Summary: Effectively bringing people to life in Jesus will take commitment, compassion, and conviction like that of Jesus. - based on raising of Lazarus
It was just 2 weeks ago that our parking lot out here was filled with emergency vehicles. There was a fire truck, ambulance, and police car. Even the St. John’s helicopter landed out there! That was all part of the fall kickoff for the children’s ministry. I appreciate the people who serve in those ways – some of them are members of our church family. They work under a lot of stress and dangers, but you know what’s neat about what they do? They save lives.
Save a life. That would be neat, wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t it be great to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right training – and all you do is what you know is right to do, and as a result someone is kept from dying? That would be even neater than beating Halo 3 or winning $5 on a lottery ticket, wouldn’t it? I want to talk about an opportunity we all have to save lives this morning.
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." When he heard this, Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it." Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days. Then he said to his disciples, "Let us go back to Judea." "But Rabbi," they said, "a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?" Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light." After he had said this, he went on to tell them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up." His disciples replied, "Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better." Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. So then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him."
I’ve been around enough loss and grief to see a lot of people while they’re hurting. And it’s a fairly normal feeling to wish that you could make the hurt go away. Instead, about all you can do is hurt alongside them and share the pain. What if you could somehow change the situation? Wouldn’t it be great to be able to walk into the loss and hopelessness of a situation where someone has died and to bring a dead person back to life? I’ll go ahead and spoil the story of John 11: That’s what Jesus does. He raises Lazarus from the dead and takes away the pain of grief. He brings a man out of death and back to life! Wow. But, as far as I can tell, Lazarus died again later – or else he’s really old right now. Even in this story, we have to remember that Jesus was doing something bigger than just extending someone’s life a few years.