6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: This is the 33rd sermon in a series on the Gospel of John. In this sermon we are looking at Martha's conversation with Jesus prior to the resurrection of Lazarus. We see how Jesus encouraged her, and how she responded in faith.

Martha’s Amazing Confession of Faith (Part 33)

Text: John 11:17-27

We’re looking at the resurrection of Lazarus this morning, and just to remind you of what we looked at last week, let me re-cap it for you. Jesus had gone out of the area of Judea because the Jews in that area wanted Him dead. But then He gets a message from His good friends Mary and Martha that their brother Lazarus is very sick. And Jesus loved Mary, and Martha, and Lazarus dearly, but that didn’t mean that He immediately jumped up and went to heal Lazarus. In-fact; we read it last Sunday… He loved them, so He waited two more days, before He came to them.

What that means is that probably, right after the messenger was sent, Lazarus died. It took the messenger a day to get to Jesus, and Jesus waited two days after that before He made the day’s journey to Bethany. Making it 4 days now since Lazarus had died.

And that brings us to our text. So go ahead and open your Bibles to John 11:17-27 (READ).

What the text tells us is that when Jesus came, He found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. In other words, when Jesus comes, He stops outside of the town of Bethany, near the tombs. The tombs were always outside of town, because of Jewish ritual purity laws. So Jesus didn’t go on in to town to Mary and Martha’s house. He stopped and inquired about Lazarus. And apparently; someone noticed Him, and ran and told Martha that He was around. Now a couple of things just to fill in the story for you… First of all, it’s important for us to see that Lazarus had been in the tomb, dead, for 4 days. He wasn’t just in a coma or some kind of deep sleep. The dude was truly dead. Second… why was it that Martha was told about Jesus being nearby and not Mary? Well… we have to think back about what we know about these two sisters. Martha is the worker, the planner, the organizer. She’s the “doer”. Mary is the contemplative one. She’s the thinker. She’s more interested in ideas, and learning. Remember the story about Jesus coming to their house, and Martha was busy working, cooking, cleaning, being a host, while Mary was the one sitting at Jesus feet, listening. So they’re going to deal with the death of their brother in different ways. Martha, she’s probably going to deal with her grief by staying busy, whereas Mary is going to process this with emotion, and retrospection. And ultimately; it probably comes down to the fact that Martha is the oldest of the siblings… she’s the matriarch of the home, so if there’s information, it’s going to come to her. Regardless; Martha is the one who hears the news first, and she goes out to meet Jesus. And in verses 21 & 22 she says, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give You.”

Now let’s stop right here!

I want to remind you of John’s purpose in writing this Gospel account. John 20:30-31 (READ).

So John’s purpose in writing this book is not so that he can entertain us… it’s not so he can make a buck, or be a best-selling author. He wants people who read this to come to full, and complete faith, in Jesus Christ! And all through his Gospel, he’s talked about how people had a form of faith, but not true saving faith… how people had a form of faith, or how they believed certain things about Jesus and God, but also how they sometimes believed wrong things… or how their faith was limited to certain things. And that’s what John is doing again here.

This statement from Martha, it isn’t like she’s blaming Jesus for not being there. She’s actually making a statement of faith. She’s acknowledging that Jesus has the power to heal. And that He could have prevented Lazarus’ death. She even goes on and says in verse 22, “But even now I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You.” Now let me clarify this… because if you read a little further, it’s not like Martha believes that Jesus will raise Lazarus from the dead. What she’s saying here is, “Jesus, I know You have the power to heal, and I know that You could have prevented my brother’s death… and even though You didn’t, I still believe that You’re from God, and that You’re the Messiah, and that God still listens to Your prayers and is working through You.” In other words; “Even though my brother is dead, I still trust in You Jesus.”

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