Summary: Next in series on John. Looks at lessons to be learned from the resurrection of Lazarus
John 11 (1)
You parents and grandparents, aren’t there some accounts from the Bible you love telling your children about? Like, David standing up against the giant Goliath, and whipping him with a stone. Jonah being swallowed by a great fish, Moses parting the Red Sea, Noah and the Flood, Jesus walking on water and feeding the 5,000, Moses parting the Red Sea. Neat stuff that sets our imagination running.
Well, in the 11th chapter of the book of John, we have one of those accounts, an account, or a sign that Jesus performed, that has so many lessons for us.
- Read John 11:1-53
1. God’s timing is always perfect - Jesus got word that Lazarus was sick. Now Lazarus was a friend of Jesus. Jesus had eaten with Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha a number of times. Mary had anointed Jesus’ feet with perfume and then had washed his feet with her hair.
In other words, Jesus knew these folks. They were probably some of the people Jesus was the closest with while He was here on earth.
So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “The one you love is sick”. One would expect Jesus to pray and instantly heal Lazarus from a distance. He had done that before. Or, one might think Jesus would go to Bethany and heal Lazarus there, I mean, after all, Bethany was just a few miles up the road, and these folks had fed Jesus so many times.
But Jesus did neither. He waited.
I don’t know about you, but that’s not what I would have expected. And if I were Mary or Martha, that’s not what I would have wanted. Jesus, you’re our friend, come and help us now, but Jesus waited.
The Lord does not always work when we want Him to, but His timing is always perfect.
I remember while I was in seminary, and again when I was a youth pastor and then when I first started pastoring, I often told the Lord how much easier things would be if I had a wife. I often reminded him how much more effective my ministry would be if I had a wife a children. I mean, not everyone wants to listen to a preacher talk about marriage and about how to make one work, if he’s not married himself. So I would tell the Lord, “You know Lord, a wife really would help right now.”
But He made me wait. And I never would have appreciated the gift He gave me if I hadn’t waited. Some times we have to grow up a little bit.
Mary and Martha wanted Jesus to come and help their brother, but Jesus waited. God’s timing is always perfect.
Second, you don’t know how you will respond, so pray for protection.
2. You don’t know how you will respond, so pray for protection.
- Read John 11:7-8, 16.
If you remember, in Chapter 10, the Jews tried to stone Jesus. They wanted to kill Him. In John 10:21 they picked up rocks to stone Him, and in verse 39, they tried to seize Him, but He eluded their grasp. In other words, from man’s perspective, He escaped by the skin of His teeth.
Now Jesus says, “Let’s go back there again.” The disciples are beside themselves. “Jesus are you crazy? They just tried to kill you. You barely escaped, and now you want to go back there again?”
Don’t you know some of the disciples began exchanging glances? Don’t you know they started shaking their heads thinking, “What have we gotten ourselves into?”
Jesus answers, “Yeah, we’re gonna go back.” So Thomas turns to the other disciples and says in verse 16, “Let’s go too so that we can die with Him.”
That’s pretty gutsy right there. That takes some nerve. Let’s go so that we may die with Him.
I don’t know if that would have been my attitude. But on this day the disciples decide that being with Jesus is more important than their own safety, so they choose to stay with Jesus.
Now, these are the same disciples who abandoned Jesus on the night He was arrested. Among these disciples is Peter, the one who denied knowing Jesus 3 times. And the one saying, “Let’s go die with Him, is the same one who stands in the upper room, and when the others tell him that Jesus has been raised from the dead, says, “Unless I put my fingers in the holes in His hands and my hand in the gash in His side, I’ll never believe it.”
You never know how you will respond in a given situation until you are in that situation.
On July 8, 1998, my dad and another deputy were called to the home of Allen Singletary in Geneva. Allen had pulled a gun on his landlord, so my dad and another deputy went to talk to Allen, to get the situation under control.