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John 11

Easter Sunday Morning

April 5, 2015


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Regular:  2900 words    Communion: 2500 words  Video=75wpm

The other day as I was reading my Bible, I came across a familiar passage and it caught my eye how Jesus taught and displayed resurrection power before He was raised Himself.

John 11:1-45 Raising Lazarus

:1 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.

:2 It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.

Chronologically, Mary won’t anoint Jesus’ feet with oil until John 12, but John is simply connecting this current story with the one in chapter 12.

:3 Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.”

:4 When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

:4 the Son of God may be glorified

There is going to be great attention given to Jesus by what is going to happen in a few days.

Lazarus is going to be so sick that he is going to die.
The raising of Lazarus from the dead is going to be a huge attention getter.
While Jews are gathering to Jerusalem from around the world to celebrate the Passover, word is going to get out that Jesus has raised a man from the dead.

Video:  Gospel of John – Triumphal Entry.

One of the reasons for the big crowds crying “Hosanna” was because Jesus had just raised a man from the dead.

:5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.

:6 So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was.

:6 He stayed two more days

Jesus had been down in the area of Jericho when He gets the news about Lazarus.


Loving Delays

A messenger has arrived from Martha and Mary for the purpose of not just informing Jesus about Lazarus’ illness, but to get Him to help.
But Jesus doesn’t come.
He even makes a point of waiting until he does anything.
How do you respond when life doesn’t turn out the way you were hoping it would?
Some of us act like spoiled children when life gets tough.

Video:  Annoying Supermarket Child


As the crowded airliner is about to take off, the peace is shattered by a five-year-old boy who picks that moment to throw a wild temper tantrum. No matter what his frustrated, embarrassed mother does to try to calm him down, the boy continues to scream furiously and kick the seats around him. Suddenly, from the rear of the plane, an older man in a Marine uniform is seen slowly walking forward up the aisle. Stopping the flustered mother with an upraised hand, the white-haired, courtly, soft-spoken Marine leans down and, motioning toward his chest, whispers something into the boy’s ear. Instantly, the boy calms down, gently takes his mother’s hand, and quietly fastens his seat belt. All the other passengers burst into spontaneous applause. As the Marine slowly makes his way back to his seat, one of the cabin attendants touches his sleeve. “Excuse me, sir,” she asks quietly, “but could I ask you what magic words you used on that little boy?” The Marine smiles serenely and gently confides, “I showed him my pilot’s wings, service stars, and battle ribbons, and explained that they entitle me to throw one passenger out the plane door, on any flight I choose.”

Please don’t misunderstand me.

I am NOT saying that it’s proper to discipline a child by dumping milk on their head or threatening to throw them off a plane.

I’m not talking about disciplining children, I’m talking about us.

A spoiled child will throw a tantrum when he doesn’t get his way. He will lay a guilt trip on the parent and say, “You don’t love me!”

For some of us, we’ve brought that same attitude into our relationship with God. When things don’t go our way, we get sad and begin to think that God must not love us.

Did Jesus love Lazarus?

(John 11:3 NKJV) Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.”

The Greek word here is phileo, a word used to describe warm friendship.

(John 11:3 NLT) …“Lord, your dear friend is very sick.”

Did Jesus love Martha and Mary?

(John 11:5 NKJV) Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.

The Greek word here is agape, God’s special unconditional kind of love.

Be careful with interpreting the “delays” or “disappointments” in life as God not loving you.
(John 15:13 NKJV) Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
(1 John 3:16a NKJV) By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us.
If you ever wonder if God loves you, you have no further to look than at the cross of Jesus.

That’s where He demonstrated His love for you.

You and I may not understand the difficulties we are going through, but we need to remember that it’s not because God doesn’t love us.

He does.

:7 Then after this He said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.”

:8 The disciples said to Him, “Rabbi, lately the Jews sought to stone You, and are You going there again?”

:9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.

:10 But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”

:9 If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble

The disciples think that Jesus is crazy because He wants to head south into Judea, where they want Him dead.

Jesus is simply saying that a person walking in the daytime doesn’t make the same kind of bad decisions as a person walking in the dark.

Since He is the Light of the world, He isn’t making a bad decision.

:11 These things He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.”

:12 Then His disciples said, “Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.”

:13 However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep.

:14 Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead.

:15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.”

:11 Lazarus sleeps

It’s hard to lose a loved one.

Yet the Bible talks about the death of a believer as if they are only “asleep”.

When I was much younger, being told I had to take a nap seemed like a horrible punishment.
Not that I’m older, I love the thought of taking a nap.

Don’t be afraid of death.

The body looks like its sleeping, but the person has gone to be in the presence of Jesus.

:16 Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.”

:17 So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days.

:18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away.

Video:  Bethany and Jerusalem map clip

Jesus had been near the Jordan River when the message came about Lazarus. He would have travelled through Jericho, then up towards Jerusalem.

Bethany is up in the hills just east of Jerusalem.  As you travel westward, you then come to the Mount of Olives, and the overlook to see Jerusalem.

:17 in the tomb four days

It is Jewish custom to bury a dead person immediately, the same day that they die.

Jesus had been out near the Jordan River (John 10:40), a day’s journey from the area of Jerusalem and Bethany where Lazarus was.
A messenger was sent to Jesus to tell Him about Lazarus and that would have taken a day for the messenger to find Jesus.
Jesus didn’t respond immediately, but waited two days before leaving (John 11:4).
Then Jesus responded and came to Bethany.
In other words, Lazarus probably died the very day that the message was sent to Jesus.

Jesus waited long enough so everyone was sure that Lazarus had been dead when He arrived.

The Jews had very elaborate customs they followed at the death of a loved one.

The entire process of mourning took four weeks.
The first three days were set apart as days of weeping.
Jesus arrives after the weeping is over.

:19 And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.

:19 to comfortparamutheomai – to speak to, address one, whether by way of admonition and incentive, or to calm and console; to encourage, console

:20 Now Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house.

:21 Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.

:21 if You had been here

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Martha is a bit upset at Jesus.

It’s obvious by the timing of His arrival that He didn’t exactly rush to be with the family when He heard about Lazarus.
The word translated “met Him” (vs.20) is a word sometimes used to describe armies going out to “meet” in battle.
She seems to blame Jesus for Lazarus’ death (“if You had been here”)

If you pay attention to how Jesus handles the two sisters, you will realize that Jesus can handle you being mad at Him.

But be careful, staying mad at God doesn’t help anything.

:22 But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”

:23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

:24 Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.

:26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

We’ll come back to these verses.

:27 She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

:28 And when she had said these things, she went her way and secretly called Mary her sister, saying, “The Teacher has come and is calling for you.”

:29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to Him.

:30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the town, but was in the place where Martha met Him.

:31 Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and comforting her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, “She is going to the tomb to weep there.”

:32 Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”

:33 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.

:34 And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”

:34 Where have you laid him?

There is a traditional spot still visited today, and called “The Tomb of Lazarus”, located in Bethany.

Video: Map of Lazarus’ Tomb

Here’s what the tomb looks like from the street view

Video:  SourceFlix – The Lazarus Tomb

:35 Jesus wept.  

:35 Jesus wept

Why did Jesus weep?

Perhaps it was at their unbelief.
They had been disappointed in Jesus for showing up so late and some were blaming Jesus for Lazarus’ death.
Perhaps at the reality of sin’s consequences.
Ever since Adam and Eve rebelled against God in the garden of Eden, mankind has been paying the price of sin.

Sin leads to death.

Perhaps in sympathy for Martha and Mary’s grief.
Jesus is very much affected by what happens in our lives.

(Hebrews 4:15–16 NKJV) —15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

We’ll watch the rest of our passage …

Video:  John - Jesus raises Lazarus (John 11:33-45)

All of this took place just a little over a week before Jesus Himself would be crucified, laid in a tomb, and Himself rise from the dead.

Back to …

:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.

:26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

:25 I am the resurrection and the life

The Jews had hints of the resurrection hidden in their Scriptures.

We read from Psalm 16 today, which the apostles themselves would quote many times to show that the Messiah would rise from the dead.

Jesus is the key to life after death.

:25 though he may die, he shall live


Live Forever

There are plenty of people over the last two thousand years who have believed in Jesus and yet have died.
Jesus didn’t say you would never experience death.
The phrase in vs. 26 “shall never die” is literally, “will not die unto eternity”.
He promised that we would not experience eternal death, eternal separation from God in hell.
If Jesus does not return in our lifetime, every one of us will experience physical death.
But physical death is not the end.
Death for the believer means to go into God’s presence in heaven in your spirit.
But there will be a day when you will receive a new physical body, a body that will live forever.
(1 Thessalonians 4:16–17 NKJV) —16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
This will only happen for those who “believe” in Jesus.
Why is it important to believe in Jesus?

Our sin, our rebellion, requires God to judge us.

The penalty of sin is death.

Jesus died in order to pay the penalty for you.

This is what He did on Good Friday as He was nailed to the cross.

Isaiah prophesied 700 years before Christ:

(Isaiah 53:5 NKJV) But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.

When Jesus rose from the dead, He proved to the world that He had paid for your sins.

He didn’t just pay for your “bill” with every last cent He owned, but He had some cash left over, some life left over after paying for us.

That’s why He could come back to life.

Suppose you died today and found yourself standing before God’s throne in judgment.
If He were to ask you, “Why should I allow you into heaven?” what would you say?

You might say that you led a good life, but that is not enough.

The only answer acceptable is to reply to God that you were counting on Jesus to pay for your sins, that you had given your life to Jesus.

Have you done this?

The Bible says “Today is the day of salvation”.

In a minute I’m going to give you a chance to take that first step of believing in Jesus.

:26 whoever lives and believes in Me


Live Now

The resurrection is more than just a reminder that Jesus paid for us, and our future in eternity.
It also gives us a hint at the power available to us to live lives that are pleasing to God, that are honoring to God.
Jesus had said that Lazarus was “sleeping”.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, the disciples were “sleeping” when they should have been awake.
Have you been “sleeping”?

Have you been just “coasting” along in life?

There are times when it’s dangerous to be sleeping…

Video:  Sleep Driver

Are you in need of a “wake up call”?
Because of the resurrection of Jesus, the “live now” life requires that we “wake up”.
Paul wrote,

(Ephesians 5:13–14 NKJV) —13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14 Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.”

(Romans 13:11–14 NKJV) —11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

The word Jesus uses for “life” doesn’t just speak of simple biological life (bios), but a different kind of “life”.
liveszao – to live, breathe; to enjoy real life; active, blessed, endless in the kingdom of God; to be fresh, strong

It’s the opposite of being “asleep”.

Jesus used this same word when He said,

(John 10:10 NKJV) The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Is it time for you to “wake up”?

Paul used this word when He wrote,

(Romans 8:11 NKJV) But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

Paul wasn’t just talking about making your biological body live, but giving you power to live for Jesus.

:26 Do you believe this?



Are you ready to put your life into Jesus’ hands?
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