Today we were lucky enough to have James come and talk to us about John 11. He shared with us that it has been a couple of years since his wife died. It was an emotional morning looking at trial, why it happens, how we can glorify God in the middle of it and looking forward to a happier time.
Chapter 10 is all about the works that bear witness that Jesus is the son of God. In chapter 12 it is about Mary anointing him ready for burial. John 11 is then a very pivotal chapter. When Jesus, in John 11:4, hears that Lazarus is sick he sees this as an opportunity to show the glory of God. Maybe he had already talked and planned this with God. v41 says, "Father I thank you that you have heard me."
John 5:25 Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and IS NOW HERE, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.
Why did Jesus allow this to happen? Why did he deliberately wait 2 extra days before he left? He could have healed Lazarus before he died, was he being insensitive?
John 11:15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. v40 Jesus said to Martha, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?"
How did Lazarus dying bring about the glory of God? Well in Rom 4:20-21 we hear that Abraham gives glory to God by having a strong faith and being fully convinced that God is able to do what he promised.
Rom 8:28 And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
This verse can bring an incredible amount of comfort. Ultimately, our trials will lead to good if we love God. In John 11, Jesus is trying to remind them the love is important. The word 'LOVE' is used 4 times.
Our love for God can grow deeper through trials. We allow our hope to be in God and God alone.
When Martha is positive that Jesus can heal her brother she directly quotes John 9:30. Maybe she was there for the healing of the blind man and truly knew that, 'Whatever you ask from God, he will give you'.
Resurrection isn't something we should focus on in the future it is something we should focus on everyday. v26 whoever lives and believes in me, will never die.
v35 Jesus wept. He understands that we are sad and trials are hard. He feels everything we go through and he cares. But ultimately, he wants us to know that trials work to bring ultimate good.
James 1:12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
The chapter goes on to talk about his sisters who were worried that Lazarus would be stinking in the grave and didn’t understand why Jesus would want to go near his grave. Maybe they thought that it would be too late. Do we ever doubt that God can bring about his promises? God can take a person from corruption and bring them unto life.
In the kingdom, the last enemy to be destroyed will be death. Jesus cried with a LOUD VOICE, "Lazarus, come forth!"
This takes our minds directly to the last days when the ‘Lord himself will come down from heaven with a LOUD SHOUT...and the dead in Christ will rise from their graves.’ 1 Thess 4:16
Lazarus walks out, bound hand and foot in his grave clothes. What a fitting symbol of mortality. In the kingdom, mortality will be loosed. Acts 24 talks about Jesus loosening the pains of death. Here, Jesus asks to unbind him, take off the grave clothes and let him go. What a beautiful reminder of the kingdom, where we can leave sin and mortality behind us and enter our new lives.
As a result of this moment, so many believed in him which is what glorifying God is all about. In chapter 12 they had a special supper with Jesus, sat around and ate and drank with Jesus, their lives forever changed. We did this same simple act this morning and though we each have trials to bear, we remember that soon our grave clothes will soon be taken off and we will be free.