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.

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John 11:1-45

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

and obey?

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

That day.

What would you be feeling?

What would you be thinking?

How would you respond?

John 11

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.

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