Summary: 7 Ways Jesus is the best friend you could ever have.
I hope you have enjoyed our celebration thus far but there’s one more part of the celebration we want to observe – and that is – reading about the resurrection from the Word of God, the Bible.
Central to the message of Easter is the story of the resurrection of Christ from the grave. But this Easter we’re going to back track in the life of Christ and tell the story of someone else Jesus resurrected before His own death and resurrection. We’re going to do this because we need to see that Easter, and the resurrection of Jesus, is about all of us. Jesus rose from the dead because He wants every one of us to have eternal life.
The man whom Jesus resurrected in the Scripture we’re going to read from today was named Lazarus and the Bible says he was a friend of Jesus. I want to talk to you today about Jesus being your friend.
Jesus wants to be your friend - but of course, friendship is a two-way street so you have to make a decision on whether or not you want to be Jesus’ friend. Lazarus had made that decision and from a chapter in his life I want you to see
7 Ways Jesus is the Best Friend You Could Ever Have
The first way Jesus is the best friend you could ever have is
1 – He wants to perfect you – not pamper you.
Like any good friend, Jesus wants you to be the "best you" that you can possibly be. A good friend doesn’t just think of your short-term success; he or she thinks of your long-term happiness. Let me show you what I’m talking about by beginning our narrative.
John 11:1-2 (CEV) A man by the name of Lazarus was sick in the village of Bethany. He had two sisters, Mary and Martha. This was the same Mary who later poured perfume on the Lord’s head and wiped his feet with her hair. 3The sisters sent a message to the Lord and told him that his good friend Lazarus was sick.
4When Jesus heard this, he said, "His sickness won’t end in death. It will bring glory to God and his Son."
If Jesus loved Lazarus so much, why did he let him get sick? And of course, he died. Jesus didn’t say that Lazarus wouldn’t die – He simply said that death wouldn’t be the end! That’s some great news we’ll get to in a few minutes. But the question for now is, "Why did Jesus let His good friend Lazarus get sick and die?"
Have you ever asked, "Why does God allow suffering and injustice, pain and sorrow? If God is a God of love why do bad things happen to good people?" Have you questioned God and said, "God, If you love me, why have you allowed bad things to happen to me?"
Yes, Jesus could have prevented "his good friend Lazarus" from getting sick. He could even have healed him from where He was. But He deliberately chose not to. Jesus had something even better for his good friend!
Jesus used the resurrection of Lazarus from death as concrete evidence that there is life after death! He used this miracle to prove that death is not the end of it all, that, if you, like Lazarus, will place your faith in Him, you will have abundant life here on earth and eternal life forever with God in heaven!
Here’s an illustration from nature. You’ve probably always figured that a possum was a dumb animal. You hardly ever see one except when its dead on the road. There’s a joke that goes, "Why did the chicken cross the road? To show the possum that it could be done."
But in spite of the bad press, possums actually are smart, at least in one area. Did you know that a possum won’t go into a hole in the ground if there’s only one set of tracks outside the hole? They know that something is still in there. But if there’s a set of tracks leading in and another set of tracks leading back out, the possum isn’t afraid to enter the hole.
The message of Easter is that we can enter the grave - we don’t have to fear death because not only are there a set of tracks heading into Jesus’ tomb - but there is also a set of tracks heading back out!
Sickness and death were bad things to happen to Lazarus and his family - but resurrection was a better thing!
The second way this story illustrates that Jesus is the best friend you could ever have is
2 – He laid His life on the line for you.
5Jesus loved Martha and her sister and brother. 6But he stayed where he was for two more days. 7Then he said to his disciples, "Now we will go back to Judea."