Monterey, Ca. Photo by Richard Blick, 2011
IX. The Sermon: Resurrection and Life. John 11 – Reverend Kyle McClellan, Pastor, Grace Church
The Big Idea: Jesus, in God’s perfect timing, uses the resurrection of Lazarus as a parable for his life giving power that comes at the cost of his substitutionary death.
Point One: We need to trust in God’s perfect timing.
Vs1-6. Jesus loved Martha, her sister and brother. It is shocking then that he stayed TWO DAYS longer so he doesn’t get to Lazarus in time to heal him. This is the Jesus who is known to heal people, give the blind sight, and cause lame to walk.
V4. This illness does not lead to death but glorifies Jesus and God. He also sees that Mary, Martha, et al need to grow in their faith. She says absgractly that yes, her brother will come to life on the last day. When is that? Jesus hits her with the concrete reality that HE IS the resurrection and the life not some abstract idea of the last day.
We understand God’s timing is perfect, but that is abstract because we want God in reality to do things quicker sometimes. We want him to work in the lives of our children, for instance. We want these things now. The book of Job also hits this topic: God’s timing is His business. Lovingly, like Mary and Martha, Jesus confronts us that his timing of waiting two extra days better. While we wait, we see God’s goodness greater. He become less abstract and more real.
Point two. We need to understand Jesus’ grief and anger.
This culture had professional mourners that were required to be hired for a funeral, even by poorer people. V33 Jesus sees them weep and is deeply moved. Why is it that he is outraged and grieving? The text tells us more than once that Jesus loves this family deeply, and he is seeing their world come to an end. Now, Mary and Martha find themselves behind the eight ball in a big way. We don’t see the mention of husbands or parents. They have no protectorate now, no one to supply for them now that Lazarus, their kinsman redeemer, is dead.
The phrase ‘deeply moved’ in common Greek often referred to a horse that snorted when he is angry. v37 the people say, “where’s the guy with all the power when we need him?” This is a form of unbelief. Jonathan Edwards has said that unbelievers find Jesus useful, and believers find him beautiful.
Point three. This is John’s last recorded sign that Jesus did and his biggest in many ways.
V34. Here is a dead and decaying man walking bound with grave clothes, and Jesus says let him go. 1 Cor 14. Where is death’s sting now that in Christ’s death it has been swallowed up?
Point four. We should marvel at the irony of substitution.
Many see this miracle and believe. Many people, however, run to the Pharisees and taddle-tell.
It is Ironic that eventually the Romans did conquer Jerusalem even though they said if we kill Jesus that would never happen.
The second ironic point is in v50. The high priest is saying more than he knows. Jesus would die for the nation AND the world. In Isaiah 53 we read that Jesus would bear our griefs and sorrows yet we esteemed him stricken. He bore our inquiry and had none of his own. What the high priest did not know he was speaking of really fulfilled this passage. Jesus dies in our place.
In Ephesians 2 it says we are dead, like Lazarus. There is a little Lazarus in us all, as the song goes. Jesus said that this event was also a parable. Have you heard Jesus call you out from your deadness?