Summary: THe reaction to Lazarus rising from the dead.
The party John 11: 47- 57
I heard an interesting story last week. Apparently this pastor had just finished his message, said the closing prayer and went to the door to greet everyone and thank them for coming and of course to hear what they had to say about the message. And as one man was leaving he said, “Pastor, I think that was an amazing message, as a matter of fact I think you’re smarter than Albert Einstein” and with that, he walked out the door. And as everyone else went out the Pastor thought about that comment for a real long time. I mean, he knew his message was good but he also knew it wasn’t that good.
And so the next Sunday when he saw the man who made the comment he asked him what he meant. And he said, “They tell us Albert Einstein was so smart, that only ten people in the whole world really understood what he was saying, but I don’t think anybody understands you.” (And I’m sure we’ve all met those people at the door at one time or another.)
People always worry about how long the message will be but I’ll tell you the same thing Elizabeth Taylor told her eight husbands, “Don’t worry, I won’t keep you too long.”
Now, just before last week we spent two weeks looking at this miracle of Lazarus rising from the dead and we also looked at both the opposition of the Jews and the questions from His disciples and others that Jesus had to deal with before He performed this particular miracle.
For instance, we saw how the disciples didn’t want to go back to Jerusalem for fear of the very Jews who had opposed the Lord. After all, the last time Jesus had been there everybody was trying to kill Him. So, that was the last place they thought He should go.
And then we looked at the messenger who came to tell Jesus that Lazarus was sick and Jesus told him to tell those who sent him, which of course were Martha and Mary, that Lazarus’ sickness was for the glory or God; and we realized what an awkward place this put him in. I mean, Jesus gave him a message of hope and yet it really didn’t make any sense when he got back because he found out that they had already entombed Lazarus who he was supposed to tell them was about to be healed.
And then we looked at the two sister’s Martha and Mary who thought that Jesus would do something for Lazarus and then it seems like they had the idea that Jesus had not only ignored their brother’s condition but He also ignored their message as well.
And we get the impression from the reaction of each of these that almost every time He turned around there was someone who had a problem with how He handled things. I mean, there were some who didn’t believe Him and there were many who just didn’t trust Him. And listen, these were supposed to be the believers.
No wonder the Bible says that Jesus was tempted at every point as we are and yet without sin. I mean, if this was you or I and we were constantly being misunderstood and everyone was assuming that we didn’t know what we were doing, wouldn’t we feel like either we had to explain everything in great detail or at least we’d want to somehow justify ourselves and hopefully stop the constant whining?
And yet, it seems like every where Jesus went and everything He did, He was the subject of unjust criticism and here we find He was constantly questioned by those who supposedly loved Him. And then without explanation He walked to the grave, called Lazarus to come forth, Lazarus came out and everybody was happy again.
And you can almost hear the comments as people would say, “Hey, your great Jesus, I knew you’d come through.” You know how it is, people would get close to Him and say, “Everyone else might have had their doubts but I was with you all the way.”
And these people were happy in the sense that they felt that everything had worked out the way it should have. And yet, we have to wonder what Jesus thought as He watched them celebrating this great miracle, because He could see the one thing that they couldn’t. I mean, as great as it was to have Lazarus rise from the dead, Jesus knew that it was only temporary because Lazarus would die again. And as I told you, in Israel they’ll show you the two places where he was buried.
We could think back about a few of the other miracles we looked at and wonder about the outcome of them, as well. For instance, as He fed the multitudes on the hillsides, I’m sure they all had been whining about how hungry they were and how hopeless their situation was and then Jesus fed them and not only was everyone satisfied but it says they had twelve baskets full left over. So, first they were starving and then they had more than they could eat. Can you imagine being part of that miracle?