Bible Reading: John 11:47-57
God used the Jewish people to be the nation through which He would send the Savior for all the people, of all the world.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
Have you ever heard of smallpox? It is a terrible disease and almost 1 out of 3 people who get it will die. At one time, thousands of people around the world died each day from smallpox. The bad news is that there is no cure and those who are fortunate enough to survive are often blind or have terrible scars. While there is no cure, if the vaccination is given within four days after a person has been exposed to the smallpox virus there is a good possibility that the infection will not develop. The good news is that there has not been a case since 1978. In 1959, the World Health Organization began a worldwide smallpox vaccination program and on May 8, 1980, the 33rd World Health Assembly officially declared the world free of this disease. It is estimated that the smallpox vaccination has saved over 530 million lives.
Where did smallpox come from? No one knows for certain. But, traces of a smallpox-like rash were found on the head of the 3000-year-old mummy of the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses V. The spread of smallpox around the world probably followed the trade routes and military campaigns between countries. It may have gone something like this…
- 3rd Century – Egypt
- 4th Century – China (this is where we find the earliest written description of a disease resembling smallpox)
- 6th Century – Increased trade with China and Korea introduces smallpox into Japan.
- 7th Century – Arab expansion spreads smallpox into northern Africa, Spain, and Portugal.
- 11th Century – Crusades further spread smallpox in Europe.
- 15th Century – Portuguese occupation introduces smallpox into part of western Africa.
- 16th Century – European colonization and the African slave trade import smallpox into the Caribbean and Central and South America.
- 17th Century – European colonization imports smallpox into North America.
- 18th Century – Exploration by Great Britain introduces smallpox into Australia.
The last person to contract smallpox and die was a lady named Janet Parker. She was a medical photographer at the Birmingham University Medical School in England. She worked one floor above the Medical Microbiology Department where smallpox research was done. It is uncertain how she became infected, but it is thought that either a small amount of the virus was sucked into the school’s air duct system and she inhaled it; or, she came directly into contact with the virus while visiting the Microbiology Department. The virus is so dangerous that the decision was made by the World Health Organization to completely destroy all the virus around the world that was being used for research with the exception of two places: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, and the State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology, Koltsovo, Russia.
Now, why in the world would I tell you about such a dreadful, horrible disease? Well, it’s not actually the disease that I want you to focus on. It’s the vaccination. You see, the vaccination works on anyone, from anywhere, at any time, in the world. There is not a vaccination for people from Europe, and another vaccination for people from Africa, and another vaccination for people from South America, and another vaccination for people from China, and another…well, you get the point. The same vaccination works on all people…regardless of who they are, where they come from, or when they lived. If they are willing to accept the vaccination…it can save their life.
After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead…the Jewish leaders knew that they had a problem. They had already decided that they were not going to accept Jesus as the Messiah…period, no questions asked. So, what were they going to do now? How do you argue with a man Who can raise the dead? I mean, how do you fight that? You can’t. It just won’t work. You have to have another plan of attack. And that is exactly what it was…an attack. Caiaphas was the High Priest (the leader) of the Jews and he was afraid that Jesus would lead a revolt of the common people against the Jewish leaders and then against the Romans (who had conquered Israel). Then, the Romans would strike back and destroy Israel, once-and-for-all. He told the Jewish leaders that it would be better for one man, Jesus, to die…than for all of Israel to be destroyed. In essence, he was telling them to find a way to have Jesus killed. John then makes this comment…
Now he did not say this on his own initiative; but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.
What did John mean? He tells us that when Jesus died it was not just for the “nation” of the Jews, but Jesus died for all people. He paid the price for the sin of all men and women. Like the smallpox vaccination works for all people…Jesus died to pay the price for the sin of all people…regardless of who they are, where they come from, or when they lived.
Now, this is important. In order for the smallpox vaccination to work in a person, they had to be willing to receive it. If they didn’t receive the vaccination…no matter how good it was, no matter how powerful it was, no matter how effective it was…it did them no good. None at all. It was available. It was offered to them. But if they were not willing to receive it…they would die. The consequence of smallpox is death. The same is true for Jesus. Unless a person is willing to receive Him as their Savior…no matter how good He is, no matter how powerful He is, no matter how effective He is…they will die. The Bible tells us that the consequence of sin is death…spiritual separation from God, eternal separation from God. The only cure for sin…is Jesus. The only forgiveness for sin…is Jesus. But the wonderful truth is that Jesus is the cure for sin…for all people. He is the cure for the sin of people from Europe, and for people from Africa, and for people from South America, and for people from China, and…well, you get the point. Jesus is the cure for the sin of all people.
Think about it. If you knew someone who had been exposed to the smallpox virus…would you tell them about the vaccination? Of course you would. You know how they can be saved…and you would tell them. So, how about someone who is dying from sin? Will you tell them about the cure? Will you tell them about Jesus? Of course you will. You know how they can be saved…and you will tell them. Now, go out into your world and tell people about Jesus. Tell them that He is the cure for their sin.
Love you more than bunches and bunches,