Verse 4:"But when Jesus heard it, He said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, in order that the Son of God may be glorified through it." With such a word from the Lord, even when a person dies, he will still be delivered from death. The Lord looks at the final outcome. Hence, when the Lord leads us through a death that is not really death (such as the one experienced by Lazarus), we should believe in the Lord’s word which says, "not unto death."
Verse 6:"When therefore He heard that he was sick, He remained at that time in the place where He was for two days." He loved all three of them (v. 3). Yet He stayed for two more days. This shows that the Lord knows how to put His soul under subjection.
Verse 25:"He who loves his soul-life loses it; and he who hates his soul-life in this world shall keep it unto eternal life." "Soul-life" is the soul, whereas "eternal life" is the spirit.
This was the most successful time of the Lord’s life. In verses 11 and 12, there were many Jews who had believed. In verses 20 and 21, even the Gentiles came to worship Him. Indeed, "the world has gone after Him" (v. 19). It would have been very easy for the Lord to lead them to believe in Him through His teachings and His power. How easy was the environment!
But the Father intended Him to die (v. 27). All those who do not submit to the Father are not from the Spirit. Although His ability, which is divine, was well able to attract others, He was not willing to walk according to the soul-life. He chose death. He put His soul-life to death. This is the way to fruit-bearing.
Verses 31-32:"Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself." The Lord’s death is the casting out of Satan.
Verses 36b, 42:"Jesus said these things, and He went away and was hidden from them." "Nevertheless even many of the rulers believed into Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue." Who can have natural abilities higher than those of the Lord Jesus? Yet such was the result of His natural ability! If even He had to die, how much more do we have to die?
Verse 39:"Jesus said, Take away the stone. Martha, the sister of him who was deceased, said to Him, Lord, by now he smells, for it is the fourth day that he is there." All those whose eyes are on "the fourth day" will despair, be sorrowful, and weep. We thank the Lord that on the fifth day Lazarus came alive.
Verse 35:"Jesus wept." The Lord Jesus knew that His friend would resurrect. Yet He wept because He sympathized with men. How tender He is!
Verse 1:"Therefore let us also, having so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, put away every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us and run with endurance the race which is set before us." "Encumbrance" and "sin" are two hurdles of Satan. He wants us to sin. If we do not sin, he will try to put burdens, sorrows, grief, apathy, and depression on our hearts. The way to overcome is to exercise our will. To "put away" is an act of the will. This means that we have to exercise our will reject sin and reject the burdens.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 07: The Christian (5), Chapter 30, by Watchman Nee)