Summary: Jesus raises Lazarus and tells us that we must be resurrected to be with Him in heaven.
I AM the Resurrection and the Life
Pastor Jefferson M. Williams
Chenoa Baptist Church
An Impossible Request
[Slide] On December 12, 2014, Kimmy Blair was in a one car accident coming back from a funeral in Fairbury. Her neck was broken and she died almost instantly. She was 17 and was like a daughter to us. It was the most traumatic thing Maxine and I have ever been though. I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy.
While we were at the ER sitting with her body, her mother, a new Christian, looked at her and then at me, and said, “Jesus raised people from the dead in the Bible, didn’t he Jeff?”
My first thought was, “Don’t look at me. I can’t do that.”
Mt second thought was more a prayer, “She’s right. You did raise people from the dead. How about a miracle for us right now now Lord?”
What would you have said to her? How would you have responded to her?
I’ll tell you what I said to her at the end of this sermon. They were some of the hardest and yet most hopeful words I’ve ever had the privilege to share with someone who is in the midst of deep grief and sorry.
So far, we have studied four of the seven I AM statements of Jesus from the Gospel of John:
1. “I am the bread of life.” (John 6:35, 41, 48, 51) As bread sustains physical life, so Christ offers and sustains spiritual life.
2. “I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12) To a world lost in darkness, Christ offers Himself as a guide.
3. “I am the door of the sheep.” (John 10:7,9) Jesus protects His followers as shepherds protect their flocks from predators.
4. “I am the good shepherd.” (John 10:11, 14) Jesus is committed to caring and watching over those who are His.
This morning, we will encounter the fifth I AM - “I AM the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25) and learn that, for the Christian, death is not something to fear but merely a transition into the presence of God.
At the end of chapter 10, the Jews are plotting to kill Jesus but He escapes their grasp and goes back across the Jordan. It is here that He get a message from His friends in Bethany.
Turn to John 11.
Commentator J.C. Ryle wrote concerning this chapter, “for grandeur and simplicity, for pathos and solemnity nothing was ever written like it.”
[Slide] Mary and Martha’s Plea
[Slide] “Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” (John 11:1-3)
The narrator tells us that there was a man named Lazarus and that he was sick. His Hebrew name was “Eleazar:” which means “whom God helps.”
He was from Bethany, a little village on the east side of the Mount of Olives and about two miles from Jerusalem.
Jesus would often stop in Bethany and enjoy the fellowship of this family. It was like a quiet place of retreat for Him. It was like a base of operations for Him.
Lazarus was the younger brother of two sisters, Mary and Martha.
Dr. Luke tells us about the personalities of these two women:
“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)
Martha, the older sister, is worried, upset, busy. She’s a “get it done” person. Mary was sitting at Jesus feet listening. Martha was frustrated with Mary for not helping her.
Jesus gently rebukes Martha and says Mary has chosen the better option. Jesus will not be with them forever. She was sitting at Jesus listening to Him.
John then tells us in parenthesis that Mary is also the one who poured perfume on Jesus feet and wiped His feet with her hair.
]It’s interesting that John mentions this because it isn’t actually recorded in John until the next chapter.
Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.