Life, Death, & Glory: The Resurrection and the Life
Life, Death, & Glory: The Resurrection and the Life
Resurrection; Life; Death; Pain; Reputation; Promise
John 11; John 11:1–44
You may wonder why I chose the Gospel of John. I did b/c John tells the gospel with a particularly unique point of view. John was one of Jesus’s closest disciples. He was an insider. He tells us stories and accounts of Jesus’s life that the other Gospel writers don’t tell us. But not only is his story unique, he tells it in a unique way. John writes to show us the humanity of Jesus the Son of God, the King of Kings.
The Gospel covers 3 years, but actually only touches on about 30 days out of the 3 years. So far, in the first 10 chapters we have covered those 3 years. Now for the rest of the Gospel we are going to focus on the last week.
He does this by building the story of Jesus around 7 miracles… signs as they are known. Signs because each one points to a different reality of Jesus’s ministry and nature.
a. Water to wine 2:1-11
b. Healing officials son 4:46-54
c. Healing lame man 5:1-18
d. Feeding 5000 6:1-15
e. Walking on water 6:16-21
f. Healing blind man 9:1-41
g. Raising Lazarus 11:1-37
Also around 7 unique claims Jesus makes about himself called “I am” statements. So far we have looked at:
1. I AM the bread of life 6:35–40
2. I AM the light of the world 8:12–13
3. I AM the gate [door] for the sheep 10:7–10
4. I AM the good shepherd 10:11–18
5. I AM the resurrection and the life 11:17–27
Today we pick up our story at a time when Jesus’s public ministry is coming to an end. He has just been run out of Jerusalem after he healed a man born blind. The leaders of the temple were seeking to have him killed as his “I am the good shepherd” statement was understood as his claiming to be God.
Today and over the next couple of weeks we are going to look to learn from Jesus’s approach to life, death, and the glory that come from them.
Several funerals this week for friends and family of friends. Each one was powerful in it’s own way. Mrs Betty was an artist with a gentle spirit; another was a great father who was all about everything his kids were about; the other was a wife and mom who was an amazing musician and business owner. Each one told a story of the person’s life and how their life connected to Christ’s.
That’s what makes a funeral unique because this makes you think about life and death. They also are important because it’s an occasion to stop and think about what we remember about people, either the person who died, or those we love who are still alive.
We think of our parents, whether they are still alive or not. If you are married, you can’t help but think of your spouse. If you have kids, you can’t help but think of them. You think of your siblings. It’s even an occasion to think of your own life.
I’m no different.
I got to thinking about my own funeral… I got thinking what might be said about me… what words might be spoken about me… Husband, father, follower of Jesus, pastor, coach… some other words might be used but I’m not asking you to share.
What struck me was something that was talked about at all of them, but explicitly at Mrs Betty’s… Mrs Betty had shared that she wished she had spent more time painting. Spent more time doing the very thing that we all appreciated so much from her. Her artistic gift.
Aspiration vs. Actuality
This made me wonder, if what we remember most about people is what they wanted us to remember about them when they were gone.
I have a list of things I want to be known for. So far I have a list of 7 things that I want to be remembered for. Do you know what you want to be known for? Now I could get business cards or shirts printed with these on it; but that wouldn’t really work. Attending these funerals lately has reminded me that the only way to be known for these things when I’m gone is to live this out today.
Resolutions…. Aspirations are like New year resolutions. Things we hope to do, hope to become. But we all know they don’t happen unless we do something about them.
I need to live these qualities out now, so people will remember me that way later. Im not making a resolution, instead I’m doing something Michelle and I have done the last few years… take a word for the year and focus on it, study it, apply it.
My word for the year 2020 is NOW.
This may sound great, but this is still about my aspiring to be something in the future. This isn’t actually true about me… yet.
That’s great pastor, but what does this have to do with Jesus? Great question.
John wrote to tell us who Jesus actually was, the son of God.
Jesus didn’t leave it to us to figure out. He told us exactly who he wanted us to know he was.
This wasn’t who Jesus wanted to become, it’s who he was:
When he fed the 5000, he declared I AM the bread of life 6:35–40
When he healed a blind man, he declared I AM the light of the world 8:12–13
These miracles weren’t just miracles, these were signs of Emmanuel, God with us.
Today we look at another one of Jesus’s signs and proclamations.
But I encourage you to spend some time thinking about how you want to be remembered. Generous? Forgiving? Encouraging? Loving? Faithful? Servant?
Are you becoming that person today?
Maybe take one and make it your word of the year… just an idea.
Remember Jesus has just left Jerusalem and had gone a few miles away to escape those who were trying to kill him. That’s gives context to the disciples reaction to the news of Lazarus.
John 11:3–8 NIV
3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” 4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” 8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”
Jesus knew right away what he was going to do. “this sickness will not end in death… but in God’s glory.”
Not only did Jesus know what he was about to do, but he knew the outcome. The disciples had an idea of what was about happen as well. They were about to get killed.
Jesus responds… in v10, we have work to do guys…then in v11, ”our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”
John 11:12 NIV
12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.”
They took Jesus literally. So Jesus said, no he is dead.
John 11:16 ESV
16 So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
If you know the rest of the Gospel, you know that in a few days Jesus will be tried, convicted, and crucified and throughout all that, his disciples weren’t there out of fear. Even though they began with this sort of courage. We will see this play out in the messages to come I’m sure.
So Jesus heads on his way and is confronted by Martha. Martha who was the dutiful one.
You remember the story of Martha and Mary, Martha cooking and cleaning while Mary is in there just listening to Jesus. Martha calls out, Jesus send Mary in here to help. Jesus answers, what Mary is doing is more important than dishes or cooking.
Martha learned her lesson… she leaves the house, leaves company, and goes to meet Jesus… pursuing the more important things.
John 11:21–22 NIV
21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
No Jesus, glad you are here. She goes right in with the question that we all would ask at that time if we were in her shoes.
Why did you let this happen?
We have been in her shoes haven’t we? And I’ll bet you did just what she did.
Why did this happen?
Why weren’t you here?
Why didn’t you stop this?
Similar to Job.
After his friends have done nothing but condemn him, and his wife tells him to curse God and die, Job cracks. He says, “Oh, that I had one to hear me! Here is my signature. Let the Almighty answer me! Oh that I had the indictment written by my adversary.” What did I do wrong!
God’s response then to Job’s suffering and questioning… I am God.
Jesus’s response to Martha.
John 11:25–26 NIV
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Not “do you understand” this…. but “do you believe” this?
Our hope isn’t based on a chance at a miracle. Or some aspirational concept. or spiritual platitude.
Our hope is based on an actual truth; ACTUAL truth. Jesus is the Resurrection and the life.
Not one day, but now. Do you believe this?
BACK TO THE STORY
John 11:27 NIV
27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
This is what John wants us to know as well.
Mary comes and falls at his feet again with the same issue as Martha.
If you had been here my brother wouldn’t have died.
Then something powerful happens.
John 11:33–35 NIV
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. 35 Jesus wept.
“Deeply moved” = ANGRY… just anger
Why was Jesus Angry?
Jesus wasn’t angry that Lazarus had died. He was angry at death and the pain it caused.
We were created for eternity… sin has brought us death… sin separates us from God’s purpose for our lives… the reason we were created… life… and that makes Jesus Angry.
John 11:40 NIV
40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
What does it take? Belief.
Belief in his promises… Belief in who Jesus said he is. Not in who you want him to be, who you hope he might be, but in who he is.
Belief in Him leads to life eternal.
Seeing a movie for a 2nd or 3rd time is different. Even scary or suspenseful movies… unless you are my wife. She hides at the scary parts no matter how many times she’s seen it.
But for most of us, we can watch it, knowing how it all happens.
Resurrection and the life…. In Jesus it starts now
Hope for our future with God brings the future into the present.
Christians criticism as being otherworldly…always thinking about heaven… some place else… we straddle both, one foot in future, one in present
Every member of our church, having experienced the real presence and power of God, will be moving out of our churches and into ministry in our community, that we might see God glorified in the homes and lives of our neighbors who without faith too easily slip and fall into a cycle of hopelessness.
Our goal is that every person who calls this place home will know the hope of having their future secure in Jesus. Knowing that will move each one of us to be in ministry in our community… because it is our goal to touch every life in our community.
Your pastor can’t do this, our leaders can’t do this, you can’t do this to be honest.
But Christ working through us… he can do this.
He is the resurrection and the life.
Do you believe this?