing a great work right where they were, wouldn’t it be more productive and profitable to stay put and grow the work of God where they were?
Jesus replied, “There are twelve hours in the day, aren’t there? If anyone walks during the day he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks at night he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”
As long as we work for Jesus there is nothing to worry about. God takes care of everything. The problem is, as with our churches, the work most are doing is not the “work of God” but the works of man. Church-works have taken the place of God’s works. Instead of placing our lives and plans before Jesus and waiting for Him to teach us our duty, we are looking to our churches, pastors and denominations to tell us our duty. That is a sin. These “church-works” were originated by pagans, adopted by the Jews while in their Babylonian Captivity, then culminated in a very sophisticated, organized Catholic Church system. All churches today have copied, to some degree, that pagan system. Only God is to have control over our lives. And for Him to have that control, you must surrender it to Him voluntarily by taking your life out of the control of your church, pastor, denomination and anything else that is keeping you from following everything commanded by God.
Jesus said it was time to go back to Judea and His little “church” didn’t think it was the right idea. Fortunately, His little “church” followed Jesus and did as He said.
The true “church of God” is one that listens to Jesus, not a committee, board vote or church leader’s command. Jesus and Jesus only is to be our Commander and Chief. He is the only One to give us our marching orders. Anything else is of the Catholic-pagan system.
These were the things he said. Then after this he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am leaving to wake him up.” So the disciples told him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will get well.”
In our own lives, how few of us truly understand Jesus. We are so brainwashed by the philosophy and teachings of our churches, pastors and denominations we have no time to truly listen to Jesus and understand what He is saying. Jesus commands us to be perfect, stop sinning and to keep the Ten Commandments to get our eternal life. However, we are not able to understand Him because we have been listening to our churches tell us we can’t be perfect or stop sinning or keep the Ten Commandments. But it is never safe to listen to our churches, pastors or denominations. It is always safe to listen to Jesus and live in obedience to His commands.
Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was speaking about resting or sleeping. Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died. For your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let’s go to him.”
How many times have we either stated or heard someone else say, “Oh, if only I had been there.” Well, maybe it was best not to have been there when you thought you should have been there. If we are Christians we will move when God says to move, not when our churches, pastors or denominations tell us to move. We will wait patiently for God to tell us personally. That is what I have had to learn in my life. Life is easier when we let God be in control.
Then Thomas, who was called the Twin, told his fellow disciples, “Let’s go, too, so that we may die with him!”
Fortunately, the disciples were committed to living and dying with Jesus. I wish our churches and denominations were that committed. Unfortunately, they only “follow” when it is convenient, brings them glory or doesn’t involve too much “sacrifice”. But to step out in obedience no matter what the cost, they will not. They completely reject God by refusing to step out and teach His teachings to be perfect, stop sinning and to keep the Ten Commandments to get our eternal life. Teaching the teachings of Jesus would cost them way too much.
Reader, are you following Jesus? Have you truly sat down, contemplated your relationship with Jesus and asked yourself, “Am I following Jesus, or simply following my own way, and claiming it is of God because I go to church?” What are you sacrificing for Jesus? My heart goes out to those who truly are sacrificing for Jesus by keeping this ministry supplied with funds to carry on the Lord’s work. I know of many who donate to this ministry, yet have so little. However, they give so much in comparison. But there are others with so much, they travel, spend their money on self or on their favorite projects, while inmates are starving for the Bread of Life. This ministry can only feed the hungry if we are given the “bread” to do the feeding.
When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother.
It wasn’t very long ago some of those same Jews were accusing Mary of adultery and wanting to stone her. Jesus came to her rescue. They wanted Jesus to condemn her so they could look “righteous” in the eyes of the people. Jesus refused to condemn her, and bent down, writing in the dirt their own many sins. As they read their own sins, they left in a hurry. Without condemning Mary, Jesus simply asked her to go and sin no more.
Always be sure you have taken all sin out of your life before you go throwing stones at others. Now they were here at the “wake” to make themselves look good to the “church”.
As soon as Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha told Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, he will give it to you.”
Martha was not expecting Jesus to raise her brother. She had expected Him to hurry “home” to heal her brother before he died. However, she knew that someday in the future there would be a resurrection of the righteous and she was certain her brother would be raised at that time. Right now, she was hoping for some consolation from Jesus to bring peace to her broken heart.
Many inmates are in need of consolation. Not to encourage them in their sins, but to let them know that they are not alone in their battle with sin. They need your encouragement and love. You are welcome to go to our web site and find pen-pals you may like to share your love of Jesus with. Encouragement is what each of us needs, not condemnation. Punishment for our sins is one thing, degradation is not of God. Revenge we leave to God. We just love the sinner, encouraging him to leave his life of sin and become the man God wants him to be.
Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.”
Those who claim that we go to heaven or hell immediately upon death are not listening to Jesus. He did not tell Martha that Lazarus was in heaven living a blissful life. He did not try to console her with stories of Lazarus having a good time in heaven. He told her the truth, “Your brother will rise again.” Lazarus had been dead for four days. He had not “risen” and gone to heaven. Jesus had stated many times the truth that the resurrection does not take place at death, but at the end of time when all will be gathered and then separated into two groups: those for eternal life and those for eternal death.
Martha told him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”
Unlike most of the world today, Martha was not confused about when Lazarus would be raised to eternal life. She knew it would be “on the last day” of earth’s history. Until then, he was “sleeping” peacefully in the grave waiting for His Friend Jesus to call him to eternal life.
Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The person who believes in me, even though he dies, will live. Indeed, everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe that?”
“Do you believe that?” Not many do. They really don’t believe Jesus at all. They believe their churches, pastors and denominations, but seldom will you find one who believes Jesus. He tells the truth that when we die we wait in the grave until the last day when the righteous will be raised: bodily. But the world doesn’t want to hear that. He tells the truth that in order to be raised to eternal life, we must stop sinning, be perfect and keep the Ten Commandments. But seldom will you find one who believes Jesus. Church members love the fables and “fake news” of their churches. Fables, fantasies and lies are more welcome in our churches than the truth Jesus taught. However, those who do believe Jesus will “never die”. Why? Because they will be “sleeping” in the grave waiting for Jesus to wake them up. What’s a little sleep? Just ask Lazarus.
On the other hand, Moses was awakened early in order to go to Heaven. Jesus and Moses lived so close together, Jesus could not bear being separated from Him and raised Him early. Enoch and Elijah were also such close friends of Jesus that He did not even want them to “go to sleep”. He decided to bypass the “sleep” part and translated them straight to Heaven. These were very special cases to encourage God’s people that they had nothing to worry about. There was a Heaven and all they had to do was trust and obey. At the end of their lives He would gently tuck them into “sleep” and set the “alarm clock” to awaken them at the “last day”.
“Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who was to come into the world.”
Martha was a friend of Jesus, therefore she believed Him. The churches, pastors and denominations of today are not “friends” of Jesus anymore than the church of Christ’s day was His friend. The churches today just don’t want to believe the truth. They love their fairytales. We need to become friends of Jesus and listen to Him and Him alone.
When she had said this, she went away and called her sister Mary and told her privately, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you!”
Jesus is calling you to get out of your church. Jesus is calling you to stop listening to the fairytales of your pastors and denominations. He is calling you to come to Him and listen to Him. He and He alone has the truth and will comfort you with His truth if you will only listen to Him. Martha went to Mary to relay the good news that Jesus was here. Are you sharing the good news with those around you that they need to come out of their churches and go to Jesus to find comfort for their souls?
As soon as Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him.
God has called this ministry to call you out of your church, to encourage you to stop listening to your pastor and denomination and to come to Jesus and listen to Him. Will you do as Mary did, get up quickly and go to Jesus.
Now Jesus had not yet arrived at the village but was still at the place where Martha had met him.
Jesus is not in your church. He is not with your pastor or denomination. Jesus is outside waiting for you to come to Him and meet with him. We find this concept in Revelation where we are told by Jesus, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock”. Revelation 3:20. If He were in your church, He wouldn’t be standing outside knocking to be let in.
When the Jews who had been with her, consoling her in the house, saw Mary get up quickly and go out, they followed her, thinking that she had gone to the tomb to cry there. As soon as Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell down at his feet and told him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
Mary understood the truth. If Jesus had been there her brother would not have died. Death cannot be where Jesus is. That is why He deliberately stayed away. However, in her sorrow she only saw the present situation, not the glory of God that was to be displayed in her grief.
When Jesus saw her crying, and the Jews who had come with her crying, he was greatly troubled in spirit and deeply moved.
Jesus is moved deeply by our grief. He cares so much for us. But His “grief” is not the same as ours. His “troubled spirit” has to do with our unbelief and the refusal of the churches, pastors and denominations to come to Him that they might find their eternal life and joy. Jesus wants to comfort us with truth. Are we listening to Him?
He asked, “Where have you put him?” They told him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus burst into tears.
Jesus was crying not for the death of Lazarus or the sorrow of Mary and Martha, He was about to change their sorrow into joy. His crying was for the church that had come to put on a pretense of sorrow for Mary and Martha. In a few weeks that same church would be crying out for the blood of Jesus. While claiming to care about the loss of Mary and Martha, the church would be plotting to kill Lazarus in order to keep people from believing in Jesus. Jesus knew it all. He can read your heart also. Do you love your church, your pastor and denomination, or do you love Jesus? You can’t love both since they are going in two very different directions.
So the Jews said, “See how much he loved him!” But some of them said, “Surely the one who opened the eyes of the blind man could have kept this man from dying, couldn’t he?”
Interesting that the church followed Mary out of the presence of the “church” to Jesus. You will find the same today. If you leave your church in obedience to Jesus, the church influence will follow you and try to pull you back. Be very careful. It will try to come between you and Jesus. The church will tell you of all the “good” they do for the world. The problem is, their “good” has nothing to do with eternal life. It is only a worldly “good”. No Church does as much good as the Catholic Church. But it has nothing to do with eternal life.
Their snide remarks were meant to put doubt into Mary’s heart about Jesus. Couldn’t Jesus have “kept this man from dying”? Yes He could. But they truly did not want Jesus to keep Lazarus from dying. They had had enough of Jesus and His miracles. Jesus was taking the eyes away from the church. That could not be tolerated. He must be stopped. So they were glad He had not arrived earlier to heal Lazarus. However, they were doing everything possible to drive a wedge between Jesus and those who were beginning to believe in Him.
Groaning deeply again, Jesus came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying in front of it.
He groaned deeply because He saw their hypocrisy. Every act, every thought, every emotion of their lives was a lie. The same today with church members. They are all living a lie. Not one is serving Jesus since Jesus never commanded them to go to church. No, they are serving themselves and paying their church very well, and they vote to make sure it does what they want it to do. And what do they want their church and pastor to do? To lie. To tell them “goody-goody” things to make them feel good. They don’t want to live in obedience to the commands of Jesus. No, they want Spiritual Formation and church activity to excite their feelings and emotions. They want a “form of godliness, while denying the power of God” in their lives. They want to be “saved by grace” while continuing in their sins.
Spiritually, our churches are no different than our health industry today. The people of the world do not want their health departments, governments or doctors telling them the truth. No, they want goody-goody things told to them in order to eat and drink and live any way they want while expecting the medical establishment to find a way to mitigate the consequences of their unhealthy lifestyle. They want to be “saved by medicine”, not the hard work of keeping their bodies in line with God’s health principles.
Jesus said, “Remove the stone.” Martha, the dead man’s sister, told him, “Lord, there must be a stench by now, because he’s been dead for four days.” Jesus told her, “I told you that if you believed you would see God’s glory, didn’t I?”
Over the past three years Jesus, when raising the dead, had raised those who had been dead for only a few hours. Therefore, it was easy to convince people that they were not “dead” at all, but simply looked dead. But here was Lazarus who had been dead four days. There was no getting around it, if He raised Lazarus from the grave, He was God in the flesh. He was who He claimed to be. The church would have to accept Him or get rid of Him. It could no longer continue with Jesus refusing to accept their church and their authority.
So they removed the stone. Then Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for hearing me. I know that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” After saying this, he shouted with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”
In all Jesus did, everything was for the glory of His Father. He did nothing that brought “glory” to Himself. But if you look at the churches, pastors and denominations of the world today, it is all about bringing glory to themselves. They promote themselves, glorify themselves, honor themselves and pay themselves well. All of it is done “in the name” of God. But none of it is done for the name and glory of God. Why, because they don’t obey God. In fact, they hate God, as the Jews of Christ’s day hated Him. The pretence was far more desirable than actual obedience. But when Jesus called, Lazarus came out in obedience to that call. Why? Because he had learned in life to live in obedience to Jesus and His teachings.
The man who had died came out, his hands and feet tied with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a handkerchief. Jesus told them, “Untie him, and let him go.”
It is God’s desire that we be untied and unbound from the bondage of our churches, pastors, denominations and the things of this world. It is God’s desire that we be unwrapped from that which is binding us down to this world. Stand up in Jesus and become obedient to Him. Listen to Him when He tells you to stop sinning, be perfect and to keep the Ten Commandments for your eternal life. Let His teachings, His commands, His life fill your life and you will come forth at the last day unto eternal life.
When Lazarus was raised to life, it was not to “eternal life”, but to an earthly life. He would again be brought under the power of death. But at that time there would be no sorrow since all would know that he was simply sleeping in the grave and would one day be raised by the same voice that raised him long ago in the little town of Bethany.
Another interesting point, nowhere in the Bible do we hear of Lazarus giving any accounts of being in Heaven or seeing a “bright light” guiding him to Heaven. Jesus didn’t ask him to relate his journey to Heaven and then back to earth. If Lazarus had been in Heaven, I am sure he would not have been too happy being called back to earth. How cruel of Jesus to bring him back from Heaven to earth. No, Lazarus was sleeping in the grave and was very happy that Jesus called him back to life.
Many of the Jews who had come with Mary and had observed what Jesus did believed in him.
For most people, it is the “signs and miracles” that “convince” them. However, I am not so sure they are really convinced. Mary, Martha and Lazarus did not believe in Jesus because of the “signs and miracles”, but because of His love for them. He set them free from sin and taught them how to live a better life. This they accepted. They wanted to please God and Jesus was teaching them how to do it. The rest was just “icing on the cake”.
The churches, pastors and denominations are all going after the miracles and signs to keep the people wrapped up in the church. There is a nominal belief, a temporary acknowledgement of a power, but it isn’t enough to change the heart. Church members are still continuing in their sins.
Some of them, however, went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.
And of course, there are always those who are only along for the ride but their hearts are with the organization, the church and their pastor. When they see something that does not fit in with their “belief” they run off to their church, pastor or denomination with the news. Churches are full of little “snitches”. They don’t want to change their own lives, but they sure can point the finger and tattle about others. It is all politics, pride and ego.
So the high priests and the Pharisees assembled the Council and said, “What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our Temple and our nation.
That is what our churches, pastors and denominations are concerned with - “our Temple and our nation”. There is no concern about truth, only power, money, pride and ego. We can’t allow anything to bring the civil authorities down on us. We can’t acknowledge truth, the civil authorities might not like that and take away our power, money, ego, pride and authority. So, don’t rock the boat and be sure to bend to political pressure and majority opinions. But above all, don’t stand up for the truth. After all, have you stood up in your church and proclaimed their sins? Sorry, I didn’t mean to disturb your sleep; go back to sleep.
But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, told them, “You don’t know anything! You don’t realize that it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed.”
Our churches, pastors and denominations are very willing to sacrifice anyone who stands in the way of their church, religion or denomination. They would rather break the Ten Commandments than to love one who told them the truth. Get out of your church now. If you are firmly seated in your church, you are firmly lost, eternally.
Now he did not say this on his own initiative. As high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but that he would also gather into one the children of God who were scattered abroad.
The High Priest’s statement was simply the outworking of a heart that had lost all connection with God. Church, denomination, system, traditions, feast days, ceremonies and rituals had replaced God in the heart. Anything to protect the religion, even breaking God’s commandments. How far the church had fallen. So it has today. But God used that natural outworking of his heart to bring about the prophecies of the Old Testament.
God is doing the same today. The natural outworking of the sinful, human heart is bringing about the prophecies of the Bible for these last days of earth’s history.
“And not only for the nation, but that he would also gather into one the children of God who were scattered abroad.” Jesus did not come for the Jews. He did not come to die for the Jews. Jesus came for the world. “For God so loved the world . . .”. John 3:16. Every human being belongs to God. He is the Creator of all mankind.
All have sinned and all need Jesus as their Savior. All who are scattered abroad, all who have sinned, every religion, every belief, every person needs Jesus in order be gathered “into one” with God. But if you belong to your church or denomination, you cannot belong to God.
So from that day on they resolved to put him to death. As a result, Jesus no longer walked openly among the Jews. Instead, he went from there to a town called Ephraim in the region near the wilderness. There he remained with his disciples.
This little ministry has a hard time walking “openly” among church members. They hate God. They hate the truth. They hate anything that comes between them and their church, pastor or denomination: even Jesus. They want Jesus to accept them in their sins and in being firmly seated in their church. They do not want Him telling them the truth.
Now the Jewish Passover was approaching, and before the Passover many people from the countryside went up to Jerusalem to purify themselves.
Yes, let us “purify” ourselves before we commit murder. Let us make ourselves ritually “clean” in church while we continue our filthy lives of sin. Of course, if we are judging ourselves by those around us, we look pretty good. Unfortunately, Jesus will not be judging you by those around you. He will be judging you by His law, the Ten Commandments. According to His law, you will die unless you obey Jesus to be perfect, stop sinning and keep the Ten Commandments to get your eternal life.
They kept looking for Jesus and saying to one another as they stood in the Temple, “What do you think? Surely he won’t come to the festival, will he?”
Two thousand years later and we are still hearing the same thing. “Surely He won’t come”. Church member’s today truly do not want Jesus to come and spoil their “wonderful” lives. They are having so much fun in church. All that singing, waving of their arms, dancing and hypnotic Spiritual Formation is too good to stop. To be obedient to Jesus, stop sinning, be perfect and to keep the Ten Commandments to get their eternal life, is not what they want to do. They do not want to give up this world and all they have. Like the Jews, going to church is more fun than going to Jesus and humbling yourself to change your character.
Now the high priests and the Pharisees had given orders that whoever knew where he was should tell them so that they could arrest him.
Again, our churches and leaders do not want to hear the truth. If they could, they would arrest us and kill us as the Jews did Jesus. Anyone who dares to stop their grand party is a threat to their power, money, ego and pride. Churches that were built under the pretense of glorifying Jesus, do nothing but glorify the human.
Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived in Bethany, where Lazarus lived, the man whom Jesus had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of very expensive perfume made of pure nard and anointed Jesus’ feet. She wiped his feet with her hair, and the house became filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
Jesus wasn’t wanted in His church so His friends put on a dinner for Him. A few of His closest and dearest honored Him. They were all looking forward to Jesus sitting as King on the throne of David. Little did they know that within a week He would be arrested by their church, condemned, scourged, beaten and crucified.
Today, little do we know what tomorrow brings. We need to be showing honor to those who are on the front lines of the war; those who are bringing the good news that we can stop the sin in our lives. That we can live the Ten Commandments perfectly, as Jesus did. Tomorrow they may be removed from the battle and laid to rest. Are you doing all you can to help?
But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, who was going to betray him, asked, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold for 300 denarii and the money given to the destitute?” He said this, not because he cared about the destitute, but because he was a thief. He was in charge of the moneybag and would steal what was put into it.
Those who put money in place of honor are always betraying true Christians. Their pride and ego is so great, money has become their god, and they are selling out God’s people for their church, money, ego, pride and show.
Then Jesus said, “Leave her alone so she can observe the day of my burial, because you will always have the destitute with you, but you will not always have me.”
In the world of politics, whether in the days of Judas or now, the self-righteous are exposing the Judases and publishing their “crimes”. The churches are full of those who love gossiping about those who do not measure up to their beliefs and opinions. But Jesus was very careful not to expose Judas for what he was. The disciples, at that time, were not aware that he was a thief. They were not aware of his design to betray Jesus. If Jesus had tried to expose Judas, the disciples may have felt that Judas had a good reason to betray Jesus. Therefore, Jesus let it play out so all would see the true Judas. Are you going to wait until it is too late? Are your eyes open?
When the large crowd of Jews realized that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.
People come to churches to see the show. We have a great evangelist coming. We have one who can “heal” the sick. We have a world famous health specialist to teach us how to live longer. On and on it goes. But none of it will get you into heaven. None of it will give you eternal life. They could gaze upon Lazarus all they wanted to. They could gaze upon Jesus for days, but it would not get them one inch closer to eternal life. To get eternal life, all one has to do is get out of church, go to Jesus, listen to what He says, and live in obedience to His teachings.
So the high priests planned to kill Lazarus, too, since he was the reason why so many of the Jews were leaving to believe in Jesus.
Actually, if the high priests and left it alone, they would not have had to worry at all. The people were in it for the show. The people would soon have gotten tired of Jesus. They really didn’t want to change their lives. Once they realized that Jesus would not satisfy their egos, pride and desires for worldly gain, they would have left Him also. But the church needed to show how powerful it was. The pride and ego of the church leaders could not allow Jesus to go on uncontested. After all, for the church, it was a power play between God and their “god” the church. They felt they could win.
The next day the large crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming into Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! How blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel!” Then Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written: “Stop being afraid, people of Zion. Look, your king is coming, sitting upon a donkey’s colt!”
How we love a parade! We all want to be part of the crowd, making a noise, waving our flags and singing our songs. The excitement is wonderful to break up our monotonous lives. That is why we love our churches. We get to go and socialize, show off our new this or that. To talk about ourselves and make ourselves look good. After all, you are not going to church in your curlers and bathrobe, are you?
At first his disciples didn’t understand these things. However, when Jesus had been glorified, they remembered that these things had been written about him and that people had done these things to him.
No, at first, at that moment in time, they also were caught up in the excitement. They thought they had “hit a home run” and that Jesus would be crowned king and they would move from little fishermen and hated tax collectors into powerful positions in the new government.
So the crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to testify to what they had seen. The crowd was going out to meet Jesus because they had heard that he had performed this sign.
None of it had anything to do with their eternal life. They could sing, chant, shout, jump up and down, run, laugh, touch Him, praise Him and acclaim Him all they wanted, but it had nothing to do with their eternal life. Same with our churches today. What a waste of time, money and energy. If you want eternal life, just go home, enter your closet and learn how to be obedient to the teachings of Jesus. Change your character and start living as Jesus commands: perfect, sinless and commandment keeping.
Then the Pharisees told one another, “You see, there is nothing you can do. Look, the world has gone after him!”
Yes, just like today, the world has “gone after Him”. But “going” after Him is not the same as being “obedient” to Him. Almost all religions of the world today acknowledge Jesus in some form or another. His name is being accepted by Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and others. Of course, He was a very good man. We will just sit him alongside our “good” men if that will make you feel better. Now we can all get along. The world will unite around the name of Jesus, but it will have nothing to do with eternal life. They will do as the Jews of Christ’s day did, hunt down and kill those of us who actually obey the teachings of Jesus.
Now some Greeks were among those who had come up to worship at the festival. They went to Philip (who was from Bethsaida in Galilee) and told him, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.”
Over the past 21 years in this ministry, doing the research I have done, I have come to an interesting concept. The world today celebrates the Greek thinkers as the force behind our “modern” thought and philosophy. However, I have a slightly different take on it. Since all good and all wisdom come from God, I was asking myself how God “implanted” the wisdom the world bestows upon the Greeks. Then one day I was reading about Solomon and the light went on. God gave our “modern” thought and philosophy, medical and scientific knowledge to Solomon (990-931 BC). The Bible says that kings came from all over the world to hear his wisdom. This was demonstrated in the record of the Queen of Sheba who came to visit him. I suppose it was more interesting chronicling the visit by a Queen than a Greek king. However, I do believe that God gave the world “heavenly” knowledge through King Solomon. That knowledge and wisdom eventually was transmitted by the Greeks. Keep in mind, much of the wisdom that may have been written by Solomon may have been destroyed by the conquest of the Babylonians. However, the Greeks were continuing to write and transmit the wisdom received by Solomon and which was then transmitted by Thales of Miletus (624-546 BC), one of the Seven Sages of Greece, and eventually Plato (425-348 BC) and on down to the Romans.
Not only the sciences, medicine, philosophy and astronomy, but of course, the religious understandings of the Temple sacrifices and services. There is a close parallel between the Biblical concept of the spiritual warfare taking place between God and Lucifer and the Greek deities. After all, even the
Greeks came from the line of Noah, through the line of Japheth, and his telling and retelling of the story of good and evil, but the sacrifices God required of His people were perverted by the heathen worshipers.
The Israelites leaving Egypt in the great Exodus was not a secret. The whole world became very aware of the dynamic events played out in that part of the world. The Exodus took place in the mid 1400’s BC. By the time the story reached Greece, and was told and retold, I have no problem seeing a Greek poet using that experience to write his Iliad (1194-1184 BC) and the Trojan wars. “The Greeks are quarrelling about whether or not to return Chryseis, a Trojan captive of King Agamemnon, to her father, Chryses, a priest of Apollo. When Agamemnon refuses and threatens to ransom the girl to her father, the offended Apollo plagues them with a pestilence.” (ancient-literature.com). Does the plot not sound familiar? Egypt is holding the “bride” of Christ captive and Christ wants her back. Egypt refuses and Christ sends them pestilence. Ok, you get the point?
So when the wisdom of King Solomon was heard in Greece, I would assume it created quite a stir. Men were sent to hear his wisdom. Solomon would have shared, not only the wisdom of the “world” but the religious wisdom. Down through the centuries that wisdom may have been passed on, little by little, so that by the time of Jesus, there were those who were waiting for the coming of the Messiah.
Philip went and told Andrew, and Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.
If only we would stop taking people to church and begin taking people to Jesus, what a difference it would make in our world today. Only Jesus can change the heart. Without the Spirit of God in the life there is nothing “church” can do to change the life. Only God can change the heart. If church members would stay home and use the time to dig into the Word of God, learning how to live the sinless, perfect and commandment keeping life, lives would be changed and Jesus would come sooner.
Jesus told them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, I tell all of you with certainty, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it produces a lot of grain. The one who loves his life will destroy it, and the one who hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me. And where I am, there my servant will also be. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.”
We love our lives way too much. We love our churches way, way too much. After all, churches are an extension of our lives. Those who love their lives and their churches “will destroy it”. But those who give up their lives and their churches and go to Jesus “will preserve it for eternal life”. You must learn from Jesus how to live His life. No one else can do it for you. Only those who serve Jesus will be honored by the Father. If you are serving a church or denomination, you have no honor from the Father.
“Now my soul is in turmoil, and what should I say—’Father, save me from this hour’? No! It was for this very reason that I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name.”
Jesus was willing to give His life for you. He gave up His church for you. His life was lived for you to follow. If you are not following it, you cannot follow Him into Heaven.
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again!”
The Old Testament tells us that a person’s word or behavior can only be verified by the witness of two or more witnesses. The Father “witnessed” to and about His Son at His baptism, on the Mount of Transfiguration and again here just before His death. If you want the Father to glorify you in your life, get out of your church and go to Jesus and live as He commands. That is why the Father glorified Jesus, He lived exactly as the Father commanded. He is our example. Who are you following and glorifying?
The crowd standing there heard this and said that it was thunder. Others were saying, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus replied, “This voice is for your benefit, not for mine. Now is the time for the judgment of this world to begin. Now will the ruler of this world be thrown out. As for me, if I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself.” He said this to indicate the kind of death he was about to die.
The whole world today has been drawn to Jesus. But not all are drawn for the same reason. Just as all were drawn to Jesus during the last seven days of His earthly life, so now. Some to love Him, some to hate Him, some to crucify Him and most, simply for selfish reasons - what they could get from Him. What draws you to Jesus?
Then the crowd answered him, “We have learned from the Law that the Messiah remains forever. So how can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?”
It is no different today. People are running around quoting from the Bible, but they have never read it, in its fullness, under the inspiration of the Spirit of God. You can read it all you want, like Lucifer does, but unless you have the Spirit of God, your reading is worse than useless. People, churches and denominations are getting it all turned around, inside out and upside down. If they had been studying the Scriptures for truth, praying for the guidance of the Spirit of God, and being obedient to the Spirit, the Spirit would have guided them into the proper interpretation and they would have understood the Messiah’s work. The same goes today for the coming of Jesus. People are not properly preparing for it. They are being misled by their churches, pastors and denominations.
Jesus replied to the crowd, “The light is among you only for a short time. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. The person who walks in the darkness is in the darkness and does not know where he is going.
The churches today are all walking in darkness. Unless they walk in the Light, that darkness will overtake them completely and there will be no escape. They willingly walk in darkness, disobedient to the Light of God to stop sinning, be perfect and to keep the Ten Commandments to get their eternal life. What more can God do?
As long as you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.” After Jesus had said this, he went away and hid from them.
There was nothing more He could do. He had to hide himself from them. They desired the darkness of their church to His Light. God is sending this ministry to the world to shine the Light of Jesus and His truth, but the world prefers their dark churches to the Light of Jesus. There will come a time when the door of mercy will shut forever on those who claim to be “God’s children” and His “remnant”. Unless they come out of their churches and walk with Jesus, it will be too late.
Let us follow the “dominoes”. Jesus commands us to “believe in the light so that you may become children of light”. He didn’t tell us to go to church to become “children of light”, but to “believe in the Light”. So let us take a look at this “Light” and see if we are believing and walking in His Light.
1) Jesus claims to be the truth. John 14:6
2) Jesus told us to teach the world everything He commanded us. Matthew 28:20
3) Jesus commanded us to:
a) Be perfect. Matthew 5:48
b) Stop sinning. John 8:11; 5:14
c) Keep the Ten Commandments to get eternal life: Matthew 19:17
4) 2 John 1:8-11 Tells us that if we do not hold to these teachings, we do not have God.
I don’t know how to make the Light any brighter. Jesus has made it very bright. The Bible reveals the Light from Genesis to Revelation. There is no change anywhere in the Bible in that Light. Only the churches have changed it and are walking in darkness. I pray that you will get out of your church and start walking in the Light as Jesus is in the Light. As Jeremiah told the church people of his day to get out of their church or be destroyed, so God is calling His people out of the churches in order to be saved from the destruction that is soon to fall on them and the world.