Summary: Message 19 from John's gospel focusing on Jesus' claim to be the resurrection and the life.
April 23, 2000
Pastor David Welch
“The Resurrection and the Life”
John is the Gospel of belief. Not everything Jesus taught and did was written but these were written that we might believe that Jesus is the promised Christ, the Messiah and in believing we might have life through His name. John records the powerful ministry of Jesus to everyday people in everyday life situations. Jesus demonstrated Himself to be the supreme answer to each of these situations.
Chapter 11 deals with one of the most feared enemies of all human history. It is an enemy that every one of you has had to face. It is an enemy that man can do nothing about although billions of dollars are spent every year trying to defeat it. It is an enemy that is no respecter of persons, prosperity or possession. It has no regard for age. This enemy often strikes without warning and tears at the very heart of the soul. This enemy brutally attacks someone somewhere in the world about every 2 seconds. No one escapes its visit. It is the very last enemy to be defeated by Jesus at His return. The enemy is of course -- DEATH
Jesus faced a multitude of enemies of the human soul and offered hope to all who believed. How would he face this most devastating enemy and what hope would he give to those who turned to him for help? Millions of believers all around the world gather today to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ; an event of history that stands as the very foundation of our faith.
Paul, in his most significant chapter concerning resurrection, clearly distinguishes the importance of the resurrection.
But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain; your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we witnessed against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. 1 Cor. 15:13-20
Jesus mercifully ministers to those he loved in the face of death and proclaims reliable information that furnishing hope and peace in the face of the mystery of death.
I. Inspect the text
A. Mary and Martha called on Jesus to help in time of sickness 1-3
Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. And it was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. The sisters therefore sent to Him, saying, "Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick."
Jesus was close to this family
Lazarus of Bethany was a close friend of Jesus. “He whom you ‘love’ (present tense)”.
The word for love used here is the friendship love (phileo). To have a warm fondness, a mutual admiration, companionship, friendship. He was the brother of Martha and Mary who were also very close to Jesus. In verse 5 we are told that Jesus ‘loved’ Martha, Mary and Lazarus with a committed love (agape). This word for love focuses on loving actions based on a decision of the will to do what is best for the other person.
Lazarus fell sick
John uses a common word for one who is without strength. The word has a broad range of meaning from physical weakness to spiritual weakness. This context indicates it is a physical weakness of a serious nature.
Mary and Martha called for Jesus to help
This family had witnessed the power of Jesus over sickness many times and naturally sent for Jesus at their time of crisis. There is more vulnerable time in life than when illness weasels its unwelcome way into our life. No other time does the frailty and fragility of humanity become more evident than when our physical bodies fail to function as designed. Medical science can do much but is still severely limited in its ability to keep us healthy. The visitation of sickness and weakness can be a grand incentive to cry out to God in our time of need. Not only on our own behalf but also on the behalf of others. This family calls on Jesus to intervene for their ailing brother Lazarus.