Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Death Resurrection & Hope - Part 1

This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on March 17th 2024  by Colin. For the audio & video please click here.  For the worship please click here. 

Resurrection of Lazarus

” Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, "Lord, he whom you love is ill."“ - John 11:1-3 ESV

We hear of Mary and Martha speaking on so many occasions, but no words spoken by Lazarus have been recorded. This incident of the resurrection of Lazarus happens a few days before the Passover.

Lazarus was sick. The word sick is used 11 times in this chapter. The Mary mentioned here is Lazarus’ sister, the same Mary who poured perfume on the Lord’s feet! John is making sure we know which Mary is being referred to as there are many Marys mentioned in the gospels.

The sisters send word to Jesus that Lazarus is sick. They lived in Bethany which was 2 miles from Jerusalem.

Ask 5 questions - what, when, why, where, how

Where- Where was Jesus at this time? Interestingly at another Bethany on the other side of the river Jordan (Jon10:39-40) which was 30 km east from Bethany near Jerusalem. Bethany, which is close to Jerusalem. Jesus was also at Bethany across the Jordan. The distance between the 2 places was 30 km.

Who went with the message? There was a messenger sent to Jesus.

What was the message? “The one you love is sick.” Another recurring theme in chapter 11 is Jesus’ love for this family; “The one whom you love is sick”. What would you do if someone had an emergency?? Would you not rush to help them?

”Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Then after this, he said to the disciples, "Let us go to Judea again." The disciples said to him, "Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?" 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. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him." “ - John 11:5-16 ESV

Why is Jesus delaying coming? This was completely out of character. Jesus waited for 4 days!!

What can we learn from this? The people Jesus loved dearly also faced difficult situations. Jesus had a great love for this family, but they still suffered. Whenever there are challenges, we are looking for solutions. Don't doubt the love of God when you go through tough situations.

V11. Wherever there are challenges God is looking to be glorified rather than just answer to prayer. “After saying these things, he said to them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him." So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him."

This was Jesus’ last and biggest public miracle. He had raised only 3 people from the dead but this was the biggest miracle of them all before his resurrection, he does this miracle. Jesus is demonstrating his humanity, He weeps and mourns for his friend, but in his deity, he raised Lazarus from the dead. Through it all, the aim is to bring glory to God.

Jesus healed many people of all kinds of diseases, but this is the greatest because Lazarus was dead for 4 days and buried in the tomb.

Jesus and the disciples make the day's journey.

The disciples told him, "Lord if he has fallen asleep, he will recover." Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, "Lazarus has died, and for your sake, I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. 

”Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. Martha said to Jesus, "Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you." Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." Martha said, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day." Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?" She said to him, "Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world." - John 11:17-27 ESV

Bethany means “house of the poor”. It was customary to hire mourners in those days and a home of the deceased would be in mourning for 7 days.

Our relationship with Jesus is critical.

” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to him, "Lord, come and see." Jesus wept. “ - John 11:33-35 ESV

This is Jesus’ humanity.

” Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, "Lord, by this time there will be an odour, for he has been dead four days." Jesus said to her, "Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?" So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me." - John 11:38-42 ESV

In John 20:31. Martha tells Jesus that He is late!!

V22 - They demonstrate true faith.

V24-25 Jesus says “I am the resurrection and the life. Do you believe this?”. Death is a doorway (2Cor 5:8)

As Rev. Billy Graham said death is a change of address - either in the presence of God forever or in hell forever. Which way will you go?

V27 “I believe that you are the Christ” Martha was a believer.

32 Mary fell at his feet. Both expressed their hearts and were reverent.

V35 We see Jesus’ humanity again - he was troubled and he wept. We mourn with those who mourn.

V37 Some people criticised Jesus’ late coming.

V38 Several times it says that Jesus was moved. Do we know of people who are in trouble amongst us?  You can listen to prayer and help when you can.

V39 Lazarus was in the tomb for 4 days.

V40 This was for the glory of God.

John 20:32 John gives us the reason for writing the book:  that by believing we may have life in his name. Jesus’ intention of delaying was to glorify God so that we may believe him.

” When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out." The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go." - John 11:43-44 ESV

Lazarus, who was dead came to life!

There were 2 kinds of people:

  1. ” Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him,“ - John 11:45 ESV
  2. ”But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, "What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation."“John 11:46-48 ESV from this day on, they plotted to take his life.

Which one are we?

In troubled times it is not that we do nothing! We pray.

Today will we receive Jesus or dismiss Him? What are we taking away from this story? Who are we in this story?

Mary and Martha who believed?

Those who saw and believed?

Those who made plans to kill him.

Your decision today can change the rest of your life!

Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English-speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service.  Word of Grace is part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto   

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