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John 11:38–45 Sermon

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John 11:38–45 ESV
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.” 45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him,

Introduction

Last week we covered verses 28 to 37.
We spent some talking about Jesus as a Teacher.
And it was because of how they addressed Jesus in verse 28.
John 11:28 ESV
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.”
This was interesting because Jesus had already done miracles and though Martha and Mary wanted healing for their brother, they addressed Jesus as an instructor/teacher rather than a healer.
Bethany, being about two miles from Jerusalem, would have had people who heard what Jesus did in Jerusalem.
We know this because of John 11:37, where they made mentioned of Jesus opening up the eyes of a blind man.
You would think that they would appeal to His miracle working for His title but they instead addressed Him as Teacher.
We were also reminded that Nicodemus addressed Jesus as Teacher in John 3.
In fact, Nicodemus said,
John 3:2 ESV
2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.”
So what validated Jesus’ ministry and teaching was His fulfilling the messianic call to heal and deliver people from their illnesses.
So Jesus the Teacher called for Mary and she quickly rose to meet meet Him.
Mary came to Jesus and fell at His feet saying to Him,
Verse 32: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
Martha had said the same thing to Jesus in verse 21. Both were in pain because their brother Lazarus had died.
If Jesus had been there He could have healed Lazarus from the illness that took his life.
If you remember, Jesus when He heard that Lazarus was ill He remained where He was for two more days. And Lazarus was someone Jesus loved.
So Jesus could have gotten there sooner but decided instead to stay where He was two more days.
And the reason is found in verse 4.
John 11:4 ESV
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.”
Jesus knew of what He was going to do at the end. And even with this knowledge, Jesus saw them weeping and still “he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.”
We spoke about how that was possible with Jesus being fully and truly God.
Jesus being fully and truly man experienced what any man would have when seeing those in pain. He wept with them and was moved because of their grief.
But even then Jesus was not on their time. Even though there was pain and grief because of Martha and Mary’s brother dying Jesus knew that what they needed most was a genuine belief in Him. Which Martha confessed to in verse 27.
John 11:27 ESV
27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
Which is the point of the gospel of John.
John 20:31 ESV
31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
This event highlights not just the miracle working reality of Jesus as the Messiah, but it also displays the power of Jesus as God. As the resurrection and the life. As the object our faith.

Outline

1. The Preparation (v.38-40)

2. The Prayer (v.41-42)

3. The Power (v.43-45)

1. The Preparation (v.38-40)

Verse 38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.

We see in verse 38 Jesus being moved again.
We saw last week that Jesus was moved throughout the gospels.
We see this happening twice in chapter 11.
Jesus was moved meaning He ha an intense, strong feeling of concern. And because of that He went to the tomb which was a cave where a stone laid against it. (Explain)

Read Verse 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.”

Jesus here is telling them to take away the stone which was the door into the tomb.
And then a concern was brought to Jesus from Martha.
She said, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.”
There was a proverb in the Talmud that said, “corruption sets in the third day after death.”
The Talmud was important to Judaism then because it was a set of discussions and commentary on Jewish history, law customs and culture.
Most likely she was referring to what the Talmud said pertaining to what a dead body would have on the third day which was that it would be corrupt and should not ever be touched or moved.
It would make sense for Jesus to wait the fourth day to really show His power then. Not only to heal Lazarus from death but to make him clean again. Even after the third day where corruption (according to the Talmud) would set in.
Martha’s concern was shared but Jesus responded with reminding her about the purpose and intent of why He was there.

Read Verse 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”

John 11:25–26 ESV
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?”
Jesus reminded here that belief in Him would allow her to see the glory of God in this situation. And it was because Jesus was and is Himself the resurrection and the life.
This here was preparation for them to see what He would do.
By being moved, Jesus would go to the tomb and tell them to take away the stone.
And though Martha brought the concern over Lazarus being dead four days and the odor that would come out from his grave, Jesus went forward to do something here that would speak of Him being who He said He was.
Namely, that He was and is the resurrection and the life!
They said that if Jesus had come when Lazarus was ill that He would have been able to heal him from his illness.
But God had a plan. Jesus waited for two days longer then He left to where Lazarus was.
Everyone saw Jesus as coming too late. But He was right on time. And when He did arrive He then prepared them for what He was about to do. Even with some complaints and ignorance on their part.
What is amazing about Jesus is that though He was fully and truly God, He prayed to the Father!
Showing His humility in the incarnation.

2. The Prayer (v.41-42)

Read Verse 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.

After preparing by taking away the stone, Jesus would go on to pray to the Father.
We have about 25 recorded prayer in the gospels.
Jesus prayed at His baptism (Luke 3:21-22)
He gave thanks to the Father before feeding 5000 (John 6:11)
Later in John 12:27-28, Jesus would ask the Father to glorify His name
And of course His prayer in John 17
All are examples (along with others that I did not mention) of Jesus in His humility praying to the Father.
Jesus in verse 41, lifted up His eyes.
I was reminded of the tax collector in Luke 18.
How he had the opposite response in his prayer.
Luke 18:13 ESV
13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’
The tax collector did this because he knew of his need for mercy and it broke him to not even lift his eyes to heaven.
Jesus when lifting up His eyes, He could so confidently because He was without sin. And He could do it without losing being perfectly humble.
He knew that God would be glorified, which was the reason for Him being there and He would ask what God had already planned.
Some people have confused confidence in prayer with self entitlement as a motivator for prayer.
Jesus does not make that mistake here. His greatest desire is to show the glory of God, to make much of the Father.
And the Father’s desire is to make much of the Son.
This miracle would do just that. It would make much of the Father and it would make much of the Son.
And the Son would be who people would need in order to go to the Father.
Jesus begins this prayer with thanks and He does so with lifting up His eyes to the Father.
He says, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.”
He’s thanking the Father for hearing Him. Which was proven in the works He did.
Then in verse 42 we see the purpose of His prayer.

Read Verse 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.”

Jesus said this prayer openly for two reasons:
1) for the people (He said this on account of the people standing around)
2) so that they would believe that Jesus was sent (He prayed this so that they would believe that He was sent)
He began with thanks to the Father and then telling the Father that He had known that the Father had always heard Him.
The fact that Jesus lifted His eyes shows us confidence in His prayer and recalling after the truth of the Father hearing Him.
This is a good example for us in our prayer.
If we come to God in prayer we can do so confidently but it is not because we are sinless. It is dependent on the merits of Christ and His work. Which compels confidence in prayer because we do not come entitled, rather we come because of the merits of Christ. So we come confident in Christ when praying and petitioning to God.
Jesus didn’t begin His prayer with His right to ask the Father. He gave thanks to the Father and remembered how the Father had been faithful.
A great model for us when we come to God in prayer.
He said this openly not show His own righteousness to the people there, though He could have because He was without sin. He did this so that they would believe that He was sent.
They would hear Jesus praying to the Father which would show them that He is of the Father and how the Father who is in heaven, will grant His request.
Proving that Jesus is of the Father. Which should also be our motivator in prayer.
Not that we go out in public and pray so that others can hear us. Jesus warned us about praying to be seen. But in our praying we should be confident in the merits of Christ when petitioning and requesting before God. Always beginning with thanksgiving in our requests to God.
If Jesus did this while being sinless, how much more we who are sinful ask God.
The purpose of His prayer was to ask the Father for what was about to happen.
Jesus had already healed others and He was going to the Father in prayer to do the same with this situation.
Namely, to show the glory of God through what He would do in order for people to believe in Him.

3. The Power (v.43-44)

Read Verse 43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.”

Remember who is speaking here! This is God! Jesus is God!
The God who spoke the world into existence is here.
The God who said “Let there be light”
The God who said “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”
The God who said “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.”
The God who said “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.”
The God who said “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.”
The God who said “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.”
The God who said “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.”
The God who said “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
This God is the God here who spoke with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” And He came out!
It is not an accident that in the very first verse of this book we have,
John 1:1 ESV
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:14 ESV
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The power in the voice of this man who cried out to Lazarus was God!
Notice He only called out Lazarus to come forth.
If He had cried out to all the dead they all would have come forth because the man here crying out is the God who spoke everything to be.
Lazarus here was dead for four days. His body considered given to corruption. Lazarus was dead! But He rose!
Lazarus did not have a choice in this.
Jesus called out to him and he came forth with no questions asked.
Friends. Brothers and sisters. It is no different when God called us to salvation.
1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins
2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—
3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
When He called me I wasn’t looking for Him.
I was dead in my sins and trespasses. But God....!
The same power and voice here that rose Lazarus from the dead is the same power and voice that calls us to repentance and faith in Him!
John 10:27 ESV
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
Lazarus didn’t have to think about rising. The voice of the Shepherd called and he rose.
He rose not just at the call of God the Son. He rose because of the call from God the Son.

Read Verse 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.”

I love what the reformation study bible said about this.
The dead cannot hear, but Jesus wanted those present to see that God’s voice can raise the dead. This divine call that gives life to the dead vividly illustrates God’s call to the spiritually dead that raises them to spiritual life.
We actually see this happening in verse 45.

Read Verse 45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him.

Which again is the purpose.
John 11:4 ESV
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.”
Greater than raising a man to from the grave, is raising those who are dead in their sins and giving them eternal life!
This illness did not end in death. It revealed the glory of God in the Son of God being believed.
Which reveals that the work of God had been done and the result is many sons and daughters coming into the glories of Christ aprat from works but only because of the work of Christ!
His merits are accredited to us and we can never boast about how we were able to respond but rather the very cause of our response to the gospel call is work of God.
He gets all the glory because what is impossible with man is possible with God.
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