Sermons

Summary: He is the God who can make your impossible possible!

Grave Robber

Text: John 11:17-44

Introduction

1. For nearly thirty years, the One who had crafted the universe with His voice crafted furniture with His hands. And He was good at what He did ”no crooked table legs ever came out of the carpenter’s shop in Nazareth. But Jesus was more than a master carpenter. He was also God incognito. His miraculous powers rank as history’s best-kept secret for nearly three decades, but all that changed the day water blushed in the face of its Creator. That was the day the wood bender became a water bender. Jesus manipulated the molecular structure of water and turned it into wine - 757 bottles, no less. And nothing but the best. This wasn’t just wine, it was fine wine.

2. Thirty-four distinct miracles are recorded in the Gospels, while countless more went unrecorded. John’s Gospel spotlights seven miracles, unveiling seven dimensions of Jesus’s miraculous power.

A. In John chapter 2, the miracles begin with Jesus turning water into wine.

B. In John chapter 4, Jesus heals a nobleman's son long distance, revealing His lordship over latitude and longitude.

C. Then, in John chapter 5, He reveals His mastery over chronology, reversing thirty-eight years of pain and suffering with one command.

D. In John chapter 6, Jesus feeds five thousand with five loaves and two fish. In God's kingdom, 5 + 2 doesn't equal 7.

E. His encore is waltzing across the waves on the Sea of Galilee.

F. In John chapter 9, there is more to the miracle than meets the eye. Jesus doesn't just heal a blind man's eyes; He hardwires a blind man's brain by creating a synaptic pathway between his optic nerve and visual cortex.

G. And just when you think you've seen it all, the Grave Robber turns a tomb into a waiting room. Lazarus is four days dead when Jesus calls him to come out. That miracle foreshadows His own death and resurrection.

3. The seven miracles in John's Gospel are seven signs, and each sign points straight to Jesus. So let me offer a word of caution: Don't seek miracles. Seek Jesus. If you follow Jesus long enough and far enough, you'll eventually find yourself in the middle of some miracles.

A. Everyone wants a miracle. But here's the catch: No one wants to be in a situation that necessitates one!

B. Of course, you can't have one without the other. The prerequisite for a miracle is a problem, and the bigger the problem, the greater the potential miracle.

C. If the wedding party in Cana hadn't run out of wine, there would have been no need for the Wine Maker to do what He did.

D. What the bride and groom perceived as a problem was really a perfect opportunity for God to reveal His glory.

E. And nothing has changed since Jesus turned water into wine, healed a man born blind, or walked out of the tomb three days after His crucifixion.

4. The resurrection of Lazarus teaches us is that Jesus has...

A. Power Over Time

B. Power Over Death

C. Power Over Chains

5. Let's stand together as we read John 11:17-44

Proposition: He is the God who can make your impossible possible!

Transition: First Jesus has the...

I. Power Over Time (17-22).

A. If Only You Had Been Here

1. Let me set the scene for you. Jesus receives a message that his good friend Lazarus is seriously ill, and it is requested that he come at once. However, instead of dropping everything and coming to the rescue Jesus waits two days before heading to Bethany, where Lazarus, Mary and Martha live.

2. John tells us, "When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days."

A. We have no description of the journey. John simply tells us that when Jesus arrived he found that Lazarus had already been buried for four days.

B. We do not know how long before that he died, but probably not long because, remember this was the ancient Middle East and they didn't have the same technology and science like we do today.

C. The four days may be significant. There was a Jewish belief that the soul stays near the grave for three days, hoping to be able to return to the body.

D. But on the fourth day it sees decomposition setting in and leaves it finally.

E. If this view was as early as the time of which we are thinking it will mean that a time had been reached when the only hope for Lazarus was a divine act of power (Morris, The New International Commentary on the New Testament – The Gospel According to John, 484).

3. Then John tells us, "Bethany was only a few miles down the road from Jerusalem, 19 and many of the people had come to console Martha and Mary in their loss."

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