Summary: Jesus wept at this scene...so how was He glad?
Lazarus is Dead, and I am Glad
PowerPoint, audio, and formatted text, including pt. 2 at: http://gbcdecatur.org/sermons/Lazarus.html
Once upon a time a family lived in Bethany of Judea. They were not a typical family. They were siblings, 3 of them, 2 sisters and a brother. Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Likely, their parents had passed away, and this was the family home they had inherited.
This family was very close to Jesus, who spent a lot of time in their home, just 2 miles from Jerusalem. It seems apparent that Jesus would use their home sometimes as a headquarters, staying there by night, and ministering by day.
John recorded 7 of Jesus' miracles. The first was a wedding, and this is the last, a funeral. The first was in the midst of gladness and the last, sadness.
vv. 14-15 is the startling statement from which we get our title today. Let's look now at this family's suffering, their sorrow, and their Savior.
Lazarus is very sick, and his sisters know that Jesus can help, but He's in a place some 20 miles away. They sent a messenger to Jesus.
v. 3 'lovest' is the Greek word for affection.
v 5 'loved' is agape, the highest form of love. It is 'God love'.
This family is very near and dear to Jesus, and they are suffering.
Nearness and dearness to Jesus doesn't make us immune to suffering. I am near Him. You are dear Him. And yet we are still held by gravity to a cursed rock, covered in sin and consequences. Being a believer doesn't exempt you from problems. Becoming a Christian isn't the end of problems...if it is, it's the FRONT end! But now you have somebody to help you with your problems.
Some preach that if you are right with God, you will never be sick. That if you are sick, you simply don't have enough faith. That's not only dead wrong, it's a despicable lack of compassion.
Could Jesus have prevented Lazarus from becoming sick? Of course. But it was allowed for the glory of God [v. 4]
ill.--The Apostle Paul had a couple of helpers in the ministry. One was names Erastus, the other Trophimus.
Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.
He had given his life to serve God, but he got sick.
Paul's young protege, Timothy, is another example. Paul told him how to medicate his...
... often infirmities.
Our souls have been redeemed, but our bodies have not yet.
Believers can get sick for different reasons:
*Deterioration-sin takes it's course, as does time. It's the 2nd law of thermodynamics...things don't wind up but rather wind down. Things don't gain energy but lose it. Things aren't getting better, but worse. Each of us is closer to death today than ever before in our lives!
We don't stop aging when we get saved. If we did, I would look 6, instead of 25!
*Dissipation-we give away our health when we eat wrong and don't exercise. The laws of nature impact us the same as lost people. Our bodies are God's temple, and we ought to respect His temple!
*Development-maybe God is trying to do something in your life. He can use a sickness to get our attention, like He did with Paul [2 Cor. 12]. He was out of control, out of line, and was humbled for service in the hands of God by his thorn in the flesh.
*Discipline-In 1 Cor. 11 God corrected some with sickness for not treating the Lord's Supper with respect, and there are several other examples of such in Scripture, OT and NT.
The first of those is the most likely for you, so don't ever judge someone who is sick, only judge yourself.
There are no gates so high and imposing as to shield the believer from the problems of life. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. Job said that if you are born of woman, your days will have trouble.
The M&M sisters did the right thing, they took their problem to Jesus. They didn't try to fix it themselves, which is what we often do. I don't like the phrase, "All we can do is pray." I know what we mean by that...that we've exhausted all human resources...but prayer is not our last resort, it ought to be our first impulse.
"I must tell Jesus, I cannot bear my burdens alone."
The sisters did what we should do, take it to Jesus.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
He may seem absent, but He is present, very present!
ill.--in WWI, a wounded soldier lay on the battlefield. His best friend, Jim, was in the trench. He asked his C/O if he could go fetch his friend. The answer was no...too dangerous. But Jim was very insistent, and persuaded the officer. Under heavy fire he ran the rescue, and he himself was wounded. His buddy died anyway. "Was it worth it?" asked the C/O. "Yes, because when I got to him he was still alive, and he said to me, 'Jim, I knew you'd come.'"