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Lent 99 4 - The Via Dolorosa: Jesus Wept

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Reading: John 11:17-44
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26 (NIV)

I.   Too Late?

     A.  Run to Jesus

           1.  In her grief Martha runs to Jesus

                 a.  Before he even gets to her place

                 b.  When she first hears he’s on his way

           2.  Mary goes later

                 a.  She doesn’t go until she hears that Jesus is asking for her.

                 b.  She gets up quickly and goes to him

           3.  It is right to seek him when we’re hurting

                 a.  Jesus isn’t just the Lord of the happy

                 b.  At first or later He welcomes us.

     B.  If you had been Here . . .

           1.  Martha’s words accuse Jesus of bad timing

                 a.  Martha just blurts out her frustration

                 b.  She says he’s too late. If only . . .

                 c.  Still Jesus patiently deals with her hurt

           2.  They are words of anger

                 a.  Unlike Mary, she doesn’t fall at his feet.

                 b.  They had sent for him earlier.

           3.  They are words of faith

                 a.  Her frustration is based in part on her faith — he wouldn’t have died.

                 b.  She believed in Jesus power.

                 c.  She didn’t trust his timing.

     C.  Disappointed faith

           1.  Martha gives voice to a disappointed faith

                 a.  Trust and disappointment are mingled.

                 b.  She knows he can do all things, so why did he let this happen?

           2.  We trust, but are disappointed with God

                 a.  How often haven’t we come to him the same way in trust and disappointment?

                 b.   At times it seems like God lets us down

           3.  We don’t delight in Him, we settle for Him

                 a.  We’d rather have a God who never lets hurt enter our lives.

                 b.  We “settle” for a God who isn’t quite as powerful or as willing as we wish.

                 c.  We don’t delight in Him, we tolerate Him

II.  Jesus comes bringing Life

     A.  I am the Resurrection

           1.  Jesus let this happen to show us more about himself. (v.14-15)

                 a.  This was on purpose — isn’t that mean?

                 b.  But God’s grace isn’t so weak or hesitant as to withhold what we need.

                 c.  Sometimes hurt is a part of growth and healing.

           2.  Jesus affirms that he is the solution to our biggest problem

                 a.  He is the resurrection and the life.

                 b.  Jesus wants us to know this isn’t just a parable or a myth

                 c.  How else can he show us his power over death?

           3.  Jesus affirms a final resurrection

                 a.  One day we shall all be called out of the grave as Lazarus was.

                 b.  One day death will be defeated.

     B.  Trust in Jesus gives Life

           1.  Not all of everlasting life is for later

                 a.  Whoever lives and believes in me will never die — i.e. life is now!

                 b.  Life isn’t for later.

           2.  Not even death can put an end to life

                 a.  We don’t die — our bodies die.

                 b.  Life continues.

                 c.  After the resurrection we’ll have bodies that will never die.

     C.  Do you Believe this?

           1.  Martha’s and your and my life turns on our answer to this question.

                 a.  Do you believe this?

                 b.  Is Jesus the resurrection and the life — or should we look somewhere else?

           2.  If Jesus can defeat the power of death, everything changes.

                 a.  Death only wins a temporary victory from now on.

                 b.  We will someday be reunited with our loved ones who have died.

                 c.  Do you believe this?

III. Jesus gets Angry

     A.  In the face of tears, Jesus is Upset

           1.  Two words: Angry or stern (in spirit)

                 a.  Angry with what?

                 b.  The crowd?

                 c.  Death itself and what it does?

           2.  Troubled — upset, agitated.

                 a.  He’s visibly shaken by the grief he sees

                 b.  He doesn’t like this and he’s going to do something about it.

     B.  Jesus Weeps

           1.  Not the wailing of the mourners.

                 a.  This is shedding tears not crying out like the crowds were doing.

                 b.  Can you see the face of Jesus wet with his tears.

                 c.  Mary had wet his feet with her tears once and now Jesus weeps with her.

           2.  What do these tears mean?

                 a.  Tears of love — the crowd

                 b.  Tears of powerlessness - the others

                 c.  Tears of anger at death the enemy?

     C.  Jesus shows his Power over death

           1.  He let this happen to show his power.

                 a.  We can hear the sternness in his voice: “Take away the stone.”

                 b.  His words once again cross the barrier of death as he calls Lazarus out.

                 c.  “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”

           2.  He does this to deepen their faith

                 a.  He prays out loud for the sake of those around.

                 b.  His purpose is to show us who he is.

           3.  He gives us a glimpse of our own resurrection.

                 a.  Some day we will hear his voice cutting through the wall of death.

                 b.  We and all who have believed in Jesus will come staggering out into the light.

The Bottom Line:

Whoever believes in Jesus, though we die will Live. Do You believe this?

O Master Let Me Walk With Thee R/G#437 vv 3-4

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