Sermon: The Love of Christ and the Resurrection (John 11:1-46)

John 11.1-46 AUDIO

The Love of Christ and the Resurrection

TT- Do not measure God’s love for you by how comfortable you are, instead, measure God’s love by how much of Himself He gives you.

Jn 11:1 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.

Jn 11:2 It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill.

Jn 11:3 So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.”

Jn 11:4 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.”

Jn 11:5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.

Jn 11:6 So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.

Jn 11:7 Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.”

Jn 11:8 The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?”

Jn 11:9 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.

Jn 11:10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”

Jn 11:11 After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.”

Jn 11:12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.”

Jn 11:13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep.

Jn 11:14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died,

Jn 11:15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

Jn 11:16 So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

Jn 11:17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days.

Jn 11:18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off,

Jn 11:19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother.

Jn 11:20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house.

Jn 11:21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.

Jn 11:22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.”

Jn 11:23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

Jn 11:24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”

Jn 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,

Jn 11:26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Jn 11:27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”

Jn 11:28 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.”

Jn 11:29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him.

Jn 11:30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him.

Jn 11:31 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.

Jn 11:32 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.”

Jn 11:33 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.

Jn 11:34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.”

Jn 11:35 Jesus wept.

Jn 11:36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

Jn 11:37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”

Jn 11:38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.

Jn 11:39 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.”

Jn 11:40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”

Jn 11:41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.

Jn 11:42 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.”

Jn 11:43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.”

Jn 11:44 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.”

Jn 11:45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him,

Jn 11:46 but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.

TT- Do not measure God’s love for you by how comfortable you are, instead, measure God’s love by how much of Himself He gives you.

1. The Purpose of Lazarus’ Death

Jn 11:4 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.”

The text leaves no doubt as to why Lazarus would die.  Jesus states that this illness Lazarus is suffering will show God’s glory.

The illness Lazarus has will kill him but death will not be the end of the story.  It will not lead to death as the ultimate end; Jesus being glorified is the ultimate end of Lazarus’ sickness.

Very quickly in this passage we are introduced to the fact of the deity of Jesus Christ.  He already knew exactly what was to take place.  He knew Lazarus would die.  He knew He would raise Lazarus from the dead.  He knew this would result in Him being glorified.

The illness and eventual death of Lazarus was much the same as the man born blind in John 9.

Jn 9:1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth.

Jn 9:2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Jn 9:3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.

Jn 9:4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.

Jn 9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 

Again, here in this example, we see a similar purpose; God will be glorified through this man’s blindness.   God was glorified as Jesus healed this man from blindness.

The Son of God is glorified through the exhibition of His divine power and grace shown to others.

The raising of Lazarus in the Gospel of John, is Jesus’ seventh sign of His claims to be the Christ, the Son of God.  When the disciples and the people saw these miracles, some were convinced that His claims were true.

Jn 2:11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

So, in order for Christ’s glory to shine forth more brilliantly, Lazarus had to die.

2. The Purpose of Jesus’ Delay

Jn 11:5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.

Jn 11:6 So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.

The messenger came and told Jesus about the emergency back in Bethany in the house of His beloved friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.  Jesus loved these three as much as He loved anyone.  He spent hours with them, often fleeing the crowds and sitting with His beloved friends in their home.

They all knew what Jesus could do.  They knew that He could heal Lazarus because everyone brought to Jesus was healed.  There was nothing He couldn’t do and because of these facts, they told Him of Lazarus’ critical condition.

John states the obvious fact in verse 5, Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.  Then in verse 6 we’re told that because of His great love for them…He dropped everything a rushed to their house??? No, John reports that it was because of His great love for His friends, He stayed two more days.  The purpose for Jesus’ delay was that He loved them so much.

The more we think about this, the less sense it makes on the surface.  In order to get what John is telling us we must enter into the thinking of God.  If we’re going to get this, we must, in a sense, leave earth and enter heaven.

Jesus hears of Lazarus’ sickness…He states that the illness will not end in death but rather God’s glory…because Jesus loves them so much, He will delay His coming until Lazarus is dead.

Jn 14:21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

Here, in John 14:21 we have a clue as to the logic of Christ.  The most loving thing Jesus can do for us is to magnify or show Himself to us.  In other words, the most loving thing Jesus can do for us is to give us more of Himself.

TT- Do not measure God’s love for you by how comfortable you are, instead, measure God’s love by how much of Himself He gives you.

It was out of God’s love the man in John 9 was born blind.  Through his blindness, Jesus could show more of Himself to this man than if he had his sight all his life.

It was out of God’s love Lazarus would die and Mary and Martha made to walk through pain and suffering.  Because it’s on the other side of grief and pain more of God is seen than through any other way.  This is the most loving thing God can do.

The purpose of Jesus’ delay was to love His friends through the manifestation of His glory.

To nail this down even further, lets look…

Jn 11:14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died,

Jn 11:15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

3. Jesus Responds

A. With Emotion…

Jn 11:20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house.

Jn 11:21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.

Jn 11:32 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.”

Jn 11:36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

Jn 11:37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”

It should be noted that it is in the midst of all the questioning of Jesus’ motives and love that His heart begins to be stirred within Him.  The basic accusation was, Jesus, You didn’t care enough!

When Jesus heard these accusations and saw the weeping of those He loved, He was deeply moved in His spirit.

Jn 11:33 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.

Jn 11:34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.”

Jn 11:35 Jesus wept.

Jn 11:38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.

The first response of our lord in these verses is a response of emotion; He was deeply moved.  Jesus is God and He is man.  He has emotions…often, deep emotions.

Jesus responds with emotion because those He loved questioned His motives.

Bible scholars are across the board as to why Jesus was deeply moved in spirit.  Most believe it is because Jesus is seeing the effects of sin on His friends.  He is agitated and deeply angered at sin.  His tears are tears of sympathy toward His beloved friends.  Sin has claimed another victim.  The wages of sin is death…

B. With Action…

Jn 11:39 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.”

Jn 11:40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”

Jn 11:41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.

Jn 11:42 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.”

Jn 11:43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.”

Jn 11:44 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.”

The first action in this section is to see that in the midst of great pain and suffering, Jesus seeks to strengthen the faith of those involved.  He does this by reminding Martha of what He has already told her.

So often when we experience pain and suffering it is a good thing for us to review the truths we know about our Lord.

Then, also for the benefit of those standing around Him, He prays and thanks God that he hears him in order that everyone’s faith is strengthened.

Jesus, standing in front of the tomb does something only God can do.  He shouts into the dead cold tomb the words of life.  Immediately, they revive the dead corpse.  Living flesh takes the place of rot; brain waves, heartbeat, breathing where before there was noting but death.  The Creator has created again.  He has demonstrated His power and glory for all to see.

With the Words of Christ…

The dead man lived again; he was resurrected from the tomb.

Those standing there believed that Jesus came from God the Father.

Jesus’ love for the people was shown that day as He revealed more of His power and glory than was ever seen before.

Jn 1:14 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.

TT- Do not measure God’s love for you by how comfortable you are, instead, measure God’s love by how much of Himself He gives you.

The resurrection of Lazarus was an amazing display of Christ’s glory and love.  This resurrection would set in motion the events in which Jesus would be led to the cross and experience His own resurrection.

Jn 11:45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him,

Jn 11:46 but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.

The effect of sin on Lazarus was undone through the power of Christ.  He alone can overcome sin, death, and the grave.  Jesus’ very own resurrection is ultimate proof that death and the grave were enemies that could not keep Him.

Jesus’ glory and love were shown when Lazarus came out of the tomb.  Jesus’ glory and love were shown to His people in an even greater way, when he came forth.

As we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, we must understand what He lells Martha…

Jn 11:24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”

Jn 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,

Jn 11:26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

In these few words, Jesus tells Martha He is the resurrection.  He doesn’t simply have the power to cause Lazarus to be raised, He doesn’t simply have the power to raise from the grave Himself, but Jesus is the resurrection…He is the One who will cause all humanity to rise again from the dead.  He will usher some into heaven for all eternity.  He will consign others to an eternity of suffering in Hell.

The key question I should ask you today, is the same question Jesus asked Martha:

Jn 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,

Jn 11:26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Do you believe Jesus can be trusted with your soul?  Do you believe that when the time is right your body will be raised and reunited with your souls?  Do you believe it is only through Jesus this will take place?

TT- Do not measure God’s love for you by how comfortable you are, instead, measure God’s love by how much of Himself He gives you.

As God’s people, we will someday be glorified and be able to stand in the presence of God…He will give us all of Himself and we will be eternally loved.

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