Summary: The Lazarus story from a slightly different perspective. It asks the question "how do we respond when God doesn’t show up in time." Mary and Martha demonstrate the true nature of faith.
Paonia United Methodist Church
March 13, 2005
Over the last several weeks,
We have covered some really difficult texts.
That’s what lent is all about.
If you haven’t heard something that has disturbed or upset you,
Than I either have not been doing my job, or you haven’t been paying attention.
Lent is about encountering sin.
Its about focusing on those parts of us we would really
Rather not deal with.
Over the last few weeks,
For those of you who have stuck it out,
We heard about Nick at Night,
The great religious leader who should have had all the answers
But was completely clueless.
We were pushed to confess that we are clueless as well when
We rely on our own knowledge and our own abilities.
To truly see, we must be born from above.
The following week,
We followed along and had a random encounter with a woman
By the well.
When she met the Christ,
She decided to debate him rather than to simply obey.
We were asked to examine ourselves.
How often to I do the same thing?
What would life look like if I were to simply trust
Last week we met a man born blind.
Strangely enough, as the story progressed and this man was healed,
We find that the ones in the story who claim to be able to see the truth
Are blind, and the one who was blind in given sight.
We reexamined those places in our life that denial and blindness about our own
Sinfulness separates us from God and one another.
That denial we live in is at the expense of others and our own
Relationship with God.
I also told you that you are not special.
We all are bound to certain laws and codes within the universe
As well as in our particular faith.
There are no exceptions.
I suspect that might not have sat well with some…
I am glad to see that you came back this morning.
That’s a hard lesson to hear.
It was a hard one to give.
Like I said,
If you haven’t found yourself in here somewhere,
You either haven’t been here, you haven’t been listening,
Or you are still in serious denial.
Well, this morning, if you are feeling a bit bruised, you will find that you are
In good company.
Not only will you find yourself in the company with others
Who are feeling worked over by Christ’s teaching,
But you will also get a good reminder about
What this whole discipleship thing is all about.
The Gospel lesson today comes from a group of people
Who are also not particularly happy with Jesus and his pastoral care either.
Like the last two weeks, it is kind of a long story.
So, I ask you to sit back, and listen in as if you were there
What would you be feeling?
What would you be thinking?
How would you respond?
Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 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. So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
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.” Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.
Then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
“But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?”
Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light.”
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.”
His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.