Summary: This is one of ten messages on the GIANTS all of us face in life. This giant is called grief.


“Learning to Let Go”

John 11: 17-44

The Bible records 34 miracles performed by Jesus. He changed water to wine, he healed the deaf…

• made the blind to see

• the crippled could walk

• those with leprosy were made whole

• He fed the hungry with practically nothing.

He also raised the dead. I love to read about every miracle Jesus performed but the resurrection of someone from death back to life is clearly the most powerful because it has more to say to us than any other miracle Jesus performed. I find 10 times in the Scripture when someone was brought from death to life. The Old Testament names three. The New Testament names seven.

In the book of Acts, Peter raised a woman named Tabitha from the dead. Also in the book of Acts, Peter raised a man named Eutychus from the dead. In seminary my NT professor said..... when we were covering this passage, reminded us that Eutychus died in church. He was sitting in an open window listening when he fell asleep, and fell out of the window to his death. He said it’s a strange name, Eutychus; but if you had fallen out of the window you would’ve cussed to. I never forgot it. Jesus, of course resurrected himself along with a widow’s son, Jairus’ daughter and of course his friend Lazarus. And I want to repeat that I believe this miracle has more to say to us than any other miracle Jesus performed.

Now the Scripture tells us that Lazarus was sick. He was from the town of Bethany and He and his two sisters, Mary and Martha were all close friends to Jesus. When Jesus traveled through Bethany he would often stop and stay in their home. So they sent word to Jesus saying, “Lord the one you love the sick.” His response to the message was “this sickness will not end in death.” But rather it has a purpose --- that God will be glorified.”

It is of interest I think that when Jesus heard this news, the writer tells us two things. [1] Jesus deeply loved Mary and Martha and Lazarus and [2] Jesus chose rather than going to be with them immediately--he chose to remain where he was for two more days. Jesus then announces to the disciples that Lazarus has died and that he is going there to wake him up. The only information they gave Jesus was that Lazarus was sick. Jesus says this sickness will not end in death yet now he says Lazarus has died. The only conclusion I can gather from that is that Jesus somehow knew Lazarus had died even though no one told him.

There is not a hurt, a pain, a tragedy or a death that escapes God’s attention. All life is significant to our father in heaven.

But it is when God does not respond in the way that we might expect or want him to, that we are deeply troubled. It is when we wrongly begin to think that God does not really care about us. The fact that Jesus did not go to Lazarus immediately does not mean he did not love him, it simply means that his plan required a different response.

Look at what these verses tell us about Jesus and our grief we deal with. (1) We have a Savior who can handle our honesty. Vv 17-22. Jesus first comes into contact with Martha and her first words to him are found in verse 21. Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. In all honesty I would say that all of us at one time or another have felt like asking the same question... Lord where were you? Where were you when I needed? And if you struggle with being that honest with God I want to share another truth with you....

It is not sinful to tell God how you feel.

Guess what? He already knows. So you can’t hide it anyway. Certainly we should always be respectful but that does not mean we are not allowed to tell him how we feel. In fact some of us have feelings we should share with him. You see, God is more patient and accepting than we realize. And that’s what Martha was doing here---sharing her feelings of hurt; perhaps even bitterness---when she said “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Jesus answers her by saying in verse 23, “your brother will rise again.” Martha responds in verse 24 and says “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” But that was clearly not what Jesus was speaking of. Jesus then makes one of the most significant statements ever regarding who he is has he says: verse 25.

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