This week I pray that you are considering the broken body and spilled blood of Christ. This is the payment Jesus made to God the Father on behalf of Christians. God the Father emptied His wrath out to the last drop on His Son, Jesus Christ. Think on that for a moment. Beyond the physical torment that our Savior experienced, God the Father, Creator of the Heavens and the Earth poured out every last drop of wrath reserved for you and me on Jesus. Think of that in light of Romans 8:1: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Paul doesn’t make this statement without feeling the weight of what Christ did on the cross. Jesus absorbed the wrath of God for His sheep.
However, if God’s plan of redemption for Christians stopped there, it would be incomplete. Sunday is coming. The reason why we worship on Sunday, the New Covenant Sabbath, and not Saturday, the Old Covenant Sabbath, is coming. Resurrection Sunday is coming. Consider this lengthy passage as you savor the power of the resurrection. After you read it, I will bring out a few implications for us as Christians.
John 11:1-44 (ESV)
The Death of Lazarus
Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. 3 So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4 But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. 7 Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8 The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking 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 anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, 15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
I Am the Resurrection and the Life
17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from 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 on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
28 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 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. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”
Jesus Raises Lazarus
38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 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.” 43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 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.”
A few quick points for you as you think about the implications of this passage for Christians in the 21st century:
- Illness, suffering & death brings glory to God. (V4)
Jesus waited for Lazarus to die. He did this because God is concerned with His glory above all else. Take comfort that what brings glory to God is also our greatest good. Are you suffering presently? Your suffering is not meaningless. God has a plan and purpose for it that is for His glory and your good. He is sovereign over even the most difficult of circumstances.
- Martha and Mary limited Jesus’ power to His physical presence. (V21, 32)
Martha and Mary thought that Christ needed to physically be present to do a great work in the life of Lazarus. Because Jesus is God, He could have spoken and healed Lazarus without even being present, but He chose not to. His plan and purpose is larger than that.
- Jesus' resurrection is for now and the future. (V24-25)
The resurrection certifies our faith now and gives us the hope that death is not final. As our Savior was resurrected by the power of the Holy Spirit, so will His people be bodily and eternally be resurrected in the future.
- Because Jesus is the resurrection, dead men live. (V44)
Twenty-first century Christians can have hope because just as Lazarus was dead so were we apart from the resurrecting power of Jesus. Take heart because the resurrection certifies the person and work of Christ and the Holy Spirit applies it to you so that you walk dead to sin and alive to Christ.
Praise God for the bodily and eternal resurrection of our Lord!
Order of Service
Pre-service Video: True and Better
Christ is Risen He is Risen Indeed (John 20:24-29)
Welcome and Announcements
A Mighty Fortress is Our God (Psalm 46:1-11)
Jesus Paid it All (Hebrews 9:11-14)
Christ is Risen (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)
Sermon: Overwhelmed (Revelation 1:12-18) by Pastor Shaun Brown
Offertory & Video: Food Ministry Update
Closing: Christ is Risen, He is Risen Indeed