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Our Savior's Prayer of Faith, #644

Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. (JOH 11:41-43).

Jesus had rebuked that unclean spirit of unbelief revealed in Martha’s failure to obey. We need to understand that unbelief is the damning sin that destroys the world. Unbelief was the damning sin that stood between Christ and the children of Israel. They refused to believe. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." JOH 3:16. Salvation is limited to those who believe, and I want you to see that Satan will work unbelief in the hearts of every human being to the fullest extent that he can get permission from the Lord.

This monster, this unclean spirit of unbelief, stands between Christ and His church until it is removed. The Lord Jesus was praying for this when He said, "I knew that thou hearest me always." Now look at Verse 41, "And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me." It is by the intercessory prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ that that stone of unbelief is removed.

Jesus had rebuked that unclean spirit of unbelief that was revealed in Martha’s failure to obey as we see in JOH 11:39-40. "Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him [Now this is not the chief priests and the scribes and the Pharisees. This is Martha, the one whom Jesus loved, the one whose brother Lazarus was dead. She resisted and did not obey because of unbelief. She said], Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?" I want you to see how Jesus rebuked that unclean spirit of unbelief. "Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?"

The unbelief of the Jews was also sealed with a stone. This stone at the mouth of Lazarus’ grave stayed there because of unbelief. He told the Jews who were standing by to roll it away, and Martha because of her unbelief became a stumbling block and the stone remained there. It was the unbelief of the Jews that was sealed also with a stone at the grave of our Saviour. They would not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ; they crucified Him and hung Him on the cross to die. When He was laid in the grave, they laid a stone at the grave’s mouth. Now see what the chief priests and Pharisees said when they came to Pilate in MAT 27:63. "Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again."

They were going to prove Him a deceiver. They were going to come with their unbelief. They were going to force Him to stay in that grave. So Pilate told them in Verse 65, "Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can." They were going to make that grave as sure as they knew how. They had now gained the victory over the Lord Jesus Christ. They had Him crucified and in the grave, but they still had a concern. Why? He said after three days He would rise again. Now they had to prove Him wrong one more time.

Look at MAT 27:66, "So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch." They not only wanted to make sure that stone was there, but they put a seal upon it. They sealed the grave to make it as sure as they knew how.

By affixing a seal to fortify their unbelief, they made the sepulchre sure, that is, Pilate said, "Make it as sure as ye can." In their unbelief, in their human reasoning, and in all their human connivance we have to understand that their power or efforts did not limit the Lord.

It is noteworthy that Jesus did not remove the stone. At the grave of Lazarus the Lord Jesus did not remove the stone. The Lord could have, by merely speaking a word, rolled that stone away, but the Lord Jesus did not remove the stone. At His own grave, the Lord Jesus could have rolled back the stone as He came forth, but the Lord Jesus did not remove the stone. He could have also escaped the grave without removing the stone. The mere fact that they had laid a stone at the Saviour’s grave to seal it didn’t mean that the Lord Jesus could not have escaped without removing the stone.

I want you to see that He could have exited the grave as He entered the room where the disciples were. Notice JOH 20:19. "Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you." The doors being shut were not a hindrance to the Lord Jesus’ entry. The doors being shut did not prevent Him from coming and standing in their midst. That stone at the grave could not have hindered Him from escaping the grave as He could have escaped the grave in the same manner.

Notice that it was not the Lord Jesus who moved the stone. This is significant. While the soldiers had their seal upon the stone, the Lord Jesus could very well have escaped the grave, and they would have not have known that He was gone. The Lord had a reason for His way of coming out of the tomb. He would glorify His Father. He would glorify His Father, and His Father would glorify His Son. How? It was by sending an angel from heaven to serve Him. Why? It was an undeniable witness to those unbelieving Jews that He was the Son of God.

What a blessed consolation my friends that the Father did not leave us without that undeniable witness that He was the Son of God. The contention of the Jews and the scribes and the Pharisees was that He had made Himself the Son of God. They called Him a blasphemer. Their unbelief was beyond all description. God sent an angel who rolled back the stone. He sent an angel to serve His Son in the presence of and before the very eyes of His enemies. Why? That they might believe that He was the Son of God, that you and I today might believe that He was the Son of God. It would remove all doubt.

In MAT 28:2-4 we see, "And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. [In other words, the angel was visible to the human eye.] His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men." It wasn’t that they did not recognize him to be an angel from heaven; they shook because they knew they were seeing an angel of the Lord.

The Lord did not leave Himself without a witness. The Lord did not allow Himself to escape the grave unbeknownst to the soldiers, although He might well have done so. Why? It was so they might believe. See what we read in our text in JOH 11:42, "I knew that thou hearest me always, but I have said this on account of the people standing by, that they may believe that thou didst send me." In other words, to make it absolutely undeniable that the people would have no excuse for remaining in unbelief.

Our Saviour's resurrection was not only a victory over hell, death and the grave, it was also a victory over that ugly monster, unbelief. Unbelief is that which damns the world outside of Christ. Remember, JOH 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Satan and all of his hosts in hell know that if you believe, you have escaped his prison of death. The power of unbelief is that which was being broken at the grave of Lazarus. Jesus came to Lazarus’ grave that they might believe, that they might not only hear the prayer and see the miracle, but also that they might believe that the Father had sent Him.

After Jesus had rebuked that unclean spirit of unbelief, He came out of the grave triumphantly before the very eyes of those who thought they could guard His grave to secure their evidence that Jesus was not who He said He was. Look at MAT 28:4, "And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men." They saw it. They saw it with their eyes. They saw the angel and his countenance as lightning. They saw him roll the stone back and sit on it. They became as dead men. All their swords and all their spears and all their might was set at naught. Why? Why did the Lord do that? That they might believe.

What was our Saviour’s obvious reason for sending an angel to roll away this stone? For the same reason revealed in our text as He raised Lazarus. Look at JOH 11:41-43, which follows after Jesus rebuked Martha for unbelief. "Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth."

The Lord Jesus is telling you and me that He was interceding for His people that that stone of unbelief would be removed and that they would obey. The Lord could have saved Martha; He could have saved you and me in spite of our unbelief, but that isn’t how He saves people. The way that the Lord Jesus saves His people is making them willing in the day of His power, by removing unbelief, by giving faith, which is a gift of God. Then we are able to lay hold upon that blessed Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ as our Personal Saviour.

Unbelief must be removed. That is the damning sin that is damning the world. That was the damning sin that was damning the scribes and the Pharisees and the chief priests. That damning sin in Martha had to be removed, and when she obeyed, then they rolled away the stone, after that ugly monster of unbelief was rebuked. Then Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me."

We don’t realize what an important prayer that is for you and me that the Father grants the gift of faith, that we are able to believe and that we are able to lay hold upon Christ and that we are able to believe to the saving of our souls. He removes that stone of unbelief, that we might be spiritually raised out of the grave of sin and death.

I want you to see the daring unbelief of the people. I want you to see the deliberate determination not to believe in the heart of man by nature. What we see in the chief priests and the scribes and the Pharisees is that spirit that is in every human heart outside of the regenerating grace of God.

Look at JOH 12:10-11, "But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus." I want you to see their obstinacy. They had seen undeniable proof that He was the Son of God, and now to keep people from believing on Him, they wanted to put Lazarus to death also.

Look at JOH 11:47-50, "Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people."

They now are becoming so brazenly defiant that they have decided that the solution to this now is to put Jesus to death. That is how we are going to stop Him from doing all these miracles. There is not even a grain of human logic in what they are thinking, but it shows the power of Satan and sin. Jesus had a reply, "Father I thank thee that thou hast heard me." It is in that prayer of faith of the Lord Jesus Christ that that stone of unbelief is removed from the heart of man.

I want you to think of the condescending love of Jesus to bear with such deliberate rebellion and obstinate unbelief. Look at MAT 27:41-42, "Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him." These blasphemers spoke the truth many times. What they said was true. He saved others; Himself he cannot save. Do you know why He couldn’t save Himself? He could not save Himself because He would not have accomplished the purpose of His coming. It was by Him entering death that you and I might live.

Look at the obstinate, provoking pride. "Let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him" Look how they mocked Him while He hung upon the cross. Think of Christ’s condescension. Think how longsuffering our Saviour was that He did not call for fire from heaven when they mocked Him on the cross. We must look unto Christ to see that example of the Spirit of Christ in such conditions.

I want you to see ROM 8:9, "Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." It is important that we understand that blessed self-sacrificial spirit of Christ in the face of such blasphemy, in the face of such mockery and in the face of such cruelty. When He was hanging on the cross, He said in LUK 23:34 "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."

Jesus rebuked His own disciples for a wrong spirit that would comply with human reasoning in LUK 9:54-56, "And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? [See the spirit of human reasoning.] But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. [You don’t realize that you are of a wrong attitude.] For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village."

Does it not exceed all comprehension from the human mind to think that the Lord Jesus Christ came to save those very mockers who were ridiculing and taunting Him on the cross? We read that in ACTS 2, when the Lord Jesus had returned to heaven, and the Holy Spirit had come and had moved upon many of those who had taken part in His crucifixion, and the Apostle Peter said in Verses 31 to 33. "He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear."

Then He goes on in Verses 37 and 38, "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized [Change that attitude of yours. Change that wrong spirit, that unbelieving spirit.] every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."

"They were pricked in their hearts," and they were those very people who were mocking Him while He hung upon the cross. He was praying for them, and He said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." In ROM 8:9 we are admonished, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." If we have not that spirit of Christ we are none of His is a powerful statement.

Though Jesus had raised one from the dead they did not believe. Would they really believe if Jesus came down from the cross? They said in MAT 27:42, "If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him." Would they have really believed?

When the Lord Jesus told that parable about the rich man and Lazarus, He said in LUK 16:31 "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." Here we see that the Lord Jesus has raised one from the dead, and they had seen an angel come down from heaven and roll away the stone. Now see how determined they were to deceive the people even after they had seen this with their own eyes.

Look at MAT 28:11-15, "Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day."

Did they believe? Do you see what a lesson this teaches us of the unregenerate heart? What a lesson this teaches us of the nature of man. There was no further excuse. The Lord Jesus came and revealed that He indeed was the Son of God.

Now, my beloved friends, what a blessed consolation it is that our Saviour has not only purchased our salvation with the price of His own life’s blood, but now He stands before the Father to intercede for us. That intercessory prayer, when Martha was stumbling over that stone of unbelief, her Saviour was laying it before the Father in heaven, "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me." What was He praying for? He was pleading for that stone of unbelief to be removed and to grant faith to obey.

We can plead with our children, brothers and sisters, our father and our mother, but we need to understand that spiritual death is revealed in the attitudes that we see in the scribes and the Pharisees and the chief priests. The Father can only remove that spirit of unbelief when He grants the gift of faith, the obedience of faith. What a consolation you and I have that we have the intercessory prayers of our blessed Saviour. When our loved ones are still under the power of sin, we must come before that blessed throne of grace, begging for the intercessory prayers of our Saviour, that the Father of heaven and earth would grant faith and take away that stone of unbelief in our loved ones.

In 1JO 2:1-3 we read, "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." We have such consolation in that He is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world.

Where then is the stumbling stone? The only thing that stands between unbelievers and salvation is the willingness to believe. The Saviour now might intercede before the Father, that He will remove that stone of unbelief that seals the grave of spiritual death. That spiritual resurrection lifts them out of that grave of spiritual death that they might come forth with the obedience of faith.

How do we know that our Saviour intercedes for us? What evidence do we have? Look at 1JO 2:3. I want you to see the connecting link. "And hereby we do know that we know him." That is the first part of the verse.

Now, the Apostle John was probably the richest man in the way of experience of any man recorded in Scripture. He lay in the Saviour’s bosom at the Last Supper. He was with the Saviour on the Mount of Transfiguration. He was on the Isle of Patmos and had the revelation of Jesus Christ. He wrote the book of Revelation. Was there ever a man more rich in experience than the Apostle John was? The Apostle John is telling you and me how we may know. Is it because he had all his experience or you experienced a certain thing? No. That is not what he says. I am not saying that experiences aren’t blessed and that they aren’t something to cherish, but they are not a foundation to build on. You don’t build the hope of your salvation based on an experience. Now read the entire verse. "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments." 1JO 2:3. Now you see the verse in its entirety, and know the whole truth of it.

The Saviour’s intercessory prayer before the Father that the stone of unbelief might be removed and that we might be granted the obedience of faith. We know because we keep His commandments. We keep them willingly with love for the Lord.

The Father heard Jesus always because Jesus always did His Father’s will. In the prayer of faith that the Saviour lays before His Father: "And I knew that thou hearest me always." JOH 11:42. Do you and I want our prayers heard? Then we must do the Father’s will. The Father heard Jesus always because He did the Father’s will.

Now, watch what we see in 1JO 3:22, and consider how that applies to you and me. "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight." See why He could say before the Father, "And I know that thou hearest me always." He always did the Father’s will. Do we do His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight?

Is this preaching legalism? No. I am reading that to you right out of the Holy Word of God. That is the gospel. That is the fruit of salvation. That is the evidence of salvation, not the cause of it. That isn’t why we are saved; it is proof that we are saved. It is how we know. The Apostle John said in 1JO 2:3, "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments."

So, the absolute proof that we are not perishing in the unbelief and rebellion of the unregenerate, but that our heavenly Father has heard our Saviour’s prayer on our behalf is that we have come to know Him. The Lord Jesus Christ said in JOH 17:3, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."

What does it say about knowing Him? "Hereby do we know that we know him." What does that mean? Hereby we know that we have eternal life. Why? "If we keep His commandments."

Look at 1JO 2:4-6. I want you to see this contrast. He not only shows us the positive, but He shows us the negative. "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. [That is how we know.] He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked." The Lord has given us that delight in doing His will.

Two cannot walk together except they are agreed. Can we be in disagreement with the will of God and say that we are walking with Him? No. "He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked."

Now, I want you to see how Martha's faith, and that of those who rolled away the stone from Lazarus’ grave, was granted in answer to the intercession of our Saviour. Look at JOH 11:40-44 to see how important that believing is. "Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. [When He rebuked that unbelieving spirit, they took away the stone. They obeyed.] And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me." He did this to establish undeniable evidence that He was the Son of God. Verse 43-44 continue, "And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go."

We are delivered from the grave of spiritual death. When one of our loved ones is still bound in that grave of spiritual death with graveclothes, in other words, with the powers and the love of sin, those graveclothes have to be broken. The love for sin must be cut off. We need to understand that principle; David said in PSA 119:113, "I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love." That is the work of regeneration. That is the spiritual resurrection. That is being born again.

Our Saviour's prayer of faith is such a blessed consolation for us when we struggle with vain thoughts, that is, with a divided mind of unbelief, and skepticism. We spoke about that last Sunday from PSA 119:113. Those vain thoughts, according to the translation out of the Greek, is speaking of a divided mind of unbelief or skepticism. David said he hated those vain thoughts, those assaults of unbelief.

Our Saviour’s prayer of faith also reveals His example of submission. Notice, it not only rebukes the unbelief, but it also exemplifies His submission and His honoring the Father for granting the very miracle He was about to perform. The Lord Jesus did not take the glory to Himself. He gives the honor to His Father. Now, see our command to follow His example in this. Look at MAT 11:29, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." We have a command that we are to follow these footsteps of Christ, following these examples of self-sacrificial love. We are taught what spirit we are to do this in when we come to follow Him, to take up our yoke. In other words, we are commanded to come under His service, and to learn of Him.

Now look at PRO 3:5-6 and see the attitude we are to have; "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding." We are to be able to come with childlike faith, knowing that we have not figured out everything first. We don’t need to have our human reasoning put it all together logically before we obey. Verse 6 continues, "In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

So, heretofore, our Saviour claimed to be the Son of God, and His claim and His miracles had been blasphemously rejected and attributed to the devil. See this in JOH 10:17-21 where Jesus is talking about laying down His life. "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him? Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?"

They were attributing His miracles and His gracious words to an unclean spirit. Look at the blasphemy that they were bringing against Him.

Jesus had told the messenger who came to tell Him that Lazarus was sick, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby" as we read in JOH 11:4. Jesus delayed His journey to help Lazarus "For the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby." Now I want you to see a connection here. It is first for the glory of the Father; that is why He attributed the whole miracle to the Father. In doing so, "the Son of Man might be glorified thereby."

In other words, the second effect is that Jesus should be glorified. I want you to follow this in JOH 12: 27 and 28, "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again."

It is important that we understand this connection. So we see here that He said He was acting for the glory of God that the Son of man might be glorified. So, how did the Father glorify His name?

First, the unconditional surrender and obedience of His Son glorified the Father. Jesus obeyed unto death, even the death of the cross. That was how the Father was glorified in the first instance. Now look at PHI 2:9-11 and we will see how He glorified it the second time by glorifying His Son, for such humble obedience. "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

The Father is glorified by glorifying the Son because the Son’s first objective was to glorify the Father. And this is what we see here. He now in His prayer said in JOH 11:41-42. "Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me."

When Jesus commanded Lazarus to come forth, He is attributing it all to the glory of the Father. The Son is glorified by first glorifying the Father.

Now at the graveside, while all the people are standing with breathless interest to see what will follow, Jesus has commanded that the stone be removed. Jesus did not step forward and run ahead of His Father. What does He say? Our text says, "And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me." I want you to see that He is now attributing the glory to the Father. Here He is before the open grave, the stone has been removed, and a miracle is about to be performed. First, He raises His eyes to the Father and gives Him the glory for what He is performing. The Father is answering the Son’s prayer; "I thank thee that thou hast heard me."

Jesus gives His Father the honor for the miracle about to be performed, but also acknowledges what He had said in Verse 4. He acknowledges that it was for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified in this instance. In Verse 42 we read, "And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me." The Lord Jesus’ sole purpose for this resurrection of Lazarus was undeniable evidence that people might believe that the Father had sent Him. They had denied this. They had told Him that He had a devil for saying it. They had told Him that He was a blasphemer and tried to stone Him to death for saying that He was the Son of God.

Now Jesus presents the people with undeniable evidence. He laid it before the Father, giving Him the glory, that they may believe He is His Father’s Son. In other words, that He is doing this at the bidding of the Father.

This becomes so significant when we realize it took place just before His last entry into Jerusalem to make His great atonement. This was another public declaration that He did nothing separate from His Father’s will. This is what He testified unto them in JOH 8:42, "Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me." They were so against that concept that they called Him a devil.

See with what perfect confidence our Saviour places His wishes before His Father before this multitude. In JOH 11:41-42 we read, "And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me." He didn’t say it because He questioned. I want you to see with what utmost confidence, without any hesitation, without a grain of unbelief, that by power of faith, the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, He said, "I thank thee that thou hast heard me." I want you to see the demonstration of faith. He said it because of an unbelieving people, that they might believe.

Our Saviour’s footprints closely follow His teachings. We need to understand that our teaching and our footprints must correspond. Look at MAT 21:21-22, "Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."

How many mountains seemingly come before us in our lifetimes? A set of circumstances can become such a mountain, so insurmountable, but when we ask, believing, those mountains can be removed. The Lord Jesus was not making reference to a physical, literal mountain being cast into the sea; He was talking about was the mountain of sin standing between the Lord and us. The Lord Jesus is teaching us that the circumstances we come into can become such a mountain before us, so insurmountable. What does He say? "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."

That is the important element. We must ask believing that He will do it. Isn’t that what our Saviour did? He thanked His Father for hearing Him and knew that He was always heard. He asked, believing.

These gracious words raised the ire of those jealous scribes, Pharisees and chief priests. Jesus had said, "whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." Now look what we read in the next verse. MAT 21:23 says, "And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?"

He wasn’t of the tribe of Levi. He wasn’t of the priesthood. He wasn’t of those whom they had looked at as authorities. He was the Son of Joseph and Mary, and they knew His brothers and His sisters. Who are you? By what authority do you do this? They were looking for human authority. They saw no authority in the Word. They were offended because He said, "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."

Now at the grave of Lazarus, by His blessed example, our Saviour establishes that "whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." He established this by the fact that He said it, not because He questioned whether the Father heard His prayer, His prayer was a silent prayer, but He said this public prayer, thanking the Father, for hearing Him, that you and I may see the example. That we would know that "whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."

Now, look at JOH 11:41-43, "Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it [to teach the people this principle, that whatsoever we ask, believing, we will receive. To what extent? To the extent of bringing Lazarus out of the grave. He had faith to believe. He had faith to pray a prayer of faith.] that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go."

Our Saviour received what He asked in prayer, believing He would receive— that unbelief might disappear when our eyes are fixed upon Christ. When you and I have our eyes fixed upon Christ in our trials and in our troubles and we see that what He asked, believing, He received. He is our example. If we pray the prayer of faith, believing that we shall receive what we ask if we ask it in faith according to the will of God, we will receive.

Our text says in JOH 11:42, "And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me." Do you see the great struggle between Satan and Christ? It is a struggle over unbelief. In the Garden of Eden it was by casting doubt in the mind of Eve about the right of God to question her ability to know the difference between good and evil. For her to decide what is right and what is wrong. It was by casting doubt in their minds that Satan brought about the fall. Satan was able to get Eve to disobey.

Do you see that the great victory of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is that He has removed the stone of unbelief and grants obedience of faith?

Salvation occurs when the Father answers the intercessory prayer of our Saviour and He grants obedience of faith. How do we know that we know Him? We know we are His if we keep His commandments, if we have received the obedience of faith that we delight to do His will, that we hate vain thoughts, that we hate sin. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil as we read in PRO 8:13. We must understand this truth; "thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me." The great victory of Christ over death and the grave is that we might believe. JOH 3:16 tells us, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Amen.


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