Was Jesus a Show-Off?

He did not do miracles to show off. He was not a magician or performer. And He refused to do signs and wonders to prove Himself. So why did He raise Lazarus from the dead?

Yeshua did not do miracles to show off. He was not a magician or performer. And He refused to do signs and wonders to prove Himself. (Image credit: Bigstock / Composition © FFOZ)

Martha, the sister of Lazarus, objected to opening her brother’s tomb. She said, “My Master, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.” The Master dismissed Martha’s objection to lifting the stone from the tomb. He told her, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will behold the glory of God?”

"If you believe"? What if Martha had not believed? Would the Master have performed the miracle in any case? He was never willing to perform a miracle to convince someone that He was the Messiah, but He was willing to perform the miracle to validate that conclusion.

Martha did believe, and He said that Martha would “see the glory of God.” These words allude to the Messianic Era when “the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together” (Isaiah 40:5). The Gospel of John uses the word “glory” almost synonymously with the term “revelation.” Yeshua meant, “You will see God’s power revealed”—a foretaste of the kingdom when the dead will be raised.

Some of the mourners lifted the stone off of the tomb at Yeshua’s behest. He lifted His eyes to heaven, and prayed in the words of Psalm 118:21: “I thank you, My Father, for you have answered me.”

These words imply that the Master had already prayed for the resuscitation of Lazarus, and now He had confidence that His prayer had been heard and answered. The Father always heard His prayers, and He shared a unity of will and purpose with the Father. He prayed aloud so that those around Him might hear: “I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me” (John 11:42).

Yeshua did not utter these words for the sake of His own self-aggrandizement or self-congratulations. He was not showing off. His intention was just the opposite. People had begun to think of Yeshua as a wonder-worker who possessed supernatural power and knowledge and was able to perform wonders like a magician wielding magic powers. His prayer showed them that this was not true. Yeshua has no authority independent of the Father. Only because the Father has sent Him and gave Him authority was He able to quicken the dead.

He reveals the glory of the Father—a foretaste of the kingdom of heaven on earth.

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