Summary: # 31 in series. When anyone sees that Jesus is the resurrection and the life, he is challenged to do something about it.
A Study of the Book of John
“That You May Believe”
Sermon # 31
“I Am The Resurrection and the Life”
In the first half of John chapter eleven we were introduced to the family of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. You may recall that when Lazarus became ill his sisters sent an urgent message to Jesus, yet the reality of the situation was that before the message even reached Jesus, Lazarus had already died. Yet when the news did reach Jesus He did not drop everything and hurry to Bethany to be with His friends. He waited! He delayed his coming and as we noted last time it is that delay; that puzzles us. It is when God does not respond in the way that we have been taught to expect him to, that we are troubled. It is then that we begin to think that God really does not care about us. When you are being overwhelmed by the events of your life, it is very difficult to continue to believe in the midst of God’s silences and in the face of God’s delays that they really are still evidences of His love. Jesus did not stop loving Mary and Martha and Lazarus because He did not come immediately, it was that just that His plan required a different response.
As we look at these verses today I want to look at what they reveal to us about Jesus.
First, We Have A Savior Who Can Handle Our Honesty (vv. 17-22)
“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. “Now Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. (21) Now 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 of God, God will give You."
The first member of the family that Jesus come into contact with is Martha and Martha’s first words to Jesus in those moments of grief in verse twenty one are "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” Or to put it even more plainly, “Where were you Lord?” Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever felt like asking, “Where were you Lord?”
I think Kent Hughes is right when he says, “It is not sinful to tell God how you feel. That may sound like heresy in the light of some of the things that you have been taught, but I want to qualify it by saying that we should always be reverent toward God. He is God! We are His creatures and must ever bow before Him. But that does not mean we are not allowed to express to Him how we feel. Some of us have feelings that ought to be shared with God. The feelings are not necessarily right, but they are feelings that need to be brought honestly before God. But we do not, for fear of losing something. God is more patient and accepting than we realize…God wants us to pour hearts out to him… That is what he allowed with Martha. [R. Kent Hughes. John: That You Might Believe. (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1999) p. 284]
Don’t be afraid to be honest with God. He can handle your honesty. Notice that God does not reprove nor rebuke Martha for her honesty. And He’ll speak truth into your troubles once you communicate your heart. God already know your heart but he can’t correct the problem of your heart until you admit your feeling.
Jesus answers her by saying in verse twenty-three by saying, "Your brother will rise again." Martha responds to Jesus in verse twenty-four with the fact that she does indeed believe in a future day of resurrection, "I know that he will rise again in the resur-rection at the last day."
Martha’s response is typical even today. It sounds like the correct Sunday School answer, the correct theoretical theology but it is disconnected from life.
He’s A Savior Who Can Handle Our Honesty
Secondly, We Have A Savior Who Deserves Our Commitment (vv. 25-27)
Here now Jesus makes one of his most famous and most significant “I AM” sayings in John’s Gospel. Jesus is not just saying that he can provide resurrection and life though this is certainly implied. Jesus says that He is resurrection and life. And further more He makes it clear that this eternal life is possible not just after death in the distant future, but through Him, in the present for he said: in verse twenty-five, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. (26) And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die….”