Sundays: 9 & 11am LATEST MESSAGE

I Am the Resurrection and the Life

Charlie Boyd - 4/12/2020

John 11 opens on a family scene. A man named Lazarus is sick. He and his sisters, Mary and Martha, are very close to Jesus. Three times in this chapter we are told how much Jesus loved these close friends of his. As Lazarus’s sickness worsens, Mary and Martha send messengers to let Jesus know he’s in a bad way. They have faith that he is able to heal their brother. When Jesus hears the news, he says, “This illness will not lead to death, but it’s for the glory of God.” But rather than go right away, Jesus stays put for two more days which is totally unexpected. And during that time, Lazarus died. We assume that his love for his friends would compel him to rush to their side, but his love compels him to do the opposite. The fact that God loves us and that we love him is no guarantee that we will be sheltered from problems and pain. Clearly, Jesus is interested in accomplishing a lot more here than just healing Lazarus. He wants to grow the faith or everybody involved—Mary, Martha, his disciples, and all the friends who were helping the two sisters. 

When Jesus finally arrives, Martha comes out to meet him on the road. She says, “Lord if you would have been here my brother wouldn’t have died?” Interestingly, Jesus gives her no explanation but he reasons with her with this bold claim—I am the resurrection and the life. He’s saying, “Wherever I AM then anything God ever did or ever will do can happen right now in the present.” Then Jesus adds two promises to that claim—Promise #1: Everyone who believes in me will live even if they die—and—Promise #2: Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die—and then he challenges her—Do you believe this? And Martha responds in faith by saying, “I believe you are the Christ, the Son of God, who has come (from the Father) into the world.” I love this quote by William Gurnall—“Let your hope of heaven master your fear of death. Why should you be afraid to die when you hope to live by dying.”

Martha goes back to the house and finds Mary and tells her that Jesus is here and wants to talk to her. She goes out to Jesus and she says exactly the same thing as Martha (no doubt in a completely different tone)—“Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died.” Both sisters knew that Jesus had the power to heal and to raise the dead. But Lazarus has been dead four days—he’s good and dead—and to their thinking, he was beyond hope. Interestingly, Jesus doesn’t answer Mary’s statement like he did Martha. Instead, he weeps with her and walks with him to the tomb. When Jesus sees us hurting, it goes right to the deepest part of who he is.

At the tomb, Jesus commands, “Remove the stone.”Martha instructs Jesus in mortuary science J. She uses logic—“Lord, he’s been dead four days. By this time there will be the stench of death.” Here’s the climax of the story. Jesus says, Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God put on display? If you believe, you will see! Not when you see, you’ll believe, but if you believe in me, in what I told you I would do, you will see God’s power and goodness put on display. Again, Jesus is working to grow their faith. He’s is not just calling them to believe in who he is and what he can do. He’s calling them to act in faith even when what God says and doesn’t make sense. So, they do what Jesus tells them to do—they remove the stone—even though it didn’t make any logical sense and Jesus calls out, “Lazarus come forth”—and Lazarus shuffles out, wrapped up like an Egyptian mummy. And as a result, the faith of Mary, Martha, Lazarus, and Jesus’ disciples was strengthened. But that’s not all. Many people put their faith in Jesus for the very first time. At the same time, as John has been showing us all along, others rejected him and they plotted all the more diligently to put him to death.

Watch the story on YouTube. “The Gospel of John * Official HD Movie English” and start at 1:30:35.