Summary: A sermon for Lent 5 that encourages us to see that Jesus is more powerful than death and we should view death as not the end.
The Gospel reading from John 11, which we read this morning, is another sign that Jesus is the true Messiah
In the Gospel of John we have 7 of these signs:
• Jesus changed water into wine (2:1-11)
• Jesus healed the officials son (4:46-54)
• Jesus healed the paralytic (5:1-9)
• Jesus fed the 5000 (6:1-14)
• Jesus walked on water (6:15-25)
• Jesus gives sight to the blind man (9:1-12)
• And now Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead (11:1-45)
The purpose for each of these signs was not so people would say,
"Ahh look at Jesus he can turn my bath tub of water into wine"
Or mate just bring along 2 loaves of bread and 5 fishes and lets see how this unbelievable chef can make food stretch.
Lets invite him around to my next party."
The purpose was so that people would believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
That You would believe He is your saviour.
At times we seem to forget this.
At times we are a little like Martha in verse 21,
When she says, “21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
As I reflect on my own prayers.
How often have I prayed things like.
Lord give me.
Make my life more comfortable.
Make my life better.
Take away this bad situation.
And I get a bit anxious when Jesus does something like he does in verse 6.
When he heard Lazarus was sick, he stayed there a further 2 days, ie. he waited two days before going to see Lazarus…(If a doctor did this today you would probably want to sue them!!!)
How about you??
Do you get a bit anxious with God when he doesn’t seem to answer your prayers right away in the way you want them answered?
Perhaps we are trying to force God to operate according to our timelines, rather than us operating to God’s.
Recently I heard it said, “The problem we have in dealing with God is that we have two standards….
We expect God to be instant, fast and super quick in responding to us, yet we like to go about our week at our own pace, fitting God and others in when it suits us.”
Also maybe there is something else we should be asking God, when we experience difficulties or suffering.
In addition to asking God to improve our situation,
perhaps we should ask God to use our situations for His good.
To use the situations we experience so that others may believe in Him.
If we look at the outcome of this morning’s reading we see that as a result of Jesus Lazarus from the dead many people believed in Jesus.
I would like you to think about that this week.
Each day ask God in your prayers to use the situations you are encountering,
Whether they be good, bad and ordinary,
so that others may experience the Messiah.
So others may experience Jesus, and believe in Him!!!
And what better way to illustrate this than through death.
Death is one of the most difficult things we face.
People have a real difficult time talking about it, let alone dealing with it.
Many newspapers will not report about suicides or death.
Sometimes we use friendly words to get around talking about it.
Recently the Victorian State Government in reviewing safety around the Western Gate Bridge were surprised to discover there is a real problem.
Around 42 people attempt suicide each year from that bridge and at least half of these are successful.
Yet it is something we need to prepare for?
Death is inevitable.
And When we lose someone close to us,
because we love them.
We miss them.
We would gladly like them to still be around, don’t we.
And when people lose a loved one it is expected that they will be grieving from between two months to two years.
Many things happen during this time.
Granger Westberg, in His book, Good Grief, highlights 10 things people go through when grieving that include blaming others, shock, not being able to see any future, distressed, to seeing hope, to struggling with difficulties in resuming life.
If anyone is interested in this feel free to contact me for details.
Grieving can be a very difficult time.
And when we see someone grieving the danger for us is either to leave them alone, or we force them to move along to forget about the loss or losses they are experiencing straight away.
Jesus does not take either of these approaches.
One of the first things he does is he highlights that with Him there is hope,