The resurrection and eternal life are represented in Jesus Christ

Pastor Troy Singleton

We will go into some passages of scripture that everyone is very familiar with, and chapter 10 kind of sets the scene for Chapter 11 because the place where Jesus is going to go to is the place that he left a few months prior.

 

As we know that when Jesus started preaching and people started believing in him, the Jewish leaders wanted him to be quiet, I didn’t want to make him stop what he was doing because they disagreed with his theology or believed that he was the Son of God.

 

So they chased them out, and Jesus went to an area that he’s very familiar with, where he spent the first eight months of his ministry after the time that John the Baptist baptized him. He spent a few months in that area.

 

He’s back in that area, ministering to the people. If you know anything about John the Baptist, he came; he was the forerunner who came to lay the path for Jesus to baptize with the spirit.

 

And listen to the words that the people said in the last two verses of John 10 and 41, they said many came to him and said, John never did a sign, but everything John said about this man was true, and many believed in him there, and the chapter ends.

 

John’s life lived in him; dying was not to live and die in vain. But in Chapter 11, we will go into the life, death, and resurrection of Lazarus. For me, it’s the details of the matter because I’m not going to go into him being resurrected. But this is Jesus’ final miracle to the people.

 

Because you see a month from Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, He’s going to be on the cross between two thieves. But Jesus knew that he kept doing it. He can save more people at the same time, he is putting a nail in his own coffin headed to the cavalry.

 

So John’s purpose is to introduce Jesus not only as the son of God, not as the Christ but as the Son of God. So in other words, it is Jesus in real life. So we come to this grand finale and my assignment isn’t to discuss the miracle but to give you the events that led to the miracle.

 

You see in this passage of scripture that we’re going to see Jesus more so as a human in his human state, meaning that he’s going to show emotion, he’s going to have sympathy, he’s going to have empathy, and we’re going to see that on full display.

The resurrection and eternal life are represented in Jesus Christ.

So the characters in this chapter are the result of Lazarus with his two sisters, Martha and Mary, and of course, the disciples. Still, we know the main character of this scene is Jesus Christ, and our main idea is simply the resurrection and eternal life are represented in Jesus Christ. It’s full of records represented in Jesus Christ. So my task is to lay the groundwork for this phenomenal miracle. You’re going to clearly understand why Jesus came and what he was all about.

Delay doesn’t mean denial

The first thing that we’re going to discuss is that delay doesn’t mean denial. I think a lot of us when we ask for something and pray for something urgent and want relief right away. We don’t want to wait; we want it straight and then, but we sometimes don’t receive an answer. As a matter of fact, we don’t receive a word from God at all. And we’re going to see that on full display in today; let’s, let’s look at verses one through 6, and you see the words now,

 

John 11: 1-6 

Now a man was sick, Lazarus from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair, and it was her brother Lazarus who was sick. So the sisters sent a message to him: “Lord, the one you love is sick.” When Jesus heard it, he said, “This sickness will not end in death but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha, her sister, and Lazarus. So when he heard that he was sick, he stayed two more days in the place where he was. 

 

 

The Bible doesn’t give us any indication of Lazarus more than what we just heard. It doesn’t give us his occupation. It doesn’t let us know what he’s sick from. It doesn’t tell us anything about his trade and what he did for a living. We know that Lazarus believed in Jesus, that he was a close friend of Jesus. So we grasp that.

 

But it’s interesting how John is not told until Chapter 12. So the question would be why, and the reason for that is Matthew and Mark were written over 90 years before John wrote his gospel.

 

So John put it in verse two to let us know which Mary it was because, as we know, Mary was a common name in those days. So he didn’t want to get people confused about which Mary he was talking about. So he added that part to let us know who this Mary is. He gives us that, and we hear the story that the word got to Jesus that Lazarus was sick. The message that Jesus gets is cryptic, it doesn’t go into details, it’s less than ten words, and Jesus was supposed to leave what he was doing and go to go back to Bethany and tend to Lazar because he knew last year he was a friend of the family. It would have been understandable for him to stop what he was doing and return, but he didn’t.

 

And also, by the time that Jesus received a message, he knew when he got the message that Lazarus had already died. So he stayed an additional two days. And in that cryptic message, I like the King James version because they said, Lord, behold he whom you love is sick. When you see the word behold, that means urgent; you need to move now.

 

But Jesus stays there, and at this point, I don’t even believe the disciples knew that Lazarus was sick. But Jesus just knew, and it was uncommon for someone you know if we hear about a loved one right now, that’s sick, we probably wait at the service, and we’ll be headed in that direction. Jesus didn’t take this approach.

 

So you need a two-hour delay is not a denial, and you got to think we all can relate to Martha and Mary that they had to be in agony. They had to be anxious like they just knew that Jesus was going to stop what he was doing and he was going to get there before Lazarus died. But Jesus didn’t. He stayed there an additional two days to wait longer to let things pass.

 

But some of us need to hear this message because we have problems, we have situations in our lives that we want answers for, and we want answers now, and God is waiting.

 

He’s not answering us, and he’s not giving us an answer, either way, we’ll keep praying. We keep praying the same prayer over and over and over again as if God didn’t hear us the first time, and he’s delaying, and he’s delaying for a reason.

 

We all know why Lazarus was delayed, but it’s easy to look at Lazarus’ stories and look at our own stories and symbols can testify of a delay that God had taken us through and then when he finally blessed us with what we’re asking for. We valued it more than we would have appreciated if he hadn’t done it for us at that particular time.

 

Cause you see, when your blessing is delayed, you grow stronger. If you continue to lean on God through those tough times and do those tough patches, it makes it worth it when you get to that accomplishment, and it makes it that much more significant. It’s more profound. But we can say, “yes, it’s easy to say that” at the other end. But it’s true.

 

I can remember being on the top of a mountain in California in the desert on a mission, and it is stormed badly. So I was like, hey, we need to call in, we need to get out of here because the storm is getting worse and we had to put down our weapons. You got lightning, you’ve got wind, you’ve got rain, you got everything.

 

But the fact that we were on the mountain, I could look up and I saw the storm cloud and we were at the beginning of the storm cloud. But when I looked past the storm cloud, I could see that the sky was blue. So I’m looking at the clouds move over us and I just do if we just hold on. The sun is going to shine again.

 

And we just had to hold on so they would get on, get on the radio call, I’m going to tell him to come to pick up something like no we’re going to wait it out and sure enough, it’s time past the storm moved on someplace else, the sun came back out, we changed clothes out of our wet uniform, got on some dry ones and continue the mission. But if I had a panic like everybody else around me and listen to them and say hey let’s get out of here because it’s a storm that we want to get out of it and every one of us can identify with that story because all of us been in that situation where we want instant relief from the storm, we want instant umbrella from the rain, we want instant covering and protection from anything catastrophic that is happening in our lives and God is saying not yet, just wait, it’s coming.

Courage under fire

In a second point to the story that we need to realize is courage under fire against something that we all can relate to, let’s look at how the disciples and in this story related to courage under fire year and mainly how Jesus did it. Then after that, he said to his disciples, let’s go to Judea again, read by the disciples told him just now the Jews tried to stone you and you’re going there again aren’t there 12 hours in the day?

 

John 11: 7-15 

Then after that, he said to the disciples, “Let’s go to Judea again.” “Rabbi,” the disciples told him, “just now the Jews tried to stone you, and you’re going there again?” “Aren’t there twelve hours in a day?” Jesus answered. “If anyone walks during the day, he doesn’t stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks during the night, he does stumble, because the light is not in him.” He said this, and then he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I’m on my way to wake him up.” Then the disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will get well.” Jesus, however, was speaking about his death, but they thought he was speaking about natural sleep. So Jesus then told them plainly, “Lazarus has died. I’m glad for you that I wasn’t there so that you may believe. But let’s go to him.”

 

So Jesus showed tremendous courage and that decision to go back to Judea because a few months ago they tried to stone him, so they pick up stones and throw and hit Jesus and Jesus says to them, I have shown you many good works from the father, for which of these works are you stoning me?

 

And they replied, we are not stoning you for your works were stoning you because you proclaim to be God and by this point, it’s like the I am God, I already performed six miracles to confirm that I am who I say I am, but you still don’t believe me and if I’m the disciple that’s just me in my flesh, I would have said, hey Jesus, why don’t you just say hey Lazarus, you healed and you could do that from here. That’s what if I was a disciple, that’s what I would have said, that’s just me to have him do it from where he was instead of us going back, putting ourselves in harm’s way because these folks just tried to kill you and we’re with you, they’re going to try to kill us as well. Why don’t you just heal Lazarus from here?

 

But the difference is Jesus knew Lazarus when Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter and he raised the widowed woman’s son, he didn’t know them. But Lazarus is a friend, Martha and Mary are friends. So I can’t blame Jesus, I would want to go as well because he knew Lazarus, he knew Mary, he knew Martha and it was meant the world to them to have him there in the flesh instead of him saying a word saying already Lazarus was his healed, they would have been happy, but that’s not what we do. There will be like us having a close friend and our best friend, something happened in their family and you can go and check on them, but you’re sending a card in the words of someone else, it just doesn’t have the same effect that in-person visit would hold.

 

So Jesus tells them, hey, we’re going to go and we’re going to check on last month. But Jesus gave them a parable when he started talking about their 12 hours in a day and if you walk in the day, you can see where you’re going. If you’re walking at night, you will stumble and that parable that was told 2000 years ago.

 

It is really relevant to us today because what he was saying is, you have to walk in God’s life and if you walk in God’s life, you are protected, you got it, You’re walking in his will, nothing can happen to shorten our time and we have enough time to complete everything that we need to do. But we can’t waste our time either. If we walk while it is the day, meaning that we walk in the will of God, which is a fixed time appointed by God. We will fear no danger.

 

Some of us have had family, friends, or yourself have been in an accident that the next person or a person before died in. But you survived, it wasn’t your will. And when you’re talking about will and you talk about sickness because we have a natural sickness, that’s meaning the common cold because we’re human. And because of the sin of humanity, you have natural sickness.

 

And then there’s a sickness that is a divine judgment, that means you are going to die. Divine judgment is a sickness to the glory of God. And Laz with miracle falls in the line of the will of God. Jairus’ daughter was the will of God. The widow woman, the death of her son was the will of God because God resurrected these two people from the dead and some of us have gone through sicknesses or know people that have gone through sicknesses that could kill someone.

 

But because it wasn’t in God’s will for them to die, they live. They survived. They recovered. And we know these people and Lazarus was that way. So when Jesus was talking about the time in the 12 hours, he was saying if we stay in God’s like, we walk in God’s will, we are protected.

 

So when you think about it, “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me”, Psalm 23:4, that’s David telling us that if we walk in God’s light, I would not fear. And Psalm 119:105 “Let your word, your word be a lamp to my feet and a light unto my pathway.” This means that if you have a lamp and you’re walking in darkness and you have a lamp in front of you, you can watch where you’re stepping, you watching where you’re going and then allowing you to push out darkness and allow you to go where you’re going and be under God’s protection. So our time is fixed. No enemy can shorten your time. Those of us that have been to combat in your situation, know that it is fixed. It doesn’t matter how much training you have when you go into combat, it still doesn’t make you invincible to the bullets, it’s in God’s time. And if you’re protected, you’re going to survive because you end God’s will.

 

So a day will end when it’s ordained to end, and that’s what Jesus was telling his disciples, that we’re going to light, meaning we’re going God’s will, we will be protected, but we have to go in God’s light, we can’t go in darkness, we can’t try to hide in the cover of darkness at night and go and sneak in and do what we need to do for life, we have to go into the light and God’s purpose was for him to go into the light and not to hide.

 

So at times, God allows us to go through darkness and deep pain in order to prove more perfectly his power and that’s clearly what he’s doing in this story today. So they have faith and ours for that matter is to strengthen us. We need to be strengthened and strengthen and strengthen and what I’m saying with that is as we continue to go through life and we encounter certain things and we trust God for these things that our faith is strengthened.

 

So the next trial comes, it’s not going to be as hard because we’ve been strengthened through past events that are going to allow us to move through whatever we have in our way. So the Jewish leaders already tried several times to kill Jesus, but it wasn’t his time. So people have tried to kill your character and try to kill your future, but it wasn’t God’s purpose for that to happen, so it didn’t.

If only…

And the final point is if only and let’s look at what scripture shows us.

 

John 11: 16-21 

Then Thomas (called “Twin”) said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go too so that we may die with him.” When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Bethany was near Jerusalem (less than two miles away). Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother. As soon as Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him, but Mary remained seated in the house. Then Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.

 

Now, Thomas, we don’t hear him speak too much and I’m pretty sure he raised a few eyebrows with the other 11 disciples when he said, Hey Let’s go and die with him. So I’m pretty sure they kind of gave him a double tape at that comment, but Thomas was speaking because he didn’t understand Jesus’ resurrection, so he was speaking out of that.

 

And in the Jewish tradition, they had a superstition that when a person dies, the soul lingers around the body for three days and it leaves the body on the fourth day because the body starts to change. So when Lazarus died, those four days prior to Jesus arriving, they quickly wrapped him up and put him and buried him because they didn’t use the form of that funeral homes used today. So they quickly did that to get him out of the area.

 

So Mary and Martha obviously were disappointed that Jesus didn’t show any urgency to be there when they felt that he should have been there. So he shows up and she issued those words Mary just stayed in the house. I don’t know, she was just continuing to sob or mourn, but it was obvious that she was upset.

 

But Jesus showed in this scene that the faith that you have that the things that lie in our path as far as blindness, lameness and blood and someone who’s dead, it doesn’t have the same power in the presence of Jesus as it does anything else. So Jesus could easily raise someone from the dead just as quickly as he could raise, could hear someone who had a withered hand.

 

But Mary and Martha didn’t have enough faith to trust that Jesus could raise Lazarus from the dead after four days. And the truth be told, we can’t criticize Martha and Mary because we feel the same way about certain situations that we experience in life, that we feel that this is too big for Jesus. He can’t do this. So she just said, Lord, if he hadn’t been here, if you had been here, our brother would not have died.

 

In 1985, the most gross movie at that time was Back to the Future and start Michael J Fox as Marty McFly, which I still believe that’s one of the best movie names ever. Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown in the movie, Marty McFly is accidentally sent back to 1955. By the Crazy Doctor named Dr. Brown.

 

While he was in 1955. In order for him to get back to the future, he had to make sure his parents got together, met, and fell in love. In order for him to get back to the 80s because he was on the 80s team. And when he came back to 19 he went to 1955, which caused a ripple effect in his relationship with his mother and father. Meeting those who watched the movie, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

So he had to work diligently to get make sure his father and his mother not only met but fell in love because it was a lot of barriers in the way of that happening and eventually coming to be. But what if Mary had a time machine, she didn’t need to go back 30 years. All she needed to go back was four and she would be happy. Four days is more than enough for her to feel that way. He might just have made it. If only.

 

When was the last time we said if only? If only I took this job or have done that. If only I had my test results come back negative. If only I had worked harder, I would have done better. If only. But instead of looking back and dreaming about what might have been, Jesus is going to invite Mary and Martha to look forward towards the future and not the past.

See God doesn’t want us to look back. He doesn’t want us to definitely go back. He wants us to look forward. Like if she had a look at that situation, Lord, you’re here now and you can do something. We don’t have to go back to right a wrong because the truth be told those things we’ve done in the past shaped us to be who we are.

 

So imagine if you went back and you change some things, do you think you’ll be in this room right now at this particular moment with the person you’re sitting next to. So all those scars, all those things that we go through in life and we have regrets, there’s nothing wrong with regrets, I have them, you have them, but we can’t dwell on them, we can’t sit here and wish what might have been, if only.

 

We can’t say “if only” because if God has allowed this to happen to this Mary and Martha for their brother to be at this point and next we’ll talk about what actually happened after this point.

 

It would have changed the scene because this moment and what Jesus is Pastor Jeff’s going to preach next week is the nail in the coffin for all these Jewish leaders. So if you’re going to say if only I had to change my past, if only this hadn’t happened, Jesus wouldn’t have been on the cross a month from this day between two thieves if he didn’t do this and because he did this miracle, a lot of people came to trust him a lot more, their faith grew and those who were in their faith, their faith became stronger because of what Jesus did in his present and what we are reading and we can just find the experience of what Jesus had done.