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Summary: Counting our blessings.

Shaped by Grace

John 12:1-8

March 25, 2007

They were friends.

Friends - having spent time together

- with each other.

- appreciating each other.

The Bible says they loved one another so much so that when one suffered all of them suffered.

Friends - Mary, Martha, Lazarus and Jesus.

And so when Lazarus became sick. When Mary and Martha’s brother suddenly took ill, they sent for Jesus, their friend. Begging him to come and help the one he loved.

And you know the story. When Jesus did finally come, it seemed to Mary and Martha and to their friends who were grieving with them that it was too late. Jesus hadn’t come early enough.

"Lord," the sisters say in unison though at different times, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died.

"Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."

It is quite a statement. We along with them believe it or want to believe it to be true. That if Jesus would have showed up on time.

If Jesus would not have been late.

If Jesus had just been in the room, then everything would have been all right.

Yes of course Jesus could have cured Lazarus before death over took him but to think that Jesus automatically heals, cures whenever one of his loved ones calls out for help is just not true.

Just ask Cherie Freeman.

Margaret Stewart or

Gayle Metcalf

When Jesus hears the hopes of Mary and Martha. When he sees their tears and the mourners who have gathered with them, his first action was not anything Godlike, but more human; "He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled." V. 33 says

Jesus first reaction.

His response to seeing grief and the loss to death of his friends Lazarus was that God himself felt that same loss and he wept. (V. 35)

John wants to make this clear.

v. 33 Jesus was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.

v. 35 Jesus wept.

v. 38 Jesus once more deeply moved.

These verses tell us, describe for us the human side of Jesus, mourning alongside his friends. Mary, Martha and alongside the friends.

Our God weeps

In the midst of his weeping, he makes the decision and takes the action to restore life to the dead man Lazarus. He is take to the tomb and once there gives the command to call the stone away.

He prays to his Father.

And then commands Lazarus to come out.

And he came.

Leaving death for life.

The darkness for the light.

Leaving the confining strips of linen for the comfortable freedom of his clothes.

"Take off the grave clothes and let him go."

Life had been restored. Life returned. Life resurrected. Jesus had commanded Lazarus to leave death and the tomb behind in order that there be room for him to enter it shortly.

You see Jesus knows that this most incredible of any of the miracles seals the deal for him. He is as good as dead now. He will soon find his place where Lazarus was. Dead.

The religious leaders in the verses that follow plot to kill him. v. 53, says

They get ready to pounce. This has been their ambition all along, but now it is clear Jesus will die. He will. They’re determined.

I wish John would have told us what happened when Lazarus came out of the tomb.

I wish John would have given us some details.

Did Mary and Martha faint?

Did a party begin?

Did Jesus smile and raise his hands in triumph or did he simply fade away, letting the mourners celebrate this good work.

John doesn’t tell us. Instead what he does is to tell us of a gathering days later in chapter 12. After the crowds had left, Lazarus empty tomb a gathering with Jesus was planned. The text tells us that Mary, Martha, Lazarus and Judas were there. Most likely a few others.

This gathering was for dinner. The purpose to say thanks to and to honor Jesus. The dinner was to honor the one who had given life back to Lazarus. This dinner was an opportunity for Martha and Mary to say thank you. The crowds were gone. The reporters onto the next news story. It was just them. Them alone in a house at evening time. A time for them to express their thankfulness.

Before we jump into how Martha, Lazarus and Mary expressed their thankfulness to Jesus, let me simply poise the question to you.

How have you expressed your thankfulness to your God?

How?

I’m not asking "if" you have or "when" you have but how?

How, in what ways, have you demonstrated a grateful heart to our God?

A week ago Friday we met up with some good friends at Larrabee State Park for a BBQ. It was a lousy day, but a beautiful time with them. Our menu that day was our burnt hotdogs, Doritos, cupcakes and juice.

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