Jesus Christ confronted death and demonstrated His great power over death.
In confronting and conquering the tomb of Lazarus, He demonstrated that the believer’s hope is not in vain.
The believer will be raised from the dead, resurrected by the great shout of the Lord’s power.
Jesus confronted the dead (v.38-39).
The great promise of unlimited, resting faith (v.40).
The great prayer of purpose (v.41-42).
The great shout of power over death (v.43-44).
Conclusion: the reaction to Jesus’ great power (v.45-46).
!! A. The Raising of lazarus
!!! 1. Jesus Confronted The Dead (v.38-39)
!!!! a) He groaned (v.38)
· He saw the pain of Mary and Martha and their dear friends.
· He sensed the terrible dread and bondage that death held over His dear friend Lazarus, and over the whole human race.
· He was keenly conscious of His own terrible death that lay only a few days away.
He felt the emotions of both compassion and anger, sympathy and indignation.
He groaned from deep within, sensing an intense love for all who suffer and a holy anger and displeasure against death .
!!!! b) He was confronted with an objection from a believer (v.39)
!!!!! (1) An Unbeliever Might Question If Lazarus Was Truly Dead.
Note the emphasis upon the fact that Lazarus /was/ truly dead.
!!!!!! (a) Lazarus was in a real tomb, a tomb of the wealthy.
Martha’s wealth was indicated by her having owned a house large enough to lodge Jesus and His disciples.
If by any stretch of the imagination Lazarus had been mistaken for dead, he was certainly dead now, for it had been four days since he was buried.
He would have been placed in an enclosed tomb, being critically ill and very weak.
Four days without food or water in such circumstances would kill any weak and critically ill person.
!!!!!! (b) There was Martha’s shock at Jesus’ request.
The body would have started to decompose after four days.
!!!!! (2) It Was A Believer Who Objected To Jesus Confronting The Situation.
Martha was not sure that Jesus’ action was wise and for the best.
She was uneasy about what Jesus was doing and asking.
She was satisfied with things as they were, with Lazarus laid to rest as he was.
What she wanted was to be comforted, not disturbed.
!!!!! (3) Many Believers Want Things Left Alone, Being Happy With Things As They Are.
They want only enough of Christ to give them comfort and security and ease.
They want little if anything to do with His demands and confrontation with the sin and death of the world *(Luke 9:23)*.
!!!!!! (a) People in Jesus’ day knew what it meant to “take up” a cross.
They saw many criminals bearing the cross to the place where they were to be executed, and they witnessed many of crucifixions, some even by the side of the roads that led in and out of the cities.
· The cross does not mean merely bearing one’s particular hardship in life.
The cross is always an instrument of death, not just an object to carry or bear.
· The Christian is to die mentally and actively and daily.
He is to let the mind of Christ, the mind of humbling himself to the point of death, be in him and fill his thoughts every day (Phil.
2:5-8; 2 Cor.
· He is to put his will, his desires, his wants, his ambitions to death.
In their stead, he is to follow Jesus and to do His will all day long.
· It takes positive, active behavior to /will/, to /deny/ /self/, to /take up/ one’s /cross/, to /follow /Christ.
!!! 2. The Great Promise Of Unlimited, Resting Faith (v.40)
Jesus challenged Martha to take leap of faith.
He wanted her to trust Him, to quit questioning what He did.
He wanted her to trust...
· His judgment and will.
· His knowledge and understanding.
· His Word and instructions.
* Very simply, He wanted her to /rest/ in Him, to place an unlimited, resting faith in Him.*
!!!! a) There is a rest for the believer.
!!!!! (1) It is called /the believer’s rest/ or /God’s rest/.
The believer enters /God’s rest/ by what may be called a /resting faith/ or an /unlimited faith/.
An unlimited, resting faith is the highest level or stage of faith.
It is the level of faith God desires for every believer.
A resting (unlimited) faith is a faith that rests in at least four things.
!!!!!! (a) *A resting faith is a rest of /deliverance and salvation/*.
It is to rest in God’s Word, to know beyond all question...
(i) that one is truly saved and delivered from sin and shame, death and hell.
(ii) that one is freed from the guilt and nagging of conscience.
(iii) that one has open access into God’s presence through prayer.
/"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
(Matthew 11:28, NKJV) /
/"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," (Romans 5:1, NKJV) /
"For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: “So I swore in My wrath,‘They shall not enter My rest,’ ”although the works were finished from the foundation of the world."
(Hebrews 4:3, NKJV)
!!!!!! (b) *A resting faith is a rest of /service and ministry/*.
It is not a life that does nothing for God.
It is a rest that comes from committing one’s life to the call and purpose of Jesus Christ, a rest that is...
(i) filled with purpose, meaning, and significance.
(ii) committed to sharing Christ with a world lost and full of desperate needs.
(iii) surrendered to God’s call for personal involvement and service.
(iv) filled with God’s Spirit and equipped with His gifts for service.
(v) pleased with God’s call and gifts, with one’s lot in life and place of service.
/"Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
(Matthew 11:29, NKJV) /
"Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God." (2 Corinthians 5:18-20, NKJV)
!!!!!! (c) *A resting faith is a rest of /assurance and confidence/ in the future*.
It is a rest of peace about the future.
(i) the knowledge that all the enslavements and bondages of this life have been conquered in Christ, even death.
(ii) the knowledge and experience that God will take care of us no matter what may come or fall.
(iii) the knowledge and very real presence of hope: the hope of eternal life, of heaven, of the /eternal and perfect rest/ for the people of God.
(iv) *Passages for Peace (John 14:27; 16:33; Isaiah 26:3)*
!!!!!! (d) *A resting faith is a rest of /courage and knowledge/*.
It is a faith that does not question or complain.
It is a faith that truly believes, trusts, and rests in God, that actually...
(i) takes God at His Word and does what He says.
(ii) knows that God’s presence and blessing are upon one’s life.
(iii) knows that what happens is under God’s control (Romans 8:28).
(iv) experiences God’s presence and care day by day, being taken care of and looked after.
(v) knows victory over all: being filled with all confidence, assurance, hope, and peace (Philippians 4:6-7).
!!!! b) If you would /believe/ you would /see/ (v.40)
!!!!! (1) Man Demands That He First See, /Then He Will Believe.
/This is totally contrary to /true/ faith.
It is not the way faith works.