Lazarus, come forth!
What was it about the raising of Lazarus that set people off more than the raising of the other people that Jesus brought back from the dead? From Aug. 30th 2020
Before we start anything, were going to say a prayer for the family of Ayden Atkinson. He is the young boy who passed on to eternity this past week.
The Church will be purchasing some meals and school supplies for the family, so if you feel led to help out, add it to your offering this morning
Or bring it next week
Sunday Aug 30th
Weve been going through a series about the different miracles of Jesus----
And today, will be the last miracle that we talk about.
So this morning im going to try and give an overarching theme about these miracles, as well as talk about one of the really big ones ------
The raising of Lazarus
But first: Announcements!
Sunday School will be starting back up on September 13th
Please have your children wear masks, because their rooms arent big enough for social distancing
Sept 13th, Sunday School
Also, we had mentioned that we’ll be having another free take-out Community Dinner, and right now the plan is to have it on Saturday Sept 26th.
It anything changes, we’ll let you know, and we’ll keep everyone up to date.
Saturday, Sept 26th, A free take out dinner
Last announcement, is about the Sermon Survey
Weve got Communion, Baptism, Marriage, Understanding the OT, the Creation Week, Trust in uncertain times, Parenting, and a few others
So, the raising of Lazarus. This comes to us in only 1 of the Gospels, the Gospel of John, and it’s the entirety of Chapter 11. This morning were only going to look at verses 1-44
Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” 4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” 8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.” 11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” 12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. 14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” 17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. 21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” 28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there. 32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” 38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” 40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 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.” 43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
( → → Opening Prayer ← ← )
This happened, just about a week or so before His crucifixion.
The Pharisees and the Scribes and all the religious leaders had been foaming at the mouth to get their hands on Jesus---
Theyve heard His words---
Theyve seen His miracles---
Theyrve had just about enough of Jesus and were harboring hatred in their heart for Him….and then….this.
This set the Pharisees off something awful. So much so, that in verse 56 it says that He couldnt openly enter a town anymore, and had to go off into the wilderness to avoid arrest .
But why? Right? That the question.
Why would the pharisees care that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, so much so, that they gave out a command to any Jews in the country….and even the Jews that would be traveling there to celebrate Passover...to turn Jesus in if they knew where He was.
The pharisees were all riled up, and had had enough of Jesus’ words and works.
Why this time though?
Jesus had been claiming to be God, and healing people to prove it, for about 3 years now.
Making the paralyzed walk
Making the maimed, whole again
Healing the deaf and blind and leperous
He has even brought 2 other people back from the dead before this
But now its gotten to the point that Jesus cant openly enter any cities, and the Phairsees have basically put a bounty on His head.
Why didnt they do this the other times He brought people back from the dead?
If we were to keep reading this chapter, and then go on to Chapter 12, we would see that this miracle caused many of the jews to believe in Him, and that the Pharisees even wanted to kill Lazarus because of how many people started to believe.
But again...what makes this any different from the other times that Jesus brought someone back from the dead?
Like I said earlier, at this point, Jesus has already raised 2 people from the dead.
Jairus’s daughter - which we talked about a few weeks ago
The widow’s son - which we didnt talk about.
Twice, Jesus has brought someone back from the dead….but in those two instances, they were only dead for minutes. Maybe.
But this time, Lazarus was dead for four days.
You see...when word spread about Jesus bringing people back from the dead, in the first two instances, there was room for the people who wernt there to witness it ------ to doubt.
People could hear the news and the rumors about Jairus’ daughter, and say “was she really? I mean, she wasnt just in a coma or something? It was only a couple of minutes...how do we really know if she was dead…”
But here, with Lazarus, we have something different.
You see the Jews didnt embalm their dead.
No chemicals to preserve the body, so as soon as someone passed, they would get them in the grave as soon as possible.
Which meant for Lazarus, that his body experienced:
4 days of cellular and muscular deterioration.
4 straight days his body decomposed and rotted
4 days of no oxygen, no water, no vitamins or nutrients
4 days of total biological atrophy.
So when Jesus brought Lazarus back to life, with:
No muscle atrophy---
No synapses in his brain unconnected or connected in the wrong way---
No poisonous chemicals in his blood that rotten organic material normally creates---
When a man dead for 4 days, came back to life ….Jesus Christ was removing all doubt about who He was.
He was fulfilling the words of John 20:31 “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
The Miracles of God happened to give us the necessary evidence we would need to believe that Jesus Christ is God.
All the miracles so far, were not only the evidence that He is God….but they were also showing what it means to have life in His name.
He was proving that to have life in His name means that He has the final say over everything in our life.
He was proving that culture doesnt have the final say
When we see celebrities and personalities pushing their way of thinking and their lifestyle and their beliefs------ we turn to Scripture and see that they are not the final say
He was proving that governments do not have the final say
When laws are passed or when the authority acts in ways that it should not, we turn to Scripture---and see that they are not the final say
He was proving that nature itself doesnt have the final say
When natural disaster and disease rip through our towns and our families-----we turn to Scripture and see that nothing in all of this world has the final say over our life.
He was showing us that everything in this world, is under His authority
Sickness can not stop God
Disease can not stop God
Nature can not stop God
Our free will and wants cannot stop God
Rules and laws and regulations cannot inhibit Him
Cultures cannot sway Him
Governments cannot control Him
Every nation on earth falls as ash before our God
Jesus Christ is the King of all reality, and everything that exists is under His authority
By performing these miracles….He was systematically going through all the areas of thought and power that exist in this world, and proving that none of them are beyond His reach.
And here we see, that even death itself does not limit Him.
Because that is the common denominator that everyone has to deal with.
The richest person on the planet, stands right along side the jobless and homeless orphan
The millionaire celebrities
The billionaire tycoons
No matter your wealth or status
No matter your power or position
The wandering transients
The homeless addicts
The unwanted and abused
No matter the issues that may have plagued your life
No matter the hurt and trauma that may have followed you since childhood
The rich and the poor
The happy and the sad
The old and the young
Emperors and Presidents must walk hand in hand with the diseased and broken till they reach the rivers of death…..and they both must step together into it’s chilly waters, to be carried away from this world by its crystal current.
We all will face death
Our loved ones
Our friends and family
Strangers on the news
Or our own
We all will face death
However---- if read the words of God….we can see that, contrary to what this world teaches us…..death is not the end.
In verses 25&26, we can see that Jesus said:
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.
Because that is why Jesus came to earth.
Yes He did nice things for people
Yes He healed the broken and helped the helpless
He gave sight to the blind
Made the deaf to hear
Made the laim to walk
He fed the hungry and taught the shepherless
But the primary reason that Jesus Christ came to Earth is to fulfill His Father’s mission to seek and save the lost
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him…..will not perish…..but have eternal life.”
When the chaos of life brings death to our doorstep, and we must bury those we love
God is there reminding us of what lies beyond the grave
When the coffins are lowered into the earth ----
When the dirt lands in mounds and piles upon it’s lid ----
When darkness begins to take it over, shovel by shovel ----
When the suffocating weight of darkness holds them deep in the ground, and the sunlight is blocked out -----
When the grave is filled to the surface ----and the coffin is held tightly in a suffocating embrace of memories and mud----
When the stone is erected with names and dates -----
When the grass begins to grow over the grave that holds them prisoners within the earth-----
When these thing happen and it seems like death has won-----
Remember oh human----that there is a door upon the underside of every grave.
There is a way out
There is an escape
Death is not the end
There is a glory waiting beyond the thin veil that separates this world from the next
There is unending joy
There is eternal perfect love waiting just outside of the last breath, of all who believe... and His name is Jesus Christ.
That doesnt mean that we wont die----
It doesnt mean that our friends and families wont feel the icy hands of death grab onto their life----
It doesn't mean we wont get sick or hurt or sad or depressed-------
But what it does mean, is exactly what Jesus said in verse 25:
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.”
In closing I know this was heavy-----
I know that there are situations in our life that are so profound, so deep, so painful…..that we cannot see past them.
So when we hear stuff like this…..it may make us mad, it may make us saud, it may make us confused, angry or depressed
We all have a past that affects what we hear
We all have said things---
We all have done things---
We all have had things said to us---
And we all have had things done to us---
We all have hurt and confusion---
We all have scars and stains--- that no matter how hard we try to make them go away…..they never do
And all of that, grabs hold of our hearts when we hear the things of God
We have things in this world that make us think:
“I cant read the Bible”
“I cant go to a Church”
“Thats not for me, im a nobody, God doesnt care about me”
Like the woman at the well-----we think we are our mistakes
Like the woman with the issue of blood----we think we are our sickness
Like the hungry crowds or the scared disciples-----we think that we are nothing but victims of whatever happen to us
But if you take anything home with you this morning, let it be this:
You are not your past
You are not your hurt
You are not your mistakes
You are not your sickness
Jesus Christ is the God of all the universe, and through a personal relationship with Him, can we find lasting meaning in this chaotic and scary world.
( → → Closing Prayer ← ← )