Summary: Regardless of how bad your situation might be, Jesus can take death and turn it into life.
March 19, 2000 John 11
How many of you in this room have ever had to deal with the death of someone who was close to you? Go ahead and raise your hands. I became acquainted with death at a very young age. I don¡¦t remember very much about my childhood, but I remember the day that my mom came into the house crying. I had never seen her crying before, at least not like that. She was weeping. I was told later that my dad had died while in the hospital. I was 5 years old. A few years later, my mom called my sister, my brother and me into the living room, sat us down on the couch and told us that my granddad would probably not be coming home from the hospital. He died when I was about 12 years old. About a year after Tammy and I got married, she became pregnant for the first time. We were both so happy about the idea that we would soon have a child of our own. But not far into the pregnancy, Tammy had a miscarriage. Death is a hard thing to have to deal with.
When Tammy and I lived in SC, there was a graveyard in our backyard. Every morning, when I would walk to my office at the church, I would pass by those grave stones or pass through them. There were stones that marked the graves of persons who had died in the Civil War. There were husbands and wives who were buried side by side. One grave that always caught my attention and saddened me was a small plot. The birth date and the death date were the same. Regardless of how long you live, the death of someone who means the world to you and eventually your own death are coming. Death is a hard thing to deal with, but it is something that you can not get away from.
Whether or not you have ever experienced the death of someone who was close to you, I would suggest that everyone here has experienced death. Maybe it was the death of a dream, or the death of a plan, or the death of hope. This morning, as we look at another encounter between Jesus and hurting people, I want you to understand this: no matter how impossible or desperate the situation that you may be facing, Jesus is able to bring life to the death that is in your life right now.
Turn with me to John 11.
1. Jesus calls us to walk through the valley of death with Him. (John 11:1-16)
„« Lazarus and his family (vs. 1-6)
God¡¦s refusal to act in your way and on your timetable does not contradict the overwhelming evidence that He loves you. God¡¦s love caused Him to give us what we need not necessarily what we want. The love between Jesus and this family was never in question. It should never be in question in our lives.
Having a relationship with Jesus, even a strong relationship, does not shield you from suffering.
„« Jesus¡¦ disciples (vs. 7- 16)
(Mat 10:37-39 NIV) "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
(Gal 2:20 NIV) I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
NOTE: Anyone who refuses to walk through the valley of death with Jesus will miss out on the display of His glory. It is more important that God receive glory than it is that we receive comfort. But that does not mean that He doesn¡¦t offer us comfort.
2. Jesus calls us to accept His comfort when it looks like life is over. (John 11:17-37)
„« From our faith (vs. 17-27)
Power of Jesus¡¦ prayer
The resurrection at the last day - the life that Jesus offers is not just for somewhere in the future. It is for today.
Jesus is the Savior
„« From His presence in our pain (vs. 28-37) It was Jesus¡¦ presence that M & M doubted. But in reality, Jesus was right there with them all the time. Jesus knew that He was about to raise Lazarus, so why did Jesus cry?
He hurt because someone He loved hurt ¡V parent hurts with a child who has a skinned knee even though they know that the pain will quickly subside