Summary: Funeral sermon based on John 11 where Martha goes to meet Jesus.
17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” – ESV
INTRO: I want you to travel back in time with me. Let us go back nearly 2,000 years to the time and land of Jesus Christ. There was a little village name Bethany, not too far from Jerusalem. The customs were different from our own and the language they spoke would be foreign to us, but the events of that day were the same as this one. Times of grief and of sorrow are universal. Every man and woman in every tribe on this planet can identify with what we are doing here today. Our custom, as it was in the time of Jesus, was for family and friends to come and visit the family of the deceased. Just as you have come today to offer words of encouragement and hope to this family, so too the Jews traveled to the home of Mary and Martha to comfort them in the loss of Lazarus. Yet, in the story of Lazarus’ death found in the Gospel of John, chapter 11, I find an interesting note. READ PASSAGE
[Let me read vs. 20 once again.] Martha, although the custom was for people to come and comfort her, did not wait for Jesus to arrive at the house. The Bible tells us that she went out, I like to think of her running out, to meet Jesus as he entered the town and still on the road. This was not customary in the time of Jesus. Yet, I believe we can learn from Martha and find comfort in her example as she went to Jesus in her time of grief.
Now, if we were like her sister Mary, we would want to ask her later in a more quiet moment, “Why did you do that?” Why did you leave Mary at the house alone to speak to all the family, neighbors and friends and rush out to meet Jesus? Based on the rest of the story I think we can put together Martha’s response.
She might would say, “I went to Jesus because….
1. He has power over sickness and disease. (vs. 21)
2. He has all authority over life and death. (vs. 22)
3. He is comforting. (vs.23-24)
4. He is truly life itself. (vs. 25-26)
5. He is my only hope and my salvation. (vs.27)
CONCL: If at this time I can offer any comfort to you, it is with the comfort I have found for times like these and that is, go to Jesus. As you have already heard in this passage, I want to close by asking you the question that Jesus asked Martha that day years ago as she grieved her brother, “Do you believe this?” If so, then you will find comfort in knowing Jesus Christ. If not, then I urge you in the light of reality that all of us will come to this point in our own life, listen to the truth. We will all come to the end. We all face the grave. Yet, Jesus even today is still saying, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” I urge you to call on Jesus and go to him and receive the promise of the forgiveness of your sins and the joy of abundant and eternal life.