John 11:45 “A Forced Decision”

Introduction:  Jesus, the very name makes men uncomfortable. The reason that Jesus causes discomfort is due to the fact that it forces one to make a decision.  Either Jesus is God or He is not.  Jesus is the only Savior of men or He is not.  There is no middle ground.  Those who believe in Jesus are considered by those who do not believe as misled and misguided. Those who believe in Jesus consider those who do not to be deceived and blind to truth. Jesus told His disciples not to think that He had come to the earth to bring peace.  Jesus causes a division between family and friends and nations because men are forced into a decision. Let us learn from this text what is the decision men are forced to make and what are the consequences of that decision.


I. Some choose to Believe on Jesus.


(John 11:45)  Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.

            “Many” does not mean the majority.  “Many” means a significant number. Of those Jews who had come for the purpose of comforting Mary and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on Him. Notice that two conditions prevail over these who believed on Jesus.  They were in the number of those who had come to comfort and they and saw the things Jesus did. The first of these conditions indicates that these people wanted to please and serve the true and living God. Those who are not pious do not generally care about God or His requirements. These people by coming to comfort Mary have shown a belief in God and a concern for having a proper relationship with God.  They believe in God and believe that God blesses those who seek to do His will. These being from Jerusalem would tend to know the Old Testament scriptures very well. They are for the most part Pharisees. Pharisees knew the law inside and out. They knew the prophets and the Psalms. They know what God had dictated as being proper behavior toward their fellow man and wanted to do His will.

            The second condition, seeing the things that Jesus did, indicates they knew about Jesus and His healing of the blind man outside the Temple.  They had heard the arguments from both sides and had, at least for the time being, sided with those who believed Jesus to be at the most a prophet of God. They had seen the things Jesus did on the day He raised Lazarus from the dead. They saw Jesus weep. They saw Jesus command the people to remove the stone from the tomb.  They saw Jesus look up to heaven and pray to the Father.  They saw Jesus cry with a loud voice call Lazarus to come forth.  They saw the results of the things Jesus did.  They saw Him command them to loose Lazarus and set him free. They saw the dead raised to life and they saw Him turn sorrow into joy.

            Putting all of this evidence together these which comprise the many of verse forty five concluded that Jesus was the Christ the Son of God.  Mary, Martha, and Lazarus along with the disciples of Jesus had already come to this decision.  They had decided long ago that Jesus was the Savior which should come into the world. Can a man raise the dead? No.  If man had such power then no one would be left in the grave. Armies would never be defeated. Funeral Homes would be none existent. Only God has the power to raise the dead.  Men can not give life nor can they revive one who is dead on God can do this.  Jesus is God. Jesus is the savior of men.  The Old Testament prophets had foretold that God would provide Himself a sacrifice. God would come and His name would be called Wonderful Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace.  His name, the prophet said, would be called Immanuel which means “God with us.”  

            To believe on Jesus is to believe that He is who He claims to be. He claims to be God.  Do you believe that He is God?  He claims to be the savior of men. Do you believe Jesus is the savior of men. He claims that He will save all those who repent of sin and call upon Him for salvation.  Have you repented and called upon the name of the Lord asking Him to save your soul.  If you have then you too believe on Him.


II. Some choose to not believe on Jesus.

(John 11:46)  But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.

            There are those who decide not to believe on Jesus.  The word “some” here does not mean most nor does it mean few.  Some is one less than all. Since the word “many” was not used we may assume that it was not a large nor significant number. This is not to say that these who constituted the “some” of verse forty six are not important. One person rejecting Jesus as the Savior is sad and God is not willing that any should perish.

            These people went their ways. This indicates that they did not go as a group to the Pharisees but individually they went to different men who were Pharisees.  They reported to them what things Jesus had done.  They reported what they had seen with their own eyes.  Their view of Jesus is that He is a sinner.  They believe that not only is He not God but that He is not even from God at all.  Their minds are made up that Jesus does not fit their conception of what the Messiah would be like. They believe that Jesus has broken the Sabbath and that Messiah would not have done this. They believed that the Messiah would be a great deliverer and would overthrow the Roman Empire’s rule over Israel. Jesus had made no attempt to do this. Jesus just did not fit their mold.

            The “some” of this verse saw the same things that the “many” saw and made opposite conclusions.  They can not see the truth because of their lack of faith and their preconceived ideas. If they continue with this frame of mind they will end up in the fires of Hell.

            Nothing is said concerning those who believed on Jesus about their going their ways to tell others about Jesus.  I suspect that they too went and told their friends and family about what they had seen Jesus do. Like the woman at the well they told of their experience with Jesus and added their conclusion that He is indeed the Christ the Son of God.