Lazarus was dead, victim of a fatal illness. His sisters Mary and Martha grieved with his friends over his sudden death. Jesus Christ also wept—though not for the same reason.
When the people saw Christ approach Lazarus’ tomb,
“groaning in Himself” (John 11:38),
some in the crowd said, “Behold how He loved him!” Others criticized Him:
“Could not this Man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?” (John 11:36-37).
It did not dawn on His audience that Jesus
“groaned in the Spirit, and was troubled” (John 11:33)
because of their stunning lack of faith and understanding.
As He approached the tomb, Martha said to Him,
“Lord, if You had been here, my brother [would] not have died” (John 11:21).
When Jesus told her that Lazarus “shall rise again,” she simply replied, “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (John 11:23-24).
Martha and the others “didn’t get it.” Despite the amazing miracles they had witnessed Christ perform, they never considered that He had the authority—right then and there—to resurrect the dead.
“I AM the resurrection, and the life,” He assured Martha. “He that believes in Me, though He were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25).
After the people reluctantly obeyed His order to remove the stone from Lazarus’ grave, Jesus looked up into the sky and boldly prayed aloud before the onlookers. “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me,” He said. “And I knew that You hear Me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that You have sent Me” (John 11:41-42).
Then Jesus commanded, “Lazarus, come forth!”—and Lazarus instantly came back to life.
The four Gospel books are filled with accounts of Jesus boldly walking in faith to perform astounding miracles. Jesus made it clear that He, of His own physical self, did not perform miracles—His Father performed them through Him:
“The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwells in Me, He does the works” (John 14:10).
Their relationship was so close, so unique, that they were always of the same mind, will and purpose. Christ confidently knew His Father would back Him up in doing the humanly impossible. Many times Jesus spoke about their special bond:
“As the Father knows Me, even so know I the Father” (John 10:15).
“I and My Father are one” (John 10:30).
“The Father is in Me, and I in Him” (John 10:38).
“Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me” (John 14:11).
“You, Father, are in Me, and I in You…We are one” (John 17:21-22).
The bond between the Father and Jesus Christ, which has existed from eternity, serves as a model for the relationship God ultimately desires to share with humanity.
Before the earth existed—before there were moons, planets, stars, constellations, galaxies and everything found in the ever-expanding universe—there was God.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God” (John 1:1-2).
“There is one God,” the apostle James wrote (Jms. 2:19).
“God” in Old Testament Hebrew is Elohim, a collective noun that can be used in both singular and plural forms, such as with “sheep, deer, cattle, offspring, series, species, equipment, aircraft” and other terms. It was Elohim who said,
“Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness” (Gen. 1:26).
One God—one divine family, or kingdom—comprised of two individual Members.
God and the Word (who was also God) never argued, never debated, never worked against each other, but instead lived and worked together in perfect unison, harmony and peace throughout eternity.
In the book of Amos, God asks a rhetorical question:
“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3).
The answer is an obvious “no.” God and the Word were able to “walk together” without contention because they always agreed with each other.
One had to take the lead and make the final decisions. Think of the sign on U.S. President Harry S. Truman’s desk: “The buck stops here.” The Other—the Word (logos in Greek)—represented God, serving as divine “Spokesman” for God’s kingdom, following, supporting and carrying out God’s commands. One led; the other followed His lead. Yet they were both equally God, in character and power. Their relationship reflected government in action.
For example, the two Beings in the Godhead had a “profession”: creating, planning, designing, building and sustaining. In this regard, each Member of the God Family had a role to play. The One whom we know today as the Father was the executive decision-maker. The Word served as Counselor and implementer—the One who made the decisions happen, via the power of the Holy Spirit.
Both Beings worked together in one mindset. There was no room for envy, pride or selfish ambition, for God is love
And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. (I John 4:16)
“is kind; [it] envies not…vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth…[Love] never fails” (I Cor. 13:4-6, 8).
The government-based relationship between God and the Word functioned through love and truth. Love is outgoing concern for others, lowering the self to serve others’ needs, concerns and interests. Truth—God’s Word and His Law
Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth (Psa. 119:142
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. John 17:17)
—tells one how to express love:
“Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 13:10).
In the book of Genesis, there is a reference to Melchizedek
And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
14:19: And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
14:20: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all. (Gemesos 14:18-20).
Many have wondered about the identity of this individual.
The book of Hebrews sheds light on who fulfilled this role:
“For this Melchizedek, King of Salem, Priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him” (Hebrews 7:1)
It is important to note that Melchizedek had two other titles—King of Salem and Priest of the Most High God.
The apostle Paul went into greater detail in:
“To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abides a priest continually.” Hebrews 7:2-3
Here, Paul is describing one who has existed for eternity, as indicated by the phrase “having neither beginning of days, nor end of life.” This alone proves that Melchizedek could not have been a human king, as is the common assertion. Further, because the passage describes Him as not having “beginning of days,” this personage also could not have been an angel, since angels are created beings—they had a definite beginning. Only God has existed for eternity. This leaves only two Beings able to fulfill the role of Melchizedek: the Father or Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 5 removes all doubt of Melchizedek’s identity:
“So also Christ glorified not Himself to be made an High Priest; but He that said unto Him, You are My Son, today have I begotten You. As He says also in another place, You are a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec” (Hebrews 5:5-6).
The Moffatt translation best renders “after the order of Melchizedec” as “with the rank of Melchizedec.” Christ held the rank of Melchizedek during the time of Abraham—and, as the God of the Old Testament, is the Being who is referred to as Melchizedek in Genesis.
In just a few verses, we have seen that Jesus Christ was the One called Melchizedek.
Theirs was not a lopsided totalitarian relationship in which one “lorded over” the other. They were a team—they worked together to achieve the same goals. God was the Supreme Leader, and the Word, or “Spokesman,” represented His will and made it come to pass.
As we have seen, God created angels and extended His government through them under the archangels (Michael, Gabriel and Lucifer). Then God created the universe, including the earth. Everything was perfect; all went according to plan…until Lucifer and the angels under him rebelled against their Creator. In the wake of their rebellion, the physical universe was left in decay
For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
8:21: Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Rom. 8:20-21)
Many years later, perhaps multiple millions, God recreated the earth (Gen. 1) to provide a suitable environment for His next creation: man.
Through humanity, God planned to expand His Family. Man was created temporary, fragile, physically limited to his environment. God endowed him with mind power (in contrast to animals, which function on instinct), imparting man with creative intelligence and ingenuity. Yet man was created spiritually incomplete; he needed an additional Spirit at work in his mind so that he could successfully solve spiritual problems and have a personal relationship with his Maker. With God’s Spirit building holy, righteous character in him, man would have the potential to be born into the God Family.
However, man sinned, choosing to eat of the wrong tree—that of self-knowledge, judging for oneself right from wrong. In effect, he cut himself off from God, to live a lifetime of decisions that, at best, would be a poisonous mixture of good and evil.
With the ultimate goal of bringing mankind into salvation, a Savior was needed, One for whom sin was possible, yet sin-free so He would be a perfect sacrifice, taking onto Himself the penalty of sin—death
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom. 6:23)
—in mankind’s stead.
And so the Word, through the power of God’s Spirit, allowed Himself to be born flesh
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14).
The close bond between God and the Word continued in Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry.
The Rock of the Old Testament lowered Himself to be born of a woman. Notice:
“Who [Christ], being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:6-8).
Jesus was God in the flesh, a member and representative of the kingdom of God, yet He was physical.
Christ, the living Word personified, authored the written Word, the Bible. During His time in the flesh, Jesus used the “Bible” in His mind—the
“sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17)
—to make right decisions. He knew well the verses describing the true nature of man
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jer. 17:9
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Prov. 14:12
All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits. Prov. 16:2
There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Prov. 16:25
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts. Prov. 21:2
which is why Jesus said,
“Why call you Me good? None is good, save one, that is, God” (Luke 18:19).
He later inspired the apostle Paul to write,
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not” (Rom. 7:18).
Therefore, Christ daily practiced suppressing His own will—the natural human reasoning that dwells in man’s nature—to serve His Father’s will. Jesus knew Him. He trusted Him. He placed His life and safety in God’s hands.
Again, Christ, of His own physical self, did not perform miracles—His Father did them through Him
Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. (John 14:10)
Jesus exercised perfect faith, knowing His prayers would be answered because He always sought and prayed according to God’s will.
Later, during His earthly ministry, Jesus performing awesome miracles was the result of Him seeking power from the ultimate authority in the universe—God Supreme—and then exercising that authority while seeking His Father’s will.
It was this relationship of faith, power, authority, government, truth and love that enabled Christ, when He was about to be arrested, tried, tortured and crucified, to pray,
“Father, if You be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42).
Jesus knows what it is like to be human, to feel the temptations and pressures that come from the self, society and Satan. He knows what it is like to wage spiritual warfare day after day after day. He knows that the flesh is weak, that it becomes weary. Christ knows what it means to be tempted.
Yet He never gave in. He never gave up
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Heb. 4:15).
And today Jesus Christ is in heaven with the Father, serving as our
“Mediator between God and men” (I Tim. 2:5)
He is able to relate to God what we as fallible human beings experience in striving to overcome sin.
Jesus takes the prayers of His people before God’s throne, into the “Holy of Holies,” and gives them the authority to pray to God directly. This is why we are to close our prayers with, “In Jesus’ name” or “In the name of Jesus Christ,” or something similar.
True Christians are spiritually begotten sons of God. They have God’s Spirit dwelling in them:
“Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His…For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:9, 14)
This potent verse is rarely considered. Why are so few concerned with a passage so definitive in regard to who is and is not a Christian?
Today, Christ is working through Christians to conquer sin just as He did—by giving them the power to fully submit to the Father’s will. He enables them to use the Holy Spirit so that it “helps our infirmities:
for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” Rom. 8:26).
As a Christian’s Elder Brother—
“the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom 8:29)
“firstfruit” (Jms. 1:18)
—Jesus assists His people in fulfilling their incredible human potential, to ultimately be born into the God Family. He works to help Christians grow in the father-son relationship He shares with God.
In effect, our Mediator is working to bring us to the point where we can say, “I and My Father are one.”