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Summary: We can learn new things from the old story of Jesus raising Lazarus. This sermon illustrates that the raising of Lazarus is intended to help raise each of us. Listen and learn! God is trying to raise us to a new life in Christ Jesus.

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It’s Time to Get Up

John 11: 38-44 March 9, 2008

Illus: Over the years Readers Digest has published some really strange stuff from the lives of ordinary people…

One lady wrote in to tell about an interesting billboard she had seen in Texas… It read, “Stand up and be counted for the 2000 Census…” The sign was sponsored by the Rosewood Cemetery…

Another lady wrote in to tell an excuse given by one of her employees for being absent from work… He said, “I can’t come to work today because I’m having an autopsy… but I should be in tomorrow…”

Now I don’t know what kind of medical procedure the man was having, but I don’t think it was an autopsy… But if it was an autopsy, his name must have been Lazarus…

I know you’ve heard this Lazarus story many times before, but it’s a story that never grows old… Because it’s a story of New Life… It’s a story about a resurrection and that’s what resurrection is – It’s New Life…

Anytime we share this story together, it should bring us New Life, new hope, and new meaning… Because the story is not about Mary and Martha and Lazarus… It’s a story about us – and how Jesus can bring us New Life, new hope, and new meaning…

We all know the story! Jesus was close friends with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus… They had spent a lot of time together; they had shared many meals together… They were considered buddies…

Well Lazarus got sick, and it was evident that he wasn’t getting any better and that he was dying… So out of desperation, Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that he should come quickly and heal Lazarus from his sickness…

Jesus loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, yet, when he received the message, the Bible tells us that Jesus stayed where he was for two days…

That one sentence would make a good sermon… God’s timetable is not our timetable… How many times have you prayed that Jesus would come and quickly rescue you from a situation? Yet, Jesus seemingly lingered somewhere far off and all you were left with was silence? That’s what faith is all about! It’s believing in God and God’s providence even during those times when God seems absent…

Well, Jesus lingered where he was, but then he said to his disciples, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, and I must go wake him up…”

Jesus may linger, but he hasn’t forgotten us… In this case, I think he lingered to prove a point…

On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days… And that’s a significant point… Because some Jews had a belief that a person’s soul would stay around the body for three days, but after three days the soul would depart from the body… The four days may have been a statement by Jesus that Lazarus really was dead… there was no life left in him…

We’re told that Mary and Martha meet Jesus, and they say, “If only you had been here earlier, you are too late, Lazarus is dead…” and they begin crying… And what did Jesus do? The Bible says, “Jesus wept!”

That’s the shortest verse in the Bible, but it’s also one of the most powerful verses in the Bible…

And then what did Jesus do? He goes out to the tomb and tells them to “Roll back the stone – open the grave,” and then with a loud command, he says, “Lazarus, come forth!” And amazingly, before their very eyes, Lazarus is resurrected from the grave… And he comes walking out still wrapped in his grave clothes and Jesus says to them, “Unbind him, and set him free…”


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