Summary: Understanding the glory of God

Week 3: GLORY: A Lesson from Lazarus

1. Introduction:

a. A young couple was going to be married. Sadly, before they were married they died in an accident. When they arrived in heaven St. Peter was there to greet them. The couple lamented to him the fact they had died before they could be married. They asked St. Peter, “Can we be married here in heaven?”

i. St. Peter said, “I’ve never had that request before. Let me think about it.”

ii. A couple of months later St. Peter came back and said to the young couple, “Yes, you can be married. It’s taken me a couple of months to set things up, but you can be married.”

iii. The young couple was further concerned and asked, “What would happen if we want to be divorced in heaven?”

iv. St. Peter seemed to be angry and said, “What do you mean a divorce! It took me two months to find a minister. How long do you think it would take me to find a lawyer?!?”

b. Jokes about death are not easy to find. Death is not very funny. Death appears to be in control of our lives. Some say all of civilization is an attempt to deal with death. Our art, culture, government, literature, the things we do to organize and express ourselves are an attempt to deal with death. They make meaning of life and help put out of our minds the fact we are going to die.

c. We are a culture of death deniers.

i. Think of the wonderful creams we can buy to do away with wrinkles.

ii. Think of cosmetic surgery and all the ways of extending life. We don’t want death, we want to stop death, we wish to make death wait! We stay on life support, we spend billions on health care, and are we any happier? No! Because we are a culture of death deniers.

iii. We would rather believe it is not going to happen to us.

d. We are going to read a story about death, a story about some friends: Mary, Martha, Lazarus, Jesus and the disciples, and how a seemingly tragic death leads to God’s glory being revealed.

2. We are now in the third week of an eight week series on the Glory of God.

a. Most of us by now have come to learn that the Glory of God is most often described as the VISIBLE MAJESTY OF THE DIVINE PRESENCE.

b. In a very real way, every time that God provided a visible sign of His presence, His glory was being revealed and demonstrated.

i. The most commonly recalled times of His glory being revealed was during the Exodus, while the Israelites were in the desert and the column of smoke by day and the column of fire by night led them through the wilderness.

ii. Last week we saw the glory of God revealed for the first time to the disciples at a strange place and time. In Cana, where Jesus turned water into wine.

iii. As a result of this revelation of his glory, his disciples believed in him.

iv. God’s agenda is His glory…to reveal it and make it known to His creation.

v. In the New Testament, we are seeing the glory of God redefined and displayed in a way that mankind hadn’t even dreamed would be possible.

3. Our key verse today will be: “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" (John 11:40)

4. Let’s read together this very lengthy passage: (can we select 3 readers?

a. 1 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 3 So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, "Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick." 4 But when Jesus heard this, He said, "This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it." 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was. 7 Then after this He said to the disciples, "Let us go to Judea again." 8 The disciples said to Him, "Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and are You going there again?" 9 Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 "But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him." 11 This He said, and after that He said to them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep." 12 The disciples then said to Him, "Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover." 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep. 14 So Jesus then said to them plainly, "Lazarus is dead, 15 and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him." 16 Therefore Thomas, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, so that we may die with Him."

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