Faithlife Sermons

Jesus and the Dead Man

The Miracles of Jesus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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An Impossible Situation

Have you ever faced an impossible situation? A circumstance where you were certain things were not going to go your way?
How did you respond to your impossible situation? As I think back to different crises I’ve been through I recall responding with despair, anger, and even rage.
examples
While we cannot control what happens to us, we can have some control over how we respond to the situations like throws our way. In this message we are going to look at the story of Jesus and Lazarus to see how Jesus responded to an impossible situation.
We all have stories of impossible situations. The good news is that with Jesus, nothing is impossible.

Jesus responds to terrible news with confident faith

John 11:1–16 ESV
Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 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.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” 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. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
Faith faces the facts fearlessly
When Jesus receives the news that his friend is sick, he does not rebuke those who told him the news for giving a bad report.
Jesus knew the severity of his friend’s sickness better than anyone present, yet he was the only one not afraid.
Faith sees the opportunity to glorify God
We can consider any and every obstacle nothing more than an opportunity to glorify God and strengthen our faith.
No matter the trial, no matter the opposition, we have a mission and we must keep moving forward. Jesus would not let his friend’s death stop him from doing God’s will. Because Jesus is alive again and has called us his friends, nothing should stop us from doing God’s will.
Faith does not hurry
Goodness delayed is not goodness denied. The goodness of God’s rewards will cause us to forget the waiting. The greatest miracle in the gospels is here in this chapter, and it is preceded by a surprising delay. If you are waiting for a breakthrough, keep trusting God. It will be worth it!
Francis Jane Crosby wrote more than 9,000 hymns, some of which are among the most popular in every Christian denomination. She wrote so many that she was forced to use pen names lest the hymnals be filled with her name above all others. And, for most people, the most remarkable thing about her was that she had done so in spite of her blindness.
"I think it is a great pity that the Master did not give you sight when he showered so many other gifts upon you," remarked one well-meaning preacher.
Fanny Crosby responded at once, as she had heard such comments before. "Do you know that if at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I was born blind?" said the poet, who had been able to see only for her first six weeks of life. "Because when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior."

Jesus responds to the brokenhearted with reassuring hope

John 11:17–27 ESV
Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 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. So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
Jesus heals broken hearts
Luke 4:18
Luke 4:18 KJV 1900
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
Too often we get this backwards. Instead of healing the brokenhearted and preaching to the captives we preach at the brokenhearted and then wonder why we are ineffective in the mission.
Hope looks to the future - “Your brother will rise again.”
Jesus began to comfort to Martha by reminding her of the truth.
Jesus encourages Martha to consider what will be instead of just what is.
Jesus brings certainty into an uncertain situation - he will rise again.
Jesus turns future possibilitites into present realities.
Jesus does so much more and so much better than just invite us to consider future joy as a comfort for present suffering.
Jesus is the resurrection. When He is present, His power is present also. He brings the powers of the world to come into the world that now is.

Jesus responds to grief with tender compassion

John 11:28–37 ESV
When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 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. 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.” 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. And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”
Tears are often more valuable than words
When someone is grieving we are often to quick with our words.
One of the greatest blessings I received as I mourned my mother’s death earlier this year was a brother who sat, listened and wept with me.
Romans 12:15
Jesus’ heart is tender towards us
He does not grow jaded from facing our failngs.
Deeply moved = outraged
Jesus fully identifies with us before he finally delivers us

Jesus responds to death with kingdom authority

John 11:38–44 ESV
Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 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.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 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.” When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 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.”
Kingdom authority prays to enforce God’s will, not to discover it
There are different kinds of prayer
Evidently Jesus had already prayed about this situation “I thank you that you have heard me.”
Kingdom authority empowers us to believe before we see
The world says seeing is believing
With Jesus, believing comes before seeing
Kingdom authority commands situations to change
Mark 11:24
We will see more mountains move as we begin to speak to them instead of about them

What is your Lazarus?

“When Jesus expels demons and heals the sick, he is driving out of creation the powers of destruction, and is healing and restoring created beings who are hurt and sick. The lordship of God to which the healings witness, restores creation to health. Jesus’ healings are not supernatural miracles in a natural world. They are the only truly “natural” things in a world that is unnatural, demonized and wounded.” - Jurgen Moltmann, The Way of Jesus Christ: Christology in Messianic Dimensions
Only Jesus can bring dead situations back to life. Nothing is too hard for him. When faced with our weakness, limitations and failures, he responds with faith reassurance and compassion. This empowers you and I to speak to our situations with kingdom authority.
What situation do you need to speak to today?
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