Summary: How can we get the help we need in the hard times of life? 1. Go to God (vs. 17-20). 2. Listen to the Lord (vs. 21-26). 3. Rely on the Lord's resurrection (vs. 26-27).
God's Help in the Hard Times of Life
The Gospel of John
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - April 12, 2017
(Revised November 26, 2019)
*Please open your Bibles to John 11 as we continue to look at the wonderful story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Our main focus tonight will be on Lazarus’ sister Martha.
*Lazarus, Martha and their sister Mary were all very close to Jesus, but vs. 1 tells us that Lazarus was sick, and we know that he was very sick. In fact, Lazarus was just about to die, so Mary and Martha sent someone to tells Jesus. Verses 3-6 say:
3. Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, "Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.''
4. When Jesus heard that, He said, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.''
5. Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
6. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was.
*Then in vs. 7, Jesus said to the disciples, "Let us go to Judea again.'' By this time it was a few months before the cross, and extremely dangerous for Jesus to return to Judea. That's because the city of Jerusalem and most of the leaders who wanted to kill Jesus were in Judea. And that's why in vs. 8 the disciples said to Jesus, "Rabbi, lately the Jews sought to stone You, and are You going there again?'' This is also why in vs. 16, Thomas told the other disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with Him.''
*It was very dangerous for the Lord to return to Judea, and Jesus delayed two more days. But Jesus did not delay because He was afraid. No -- The Lord delayed for the glory of God. He delayed because He loved Lazarus and his sisters. Jesus also delayed because He knew that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. And He delayed because He wanted US to know that He has the power over death.
*With this background in mind, let's read vs. 16-27. And as we read, please think about God's help in the hard times of life.
*Mary and Martha were going through one of the hardest times we ever have to go through in life. How can we get the help we need in times like that? In tonight's Scripture, Martha shows us the most important things we can do.
2. FIRST: WE MUST GO TO GOD.
*We must be like Martha in vs. 17-20:
17. So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days.
18. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away.
19. And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.
20. Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house.
*Now, there's nothing against Mary here in vs. 20. Verses 28-29 show us that most likely, Mary didn't yet know that Jesus was near:
28. And when (Martha) had said these things, she went her way and secretly called Mary her sister, saying, "The Teacher has come and is calling for you.''
29. As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to Him.
*Both of these ladies teach us that we must go to God as soon as we can. The truth is that it's always a good time to go to the Lord, and Christians: Thank God we can! But we especially need to go to God in the hard times.
*On reason why is because of our limits. We all have limits in life. Sure, there is often a lot we can do, but there's only so much we can do. When we're young and maybe a little smart or rich, good looking or athletic, or extra talented in some way, we may feel like we don't need God. It's that "sky's the limit," I can do anything I set my mind to" frame of mind. That's true especially if we are go-getters, and Martha was.
*God gives us a snapshot of her life starting in Luke 10:38, and there God's Word says, "Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house." (By the way: If you're wondering how Mary, Martha and Lazarus got so close to Jesus, Luke 10:38 is the key. "Martha welcomed Jesus into her house," and that is always an excellent thing for us to do.)
*But think about Martha in Luke 10:38-42: