3 Weeks to Easter
· Rez Sunday
· Center of Church year
· Center of TIME
· Great things planned – human video – specials – invite friends
This is the time of the year where we look at the road to the cross
· Jesus’ life told a story
· A story bigger than just what happened
· It told the story of the Father’s love
We’re going to pick up today in John 11
Important story that led to the cross
Back story: Lazarus/Mary/Martha Part of Jesus’ followers
· Jesus Loved this family
· They loved Jesus
· Obviously, they had followed his ministry
· I’m sure – seen Him do miracles
· Heard Him preach
· Were captivated by His teaching
· As we read their story, OBVIOUS that they had come to believe He was the Promised One – Messiah
· Not only had they found the VERY ONE all Israel had been waiting for – but He was their FRIEND
· Can you imagine the sense of fulfillment? Hope?
· “I’m on the frong line – cutting edge
· I have a front row seat to the greatest party in the universe!
But Jesus was leading all his friends – and all His disciples
· On a “Journey to the Cross”
· His life message Pointed to the Father – to be restored to relationship with the Father
· They saw it in the miracles – it thrilled them – they couldn’t believe their eyes
· They saw the Father’s love expressed in miracles before them
· They heard it in the words – it was like beyond their imagination!
· They could hardly believe this holy God they heard about wanted to know them INTIMATELY – as Father – Abba – It was beyond comprehension!
· They were disarmed by His love – and captivated and challenged by the truth He spoke
But Jesus knew the ONLY way this Message of Meeting the Father could be completed
· Was to go to the cross
· And THAT part of the message is always a test for us.
Honeymoon period of relationship with Jesus
· Forgiveness/hope is a wonderful thing
· But this NEXT level of relationship would involve facing a test.
And Lazarus, Mary and Martha all were about to face the biggest test to date in their relationship with Jesus
1. Test of Timing 1-7
• Mary was moving towards a deeper level of worship
• Mary/Martha story
• Lazarus sick
· This is the one you love
· Jesus WE HAVE A PLAN for YOUR life!
· Hurry up!
· Jesus isn’t our servant/wind up doll – slave
· He is LORD
• Jesus stayed a couple days -- divine TIMING
· Timing Key:
o What happens premature? SOUR
o What happens too late? Rotten!
o Perfect time: FULLNESS of time – Sweet/best
· Why wasn’t Jesus there?
o Ever wonder that one yourself?
o Where’s Jesus? WHY is He doing this?
o Didn’t you hear wha’ts going on?
o Doubt his heart for you
o Does He love me or has He forgotten me?
o Though you slay me, yet I will trust You – God noticed THAT kind of heart for Him
o “Lord, this feels uncomfortable, but I’m going to trust you.”
2. Test of Unanswered Prayers
· Verse 11
• Glad wasn’t there
• Inference: if Jesus WAS there – Lazarus would have died anyway
• Jesus was ‛glad for THEIR sake’ that He wasn’t there
• It would have been a greater test for them.
· BEHIND the answers God is always doing something BIGGER
· In EVERYTHING God is at work for Good
· Will you believe for it – trust HIS motives for You?
Often – need to repent of unbelief
· God, I’m sorry that I didn’t believe YOU were truly working for my good
· I’m sorry I doubted that You love me even in the midst of the pain – the storm
Disciples didn’t know HOW to interprate unanswered prayers
· We’re in Good company!
· “Let’s Die with Jesus”
o We totally misinterpret unanswered prayer
o Core Lie of Enemy: God is not REALLY Good
o God doesn’t love me
o From the Garden
o So glad Jesus is still working
• Picture of how fragile their beginning faith was. Us!
3. Martha’s Encounter 17-22
· Martha’s Petition
· “Jesus, I had a plan for Your life – but you MISSED it!”
· But You can FIX it
· Declaration of Faith
4. It’s ME, Martha – I am the Rez and the Life 24-25
• They are given eternal life for believing in me
• I am the resurrection and the life.
· ‘I’m painting a picture here, Martha’
· I am LIFE
· I want you to KNOW that
· I want EVERYONE to know that
· It’s me you’re looking for
· Believe in ME
Lot of people believe about Jesus
· Different to believe IN Him
· Don’t know if you believe In unless tested
· Testing Proves heart . . . . (Humble thee to prove thee – to know what is in thine heart)
• The test of death -- do you still believe in ME?
5. Mary’s Encounter
· We all need our OWN encounter in our pain
· Different encounter – different heart
· Couldn’t depend on Martha’s
· Had to meet Him herself
· Pour out heart
· Don’t let someone else pour out for you
· Run for your own encounter
V32 “Lord If you had been here my brother would have not died”
· Jesus not afraid of the pain in our heart
· The tough Q’s
· Never Backs Down
6. Jesus’ Response 33-35
How Does Jesus Respond?
· DIDN’T defend!
· Not worried about defending Himself
· Jesus the most secure person in the world
· But He FELT the pain they were facing
How does He respond?
· Steps IN to the pain WITH them
· Love that about Jesus – steps Into our pain
• Jesus’ compassion -- heart for them.
• Jesus wept -- experienced/identified with the pain of death. Empathy -- the Father heart of God.
V 36They saw His heart
· Felt Heart of the Father
· Everything Jesus did mirrored the Father
· What was God saying?
· Shortest VERSE Shows the DEEPEST LOVE
· God so loved the world . . .
V37 Not all impressed
· Honesty of Bible – Real people
38a Deeply troubled
· Why? Comment on v 37
· They didn’t get it/understand
· Bigger picture
· One thing – everyone wanted healing
· Jesus knew Healing temporary fix
· All healed eventually died
· Healing just a picture of bigger work that was coming
· Cross permanent
· His return
· All Healed/death no more
Imagine – God of Universe
· Never intended death
· Every day walked around
· The very children who had been robbed/kidnapped
· Held hostage for centuries
· Daily death/pain
· As He looked at death, I wouldn’t be surprised if the sad/harsh reality gripped him in His grief
· ‘They don’t know – they don’t know – Passion Movie
· Especially Sin/Separation
· I am life
· I am here to berak the power of death
· Something needed to be DONE
· Enough of this
· I am the Resurrection and the Life
38b • Roll away the stone
• Jesus had to go the place of death
· But Lord He stinks
· “I don’t want to go there, Lord . . .”
Letting Him Walk into the ‘Smelly Places’ of our lives
7. They had to answer the Question: Will we let Jesus walk IN to the ‛smelly places’ of our lives?
• Will we ‛roll away the stone’
• But that dream died
• But I blew
v 40: Didn’t I tel you that you will SEE God’s glory if you believe?”
• Do you Believe in Me?
o Remember Martha – I am the Resurrection – I am LIFE
· When we BELIEVE -- we will see God’s glory
• Think about the fear issues in my heart -- when I quit believing.
Believe in ME
8. He Comes to our Grave
• BELIEVING -- then I SEE God’s glory.
• Goodness of the Lord in the Land of the living.
9. Come OUT 41-43
· Jesus comes to us in smelly places
· Father – HEAR us
· Fullness of time
· When Lazarus was RIPE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
a. Sometimes God waits until we smell!
· Calls us to come out
· Step out –
· Calls into the places of death
· Come away from it
· Step out of it
· Jesus is calling to some of you
· Place of wounding
· Unanswered prayer
a. We’re capped in a tomb so long that we SMELL!
· Broken dream – I really had faith and took a risk before – but I was disappointed
Come OUT of this
10. You have to walk out of grave
· Not a smooth affair
· Can’t look ‘cool’
· Imagine Lazarus – bound in grave clothes
· Hard to follow the voice
· You have to walk out of grave
Jesus calls to us
· Come out of that death cycle
· Maybe it’s a sin cycle
· Been living in it – grave clothes binding you long enough
· Jesus outside this tomb
· Come out
Walking out of your grave
11. Unwrap him!
a. Jesus didn’t unwrap him
b. Lazarus didn’t
c. Someone ELSE had to unbind him
• We need to be unwrapped by others
• WE can be Walking around with our grave clothes on still bound up
Need To live FREE
Need others – unbound
• Need to take OFF those grave clothes -- put ON the robes of righteousness -- the LIFE.
That’s why body/team/family
Last night praying with Nancy
· Ministered song
· Took off grave clothes
· Started to walk free
· Today – some of you – words in this sermon peeling grave clothes off
Need to walk free
Follow the Voice
Believe in Me
I am rez – I am life
Jesus saying Believe in Me
Who are you going to be by the grave
Martha who still believed – or crowd who criticized?
Those who see the tender heart and drink it in
· They had a deep revelations of Jesus that day
· Those who criticized – didn’t choose faith/trust – didn’t
Jesus calling to your grave – come out – be unbound!