Being Salt and Light in Ocean View, HI

John 11:1-31 Midweek Study with Bob

Last week we took opportunity to look at how as believers we are to deal with hardship and loss and we looked at the reality that hardship and loss is to be expected and even welcomed in their lives as they are designed to bring us to experience something better than what is lost we saw that through hardship we are brought into a deeper relationship with God through trial we are sanctified and made to become more like Jesus and through perseverance and trial we find an assurance and a validity of our salvation this week we’re going to look at another scene of hardship and loss where again God brings something of great value out of that loss we’ll be looking at the sickness and death of Lazarus this story is found in John 11 1 through 46 now in the interest of time we won’t be reading the entire passage but we will we will look at the main points of what God would bring before us this evening John 11:1 now a certain man was sick Lazarus of Bethany the village of Mary and her sister Martha so the sisters sent word to Jesus saying Lord behold he whom you love is sick and when Jesus heard this 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 now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus so when he heard that he was sick he stayed two days longer in the place where he was then after this he said to the disciples let us go again to Judea Jesus had developed a close relationship with Mary Martha and Lazarus when he was ministering in the area of Bethany in Jerusalem they had formed a loving and lasting friendship so when their beloved brother Lazarus became sick Mary and Martha had the reasonable expectation that Jesus would come and heal him the sisters described Jesus love for Lazarus as phileo or brotherly affection a desire to be close and John just a few verses later says that Jesus loved agape Oh Martha and her sister and Lazarus agapao speaks of a self sacrificial love a deep and abiding love and we need to understand that deep love that Jesus had for them in order to truly appreciate what follows Jesus upon hearing of the sickness of Lazarus does two things he says to or at least in the hearing of the messengers that Lazarus sickness is not to end in death yet he then chooses to wait for two days until after Lazarus has died before heading to Bethany on the surface this decision seems puzzling and contradictory and as we will see it creates a confused and hurtful situation in Bethany but let’s return to our text after that he said to them our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep but I go so that I may waken him out of sleep the disciples then said to him lord if he has fallen asleep he will recover now Jesus has spoken of its death that they thought he was speaking of literal sleep so Jesus then said to them plainly Lazarus is dead and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there so that you may believe but let us go to him so when Jesus came he found that he had already been in the tomb four days now 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 Martha therefore when she heard that Jesus was coming went to meet him but Mary stayed at the house Martha then said to Jesus Lord if you had been here my brother would not have died now we need to try to understand the confusion and the heartache of this scene the disciples were fearful of being put to death by the leaders in Jerusalem and confused about what they were even supposed to accomplish in Bethany Mary and Martha are deeply grieving the death of their beloved brother the brother Jesus could have easily saved and in doubt of Jesus love for them perhaps they are questioning all they thought about Jesus is he truly the Son of God it is entirely possible indeed probable that the messengers by this time had brought back a report that Jesus said Lazarus would not die did Jesus lie was he wrong were the messengers mistaken about what he said let me share with you a clear indicator of the depth of the despair and loss that was in Mary and Martha’s hearts now remember Mary was the one who could not be torn away from the feet of Jesus as she was listening intently to his words but then as we look back to verse 20 we see miss Martha therefore when she heard that Jesus was coming went to meet him but Mary stayed at the house what a world of meaning is found in a few simple words Mary stayed at the house Mary had lost much of the desire to be in the presence of the Lord she loved her thoughts were in turmoil I thought he cared for us how could he have allowed this to happen why didn’t he come Martha likewise is safer shaken the first thing she says to Jesus is if you had been here my brother would not have died can you see her face as she says this can you see the bewilderment the hurt the disappointment and doubt in response to what Jesus continues to see on her face and hear in her voice he says Martha I am the resurrection and the life he who believes in Me will live even if he dies and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die do you believe this he is not asking her to affirm a theological position in essence is he he is saying do you still trust me can you still see me as I am and look at the beauty of her response yes Lord I have believed that you are the Christ the Son of God even he who comes into the world looking at at the text when she had said this she went away and called Mary her sister now why does she go away the teacher is here and is calling for you that is her message to Mary and when she Mary heard it she got up quickly and was coming to him here we find another scene of great beauty Jesus seeing Mary’s absence and knowing her pain calls for her when we seek to remain far away when we are questioning God’s love and his love for us he reaches out and calls us to him and look at the hopefulness of Mary’s response yes she is confused she is hurt yes she has doubts and despair but these things have not brought her to a point of rebellion and bitterness we read she got up quickly and was coming to him he is still her hope in times of hopelessness her rock in the midst of uncertainty in spite of all that has not changed the text continues therefore when Mary came where Jesus was she saw him and fell at his feet saying to him Lord if you had been here my brother would not have died when Jesus therefore saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her also weeping he was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled and said where have you laid him and they said to him Lord come and see and in that moment Jesus wept so the Jews seeing this were saying see how he loved him but some of them said could not this man who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept his man also from dying so jesus again being deeply moved within came to the tomb Mary is impelled when face to face with Jesus to utter the same words as her sister with tears streaming down her face she said Lord if you had been here my brother would not have died and she was right if Jesus had come he surely could have saved him so the question is why didn’t he instead of all of this sorrow and doubted confusion there would have been simple joy we are told back in verse four and again in verse 42 42 why for the glory of God so the Son of God may be glorified by it but this glory came with a profound cost a cost borne by the people Jesus loved when Jesus therefore saw her weeping and the Jews who came with her also weeping what does it say he was moved but she’s me he was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled so deeply was he moved by their distress that he wept with them Jesus did not leave vote should be weep for Lazarus as some dare thought he was moved to tears by the sorrow over Lazarus death did that make me make him regret his decision to wait no not at all but such was his compassion and love that he was moved to tears by their sorrow and such is his love for us so then how does the story end Jesus raised his eyes and said father I thank you that you have heard me I knew that you always hear me but because of the people standing around I said it so that they me may believe that you sent me when he had said these things he cried out with a loud voice Lazarus come forth the man who had died came forth found hand-and-foot with rappings and his face was wrapped around with a claw now Jesus clearly demonstrated his deity in the resurrection of Lazarus it was it was to demonstrate and announce that deity that he allowed that event that God allowed that event to come to pass it was the capstone event that started the final progression to his crucifixion and resurrection it was also a pivotal event in the redemption story an event designed to bring people to belief and faith but as I said it came at a cost it came with loss in this instance a loss borne by Mary and Martha a loss borne by those in their circle of family and friends and the loss borne by Jesus himself as he wept with them as we said last week if we place little or no value on the greatness of what God would do through hardship and laws it will be impossible to find joy in it in this instance if we do not value God’s glory and people coming to faith in Christ we will not be willing to endure loss and hardship to bring them to pass there is a postscript to this story that gives us such hope such joy let me share it with you Jesus therefore six days before Passover came to Bethany where Lazarus was whom Jesus had raised from the dead so they made him a supper there and Martha was serving once again Martha’s serving and Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with him Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume you know we we as believers hold this story out the story of Mary anointing the feast deed of Jesus as a supreme example of love and devotion and rightfully so was Mary bitter and angry over the agony that Jesus decision to wait brought her no not at all in fact it has now brought her to a place of greater love and greater worship and greater joy she was even able to see past her distress distress to the much greater good that came as a result her Lord and God glorified his didi proclaimed her faith and love enhanced and yes her brother restored to life I would hope that we could and would be like Mary let us pray father we thank you for the examples of your word that we find in your word we thank you Father that your plan is always bigger than our plan thank you father in the midst of our distress we can trust that you have a reason for it that we can trust that you will bring something glorious out of it father help us to truly desire your glory manifested in this world your glory manifested in our life help us father once again is as I said before to see with your eyes to hear with your ears father just to have and value those things and your sins amen

 

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