Summary: A sermon for Lent 5, reminding us that there is life beyond death and encouraging us not to be dictated to by death
What’s your attitude to death?
If you were to visit a doctor tomorrow
and they said you were dieing, how would you react?
Would you be like one of my mates who said, I can’t afford to die yet,
I don’t have enough money for the funeral?
Or perhaps you might be like the lady who said of course I know that, from the moment I was born I began to die?
Death is part of life…
Every year over 132,000 people in Australia die.
Every day of our life is one step closer to you dieing.
Death is a costly business.
The average funeral costs around $5000 per person.
Maybe this explains why so many people will do anything to avoid dieing and many who worry about dieing.
One day a ninety-five year old woman at the nursing home received a visit
from one of her fellow church members.
“How are you feeling?” the visitor asked.
“Oh,” said the lady, “I’m just worried sick!”
“What are you worried about, dear?” her friend asked. “You look like you’re in good health. They are taking care of you, aren’t they?”
“Yes, they are taking very good care of me.”
“Are you in any pain?” she asked.
“No, I have never had a pain in my life.”
“Well, what are you worried about?” her friend asked again.
The lady leaned back in her rocking chair and slowly explained her major worry.
“Every close friend I ever had has already died and gone on to
And I know what they are like
I’m afraid they’re all wondering where I went.”
And we seem to live amongst people who worry about dieing or would do almost anything to avoid dieing.
There seems to be a ‘fear of death.’
Are your actions in life influenced by death?
I know of people, who will only visit a retirement homes or funeral if they are dragged there,
because they don’t like death.
What is ironic is that even though many people don’t like death,
death seems to strongly influences how they live.
Advertising and media stories relating to health and safety are often slanted towards scaring us about dieing.
With the underlying message if you don’t do this
or that you will die.
Lose weight or you will die.
Eat healthier or you will die.
Drive slower or you may kill someone.
Exercise more or you will die.
Interestingly our reading from Romans 8 verse 6 says something about this.
The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;
As baptised people of God there is more to life than death.
Death is not the end.
Do you realise that there is more to life than dieing.
There is more to life than being worried about death.
There is more to life than being driven by the fear of death.
In today’s Gospel reading we see how Jesus responds to death.
If you would like, please open up to chapter 11 of John.
For a start when you scan down the chapter,
you will see the very next verses following our reading,
the plot to kill Jesus begins.
Even in today’s reading the plot to kill Jesus has begun.
And this plot thickens and gets closer to reality in chapters 12 and 13.
We see the events that ultimately lead up to Jesus death and resurrection.
So today’s reading about Lazarus’ death and resurrection
is very close to the events that lead to Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Today’s reading is preparing us as disciples of Jesus Christ for His death and resurrection.
Verse 4 makes a very important statement relating to the Christian life.
Jesus gives us his perspective on death.
And this perspective is foundational to our perspective on death.
Reading from verse 3, so we get the context.
3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” 4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”
Now the word glorifying is a word bandied about in Chrsitian circles.
It basically means about praising, worshipping, honouring God, acknowledging God is doing fantastic things.
Have you ever thought about that through your difficulties, your sicknesses and even your death God can be glorfied?
Not because you got sick or died.
But how God worked through that sickness or death.
How can God use your death to highlight how good he is?
To demonstrate how great he is.
This is an important perspective to have.
Have you thought about that?
In fact as a result of any difficulties
and flaws we have God can be glorified.
We can glorify God through sickness and death in at least 3 ways.