Summary: A message on Jesus' statement, I Am the Resurrection, from the perspective of the dead stuff in our lives.
I Am the Resurrection
Scripture: John 11:17-43
We are continuing our series on the “I Am” statements that Jesus makes in the gospel of John. If I were to retitle the message this morning, I would likely have called it, “What stinks?!!” Because we’re going to approach this “I Am” statement from a little different perspective than the others we’ve looked at so far.
Many years ago, I worked in the purchasing department of a pickle company - Bicks Pickles. And as you know pickles come from cucumbers, and during what was called “fresh pack” all of the cucumbers for the whole year would come into the factory. Now cucumbers are kept in brine in big vats. And the brine has a particular smell to it. It’s not really a very pleasant smell, but the thing is, if you work there long enough, you get used to it and you never even notice it. But other people, who DIDN’T work there, would come for a visit, and they would often say - politely of course - “what’s that smell?” They really wanted to know “What stinks around here?”!!
Before I worked at Bicks Pickles, I worked at another food processor, called Peak Frean/Langely Harris. Going to work at Peak Freans was a totally different experience - because at Peak Frean’s I was the receptionist and switchboard operator, and when people would come to visit Peak Frean’s, they’d say things like, “I love coming here - it smells so good.” See Peak Frean/Langley Harris, made cookies. You could actually see people slow down as the drove by the facility just to enjoy the sweet aroma of those cookies in the oven.
Now we have, on occasion, some smells around here, in our community. If the wind is blowing just right. Whatever smells we have around here though, pale in comparison to Broken Bow where they have 130,000 head of cattle - now THAT’s a smell you just NEVER get used to!
Did you know that the neurons that trigger smell, go directly to our brain? Smell is not like taste and sight which first go to a relay center in the middle of our brain and then get sent out from there, smell goes directly to our brain and it can trigger fight or flight responses or make you drool over the taste you're about to enjoy.
Now, here’s the thing, MOST of us, don’t care for bad smells. While it’s true that what smells really nice for some of us, might smell really bad to someone else, most of us would likely agree that when something is dead, it stinks.
A. Dead stuff stinks. (like pickles)
And that brings us to our scripture reading for today - AND the message.
Look with me at verse 39, of our passage of scripture.
Jesus says, “Roll the stone aside,” and MARTHA, the story tells us, protested, saying, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.”
Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory (what?) if you believe.”
Here’s where I’m going with this. All of us have tombs in our life. A tomb, - look at verse 38, - is a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance.
Many people have stuff that they’ve got buried.
We have those places in our lives that are caves with a stone rolled across its entrance. And every now and again Jesus comes along speaking to us through the power of the Holy Spirit, and says, roll the stone away, and we respond like Martha - BUT LORD, it stinks in there - don’t roll the stone away. Don’t open the tomb!
And what happens is,
We miss God’s glory.
There is a condition on seeing God’s glory. We have to believe. Too often, too many people want to see God’s glory SO they can believe. Jesus said, we will see God’s glory IF we believe. So we have to believe, then we see.
Later on in John’s gospel, chapter 20, verse 29, Jesus says, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” That moment, when Jesus said that, was after HIS resurrection. Now here, he is saying to Martha, “Didn’t I tell you, you will see God’s glory IF you believe.”
I can’t help but think there is a strong correlation here between Jesus resurrection, and the fact that Jesus is about to call forth Lazarus from the tomb.
We’ll talk about those two tombs in just a bit.
So one thing that happens to us when we have dead stuff buried in the tombs in our life, is we miss God’s glory. And the reason we MISS God’s glory, is because we don’t believe.
We remain in our unbelief.