Summary: Brief message for a memorial service at a funeral home.
Hope in Jesus
On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
21 "Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask."
23 Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again."
24 Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."
25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
27 "Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world."
Here we are in the Christmas season, where we celebrate the coming of Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world, by such a miraculous way.
God chose a young virgin girl, engaged to a modest carpenter, and this baby, this Savior would forever change history.
Jesus didn’t stay in the manger, though. He grew up to be a man who found favor with God and people.
And Jesus is the embodiment of all the good that God has for us. And one of the good things He has for us is in this passage.
In this passage, which most of us are familiar with, we find Jesus on His way to perform one of His most famous miracles, the raising of Lazarus.
No one but Jesus knew what was going to happen when He came, and that sets the stage for what we just read.
But what I want to do with this episode in Jesus’ life is point out two things we can learn about the Savior.
First, we see in these verses that...
Jesus allowed their grief.
When Martha came to Jesus she said that if He had been around while Lazarus was sick, he wouldn’t have died.
And what was Jesus’ response? "Your brother will rise again." He didn’t say, "Your grief is misplaced," and He didn’t say, "Look, it’s time to move on," and He didn’t say, "Get over it."
He didn’t say, "Well you know, real men don’t cry." He didn’t say, "Real spiritual people don’t feel the pain of loss."
Both Martha and later Mary in a sense blamed Jesus for not preventing Lazarus’ death.
But Jesus didn’t get after them for that. He understood their grief. In verse 5 of this same chapter it says that Jesus loved Lazarus.
The Bible says that the Savior would be "a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief."
He felt their pain, and experienced it with them. Dr. Philip Brand, when asked, "Where is God when I’m hurting?" responded, "In you, the one hurting, not the thing that did the hurting."
Jesus allowed their grief. And He allows yours and mine. But more than just "permission" to grieve, He offers something that ultimately only He can give.
Jesus offered them hope.
Notice Jesus said that Lazarus would rise again, and that Jesus, Himself would be the agent of that resurrection.
Martha thought Jesus was speaking about the final resurrection, and she was partly right. She didn’t understand that Jesus was just about to display the fact that He has power over death.
But listen again to these words of Jesus -
"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die."
Just a few minutes later, Jesus would demonstrate that in the life of Lazarus, but He wasn’t just talking about bringing Lazarus back, as wonderful as it would be.
Jesus was saying that He is the door to life, both a full and abundant life on earth and when we leave earth, heaven. And when we place our faith in Him and what He did on Calvary, then we have the hope He offers to all who will take it.
You see, hope is available for everyone, through Jesus.
Hope is not found in the good life we try to live. Jesus says that our hope for eternity lies not within us or anything we can do, but in Him alone.
So I want to encourage you to lay your hands on the hope that Jesus offers.
Place your hope in Him to help you in this life, place your hope in Him for life everlasting, and place your hope in Him in anticipation of the resurrection, and the hope of being reunited with our loved ones who have gone before.