I tend to be a try it out first person. You wont find me jumping both feet in the water, even on a hot day in summer! I want a guarantee slapped on the products I purchase, I want to be in control of every decision of my life and I want to be able to rest assure that it will all work out. All of us have had experiences in our lives that scare us. Perhaps they have caused us to think twice before taking action. It is good to exercise common sense! We should not be impulsive but walk with wisdom in our lives. That is not always how God wants us to exercise our faith though. Tonight, we are going to step into the conversations that surrounded the resurrection of Lazarus. In this particular passage Jesus has just left Judea where the Jews were seeking to kill Him for the miracles He was doing. So He remained in Bethany. The people were struggling to believe in Jesus as the Son of God. Yet, there were some who realized that all the teachings they had heard pointed to Jesus in fact being the Messiah and they believed in Him. Lazarus gets sick and Jesus seemingly does nothing about it even though He clearly shows understanding that Lazarus is (after two days) dead. From the disciples perspective, it is then that He begins to show interest in paying him a visit! But is that really the case? If God is sovereign and loving, what are we supposed to do when He suggests we go feet first into a challenge? How are we supposed to reconcile that He was not late in coming to us when logically, after four days things are good and dead?
A. John 11:1-16
1. Lazarus Dies
vs1-6 Right off the bat, Jesus says something powerful: It is for the glory of God so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.
2. The disciples (well get to Thomas later)
a. The disciples have two problems with Jesus
1) Suggesting they go back to Judea.
2) Trying to fix a problem that will be fine without His help.
b. Jesus has two answers for them
1) There are 12 hours in a day.
2) He needs Me to wake him (Lazarus) up.
c. What Jesus meant:
1) You would be coming with me to participate in something greater than our human limitations. You need the day time light to get work done, but I am the Light of the World; My Father is at work all the time.
2) Lazarus is dead. v15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there so that you may believe.
B. John 11:17-27
1. Jesus is four days late
a. vs17, 21 If you had been here
he would not have died.
b. vs22-23 Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You. Jesus said to her, Your brother will rise again.
Martha looked at all the evidence around her and read the verdict to Jesus. And Jesus replies He will rise again. (v23)
c. vs24-27 Martha looks at a future event she knows will happen, but Jesus replies with a present statement:
1) He will rise on the last day vs. I AM the resurrection and the life
2) Although something looks dead, when I am involved there is no death.
3) v26 Do you believe this?
C. Lets get back to Thomas (John 11:38-43)
1. v16 Thomas says what all the disciples are thinking at this point.
a. Called the twin probably was just a nick name about him being an actual twin.
b. He is also called The Doubter... Thomas the cynical? Pessimist? Debbie-Downer? How about Thomas the Trusting.
2. Abraham was challenged to trust God.
a. Genesis 22 - Was asked to sacrifice Isaac, the son through whom all of Gods promises were to come.
b. Hebrews 11:17-19 He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.
John 11:38-39 A prophetic moment when Jesus approaches the tomb and commands that the stone be rolled away.
a. Martha expresses concern. It doesnt seem right; it seems like a set up for further disappointment to her. Jesus reminds her of what they talked about (v40 If you believe, you would see the glory of God).
vs41-42 Jesus prays You always hear Me
vs 43-44 Lazarus, come out. The man who had died came out
Jesus said unbind him and let him go.
D. Your situation is not dead.
1. Gods glory is dying to be revealed in this! (Pun sort of intended
v4 He said, This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.
a. Thomas leads the disciples onward to the death! Watches a stone being rolled away from a tomb
Sees a resurrected Lazarus
and later he doubts when these very same evidences are present at Jesus resurrection.
b. John 20:27, 28 Then He said to Thomas, Put your finger here; see My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe. Thomas said to Him, My Lord and my God!
c. The man who HAD DIED came out! Lazarus was good and dead! In the tomb!
Jesus was dead in the tomb for three days. What you are going through feels over, sealed and done
but it is not dead either!
Jesus words are life. They are the resurrection of our situation.
There is so much to say about this. The Word is full of direction for you; it is full of stories of how God asked people to handle the problems they were facing. There isnt a text book answer for how God is going to direct you in what you are facing. One thing is for sure: He is the resurrection and the life, today. The same power that raised Lazarus from death is the same power that raised Christ from the dead
and that power is living in you if Jesus is your Lord. It does not matter what you are facing today. There is hope. The thing about hope is that it makes us vulnerable. Maybe there are relationships damaged beyond repair. There might be people you want to see experience salvation and you feel like time is running out. Perhaps you yourself are regretting choices you made or things that happened to you that were out of your control and you wonder if youll see Gods plan fulfilled in your life. There are three things I see as our response tonight.
1. Do you need an open heart? Are there relationships you have written off because they are going south or have been for many years and you have concluded the verdict? Have you hardened your heart to let God speak into that relationship like He did with Martha?
2. Do you need to start praying this thing into life (Jn 11:41-43)? Have you been sitting back and justifying your reasons for not responding to Jesus invitation to go to Judea like the disciples? Jesus urges us to pray in His name so that things will change (Mt 7:7, 9:38, Jn 14:13-14). If we will pray, God will hear us and we will see His glory.
3. Do you need to command the stone be rolled away? What do you need to actually start doing that the Lord has said to do? Be like Thomas and jump in feet first. He knew he was following Jesus in the Fathers will.
1) Is there something you are facing that you need Jesus to help with? Do you feel as though you have called for Him and He is delaying? What does this story teach you about the timing of the Lord?
2) Do you find yourself responding to Gods words of promise with hopelessness? cynicism? What would the Lord say in response to that? What did He remind Martha of?
3) Read Isaiah 53:1-5. Do you think Jesus understands our pain and struggle? Do you believe in Him today (Jn 11:26) that He bore the cross in great love for us that there would be resurrection power in our lives?
4) Do you need to reaffirm your trust in the Lord tonight? Take this time to talk to Him. He always hears you (Jn 11:42).