Summary: This sermon addresses the grief we are all experiencing - especially during the global pandemic. It looks at the raising of Lazarus in John 11
Title: “A new lease on life – or eternal life.”
Subject: How can we handle grief in a healthy/gospel-centric way?
Complement: By allowing Christ’s resurrection to speak hope into our grief.
Preaching idea: “a new lease on life – or a new life!"
Purpose: to offer a gospel perspective on death/dying/loss in the face of the global pandemic.
The pandemic has created so much death and imposed so many changes on society.
We have lost so much... being with those we love...
celebrations... birthdays, weddings and
siting with the sick and dying... even funerals have been radically affected.
In our vocabulary the word that describes all of this is “grief” - the experience of loss.
The greater the loss ...the deeper the grief.
Grief can briefly be described by it's 3 stages:
1. Crisis – the news and the shock... and often too denial
2. Crucible – wrestling/bargaining/ slowly accepting the reality
3. Construction – figuring out the future in this new circumstance of loss and aloneness and the empty seat at the table. Finding hope.
While grief is typically associated with death – it can also result from a divorce... a job lay-off... or even bankruptcy.
So today, we turn to a story of grief...
John 11: 11 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is (very) 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.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, (!) he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” (!) 12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead,15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
This thought is repeated in v. 15 - “for now you will really believe”!!! (v. 15)
*** the story is about 2 things : (1) God’s glory (2) the disciples faith
In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine Johnny Depp said:
... I don’t have a real handle on what life is supposed to mean or be or anything like that. And I'm not sure life is supposed to mean anything at all. ... As long as you have the opportunity to make your kid smile and laugh do it … . I think we're here and that's kind of it. Then it's dirt and worms.
Larry King- Died Jan 23, 2021
television commentator Larry King "is obsessed with death." His day begins with reading obituaries, and he ponders "who will give the eulogy at his funeral." He smiles as he thinks it might be someone powerful - like a former president... and then his face becomes blank. "But I won't be there to see it."
Larry has had "a heart attack, quintuple bypass, prostate cancer, diabetes, and seven divorces."
At age 77 CNN dropped him, and he really became aware that there will come a day when he dies.
To move against aging and death, he takes hormone pills for human growth, four / day. He plans to have his body frozen so that someday he will live again. Larry: "It's nuts—but at least it gives me a shred of hope." ... "Other people have no hope."
Elon Musk ...
The New York Times has called Elon Musk "arguably the most successful and important entrepreneur in the world." ... he has started four billion-dollar companies: PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX, and Solar City.
Elon Musk was asked ... Do you believe in God?
Not really. I believe in science.
What do you think happens when you die?