"Father, I thank You that You have heard me. I knew that You always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that You sent me." "Lazarus, come out!" (John 11:41-43)

How much clearer could Jesus be about himself? How, with this kind of clarity about Jesus' role and his position with God, could so many professional ecclesiastical sectarian teachers and their respective organizations possibly teach that Jesus was the Supreme Being?

What does it mean when one person hears another? It means there are two persons: The person speaking and the person who hears the speaker. Jesus clearly indicates that the Supreme Being has heard him, and that God has always heard him. This clearly indicates that there are two persons here: Jesus and the Supreme Being.

Furthermore, it clarifies the relationship: "You sent me." God sent Jesus. This means that Jesus is God's messenger. He is God's servant.

Many ecclesiastical sectarian teachers will say that "God became man in Jesus." If this were true, then Jesus would not be engaging in this sort of exchange with someone else. This would mean that Jesus was either lying about himself or he was trying to trick the people around him.

Rather, we see here that Jesus is obviously exchanging a relationship with God. When a person speaks to another person in this way - first thanking them and then clarifying that they know the other hears them - it is a clear indication of a relationship.

We can also see from Jesus' statement that the miracle that is attributed to Jesus - the reviving of Lazarus - is not coming from Jesus. It is coming from God.

But because Jesus is talking about God hearing him at the same time, we can know that Jesus requested that God bring the person of Lazarus back into Lazarus' body. God did the miracle, but Jesus requested that God do it.

This indicates an entirely different purpose for this and the other miracles attributed to Jesus.

While many believe and teach that Jesus' miracles were meant to create the belief that Jesus was our savior, or even create a belief in God, neither of these were their true purpose.

If God wanted to prove that He exists then He could do this at any time. He could appear before our physical eyes at any time and prove without a doubt that He exists.

But He doesn't. Why? Does this mean He doesn't exist? In fact, many people will say this: They will say, "God if you exist, then prove it to me." As if God is their genie or something. As if God is their servant, and will appear at our beck and call.

Rather, this is not the reality at all. Our natural position, in fact, is God's servants. God is our Superior and we are His inferiors. An inferior does not demand that the superior appear in front of him. If we were a private in the army, and we demanded that the General come and appear in front of our bunk in the barracks, would the General come? Certainly not. The General would likely have the private peeling potatoes in the kitchen for the next month for demanding that he appear in front the private's bunk.

Rather, we currently cannot see the Supreme Being because we do not want to see God. We do not want to exchange a loving relationship with God. We have turned from God. So He gave us the ability to ignore Him and virtually be away from Him within these temporary physical bodies. It is for this reason that we cannot see God, even though He is always present everywhere.

Our physical eyes were intentionally designed by God not to see Him. This is because we wanted to run away from God. We wanted our independence. We wanted to enjoy like God and try to be happy without God. So He created these physical bodies to allow us to try to enjoy ourselves without Him.

Our physical eyes were designed to focus upon certain types of physical objects. What physical objects might these be? Those objects that allow us to maintain our false sense of independence. Just consider, assuming that we are an adult now, that only a few decades ago, we occupied a child's body. At that time, we thought we were so independent of our parents. We thought that everything revolved around us and our parents were simply there to serve us. We learned how to get the things we wanted from them. And when we didn't, we cried. Or we learned to manipulate.

But then after our bodies got older, we began to identify with ourselves as an adult - male or female. When we look back to our childhood, we see how we were so mistaken. The world didn't revolve around us - we just wanted it to. We were completely dependent upon our parents. Our parents worked hard to take care of us, and gave us stuff when we cried because they didn't want to put up with all the noise.

So most of us learn at least two things as we look back to our childhood: We learn that we mistakenly identified our position with respect to our parents. And we also mistakenly thought the world revolved around us.

While we know a little more about reality than we did when our bodies were young, we still are in the illusion that the world is meant for our enjoyment; and that we can become happy with the things of this temporary physical world. This too, however, is not reality. For example, while we might think that we'd be happy if we had a million dollars, most multi-million dollar lottery winners become depressed after they collect their winnings. And each of us - even the richest man in the world - will leave all our wealth behind when our bodies die. So none of the wealth, fame or other goodies we acquire here even belongs to us, let alone will make us happy.

These sorts of illusions - from childhood through adulthood - illustrate that this physical world simply provides an environment where we get to pretend for awhile. We get to pretend that the "world is our oyster" while we chase around one desire after another.

The reality is that the world was not only designed to allow us to pretend that God doesn't exist for awhile and chase our desires around: It was also designed to teach us. These physical bodies might come with some pleasurable responses, but they also come with a significant amount of pain, disease and old age. These elements were designed to teach us that this world is not our home.

This relates to the reason for Lazarus' revival, along with all of the other miracles attributed to Jesus. What was their real purpose?

Jesus indicates this as he says, "but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that You sent me."

Why is it so important that the people around Jesus understand that God sent Jesus, and why was it important that they hear this exchange where Jesus thanks God for hearing him?

It is because Jesus and God wanted to show those people around Jesus - as well as those of us reading about it - that Jesus had a relationship with God: That Jesus and God loved each other, and did things for each other.

This is spiritual life. Spiritual life is not about "being saved." It is about exchanging a loving relationship with the Supreme Being and doing His will. It is about caring for God and serving God with love and devotion. And it is about accepting God's love, and His activities that show how much He cares about us. This is the "stuff" of spiritual life that both Jesus and God were trying to show us.

Yes, we know from Jesus' statement that God sent Jesus here, but then the question is, why? Why would God send Jesus? If God wanted to tell us something - being the Supreme Person - He could write it in the sky. He could announce it at any time, place and manner. He doesn't need to send someone else to tell us something.

Yet He sent Jesus - and other loving servants over the centuries - to show us how we can exchange a loving relationship with the Supreme Being. He sent Jesus to show us what love really is. Just consider the kind of sacrifices that Jesus made on behalf of his beloved, the Supreme Person. Just consider his ultimate sacrifice: Allowing others to murder his body because of his teachings. What did this show us? It showed us the extent of his love. It showed just how much Jesus loved God.

And it is this loving exchange that can save us, and give us eternal life.

Should we understand and participate in the loving relationship between Jesus and God, as we hear and follow through on Jesus' teachings, we realize that he not only talked the talk, but walked the walk:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matt. 22:37-38)



(For a translation of Jesus' statements from the Gospel of John without sectarian institutional influence, see the Devotional Translation  - translated from the original Greek texts without ecclesiastical sectarian influence.)