Summary: God's the most punctual person in the universe! The time of a sunrise can be calculated a thousand years from now to a milli-second! How strange and contradictory it is then, to find God being late.
4 DAYS LATE, BUT RIGHT ON TIME!
A. HUMOR: Super Granny
1. An elderly lady after shopping, returned to her car and found 4 young men in the act of leaving with her car. She dropped her shopping bags and drew her handgun, proceeding to scream at them at the top of her voice, "I have a gun and I know how to use it! Get out of the car you dirty rotten scoundrels!"
2. The 4 men didn't wait for a second invitation but got out and ran like mad, whereupon the lady, somewhat shaken, proceeded to load her shopping bags into the back of the car and get into the driver's seat.
3. She discovered her keys wouldn’t fit into the ignition; then it dawned on her why. A few minutes later she found her own car parked four or five spaces farther down. She loaded her bags into her car and drove to the police station.
4. The sergeant behind the desk broke into laughter when she told her story and pointed to the other end of the counter, where four pale white males were reporting a car jacking by a mad elderly woman described as white, less than 5' tall, glasses, and curly white hair carrying a large handgun.
5. No charges were filed. (True story!)
1 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 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.” 11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” 12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. 14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 39 “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” 40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” Jn 11:1-7,11-15,39-40.
1. I’m a person who always believes in being punctual. Being late is a bad thing with me. My dad always said, “Better an hour early than 5 minutes late.”
2. Trains and planes leave at appointed times. Connecting flights are dependent on the earlier flights being on time. Delays or cancellations cause big problems for people.
3. But by far the most punctual person in the universe is God! He set up the galaxies and our solar system like giant time pieces, run with precision. The time of the sunrise – a thousand years from now – can be calculated to a milli-second!
4. How strange and contradictory it is then, to find God being late! God – all-knowing and all powerful – how can He not be on time? Yet, it’s true!
5. He was 25 years late getting Abraham a son; 15 years late fulfilling Joseph’s dreams; 17 years late making David to become king; Samuel was late to make sacrifice for Saul, and a good number of other instances!
6. And tonight we find God being so late to heal a man that he even missed his funeral by 4 days! Yet we’ll find out, God may be “4 Days Late, But He’s Right On Time!”
I. JESUS & THE FAMILY AT BETHANY
A. THE SITUATION OF LAZARUS
1. You remember the 2 sisters from Luke 10, where Martha slaved over a meal and Mary just wanted to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to His words. Mary was also the one who anointed Jesus for His burial (John 12:3).
2. Their brother Lazarus’ name means “assistance of God”, pointing to the fact that, no matter what our circumstance, we all need God’s help!
3. He lived in the town of Bethany which means, “the house of unripe figs or the house of misery.” (Unger)