Summary: A sermon which celebrates Jesus as the Resurrection and Life.
“The Resurrection is a Person”
By: Ken Sauer, Pastor of East Ridge United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN www.eastridgeumc.org
Our nation is at war and young Americans have been and are being killed nearly every day.
There are gangs and gunfights in our communities.
A police officer was killed just last week.
Children are buying, selling and using illegal drugs—which will invariably rob them of their childhoods, and possibly ruin their entire lives.
There are many, many human beings who are living on the streets, without homes or family or friends…
…quite a number of these people suffer from some kind of mental illness.
Within our own families, our own congregation there is illness, mourning and death.
Often, we try not to notice…
…but sometimes we can’t help but notice…
…when the tragedy is as big as the New York skyline or as close as the passing of a loved one.
And then there is that awkward “I don’t know what to say” feeling that often causes us to send flowers instead of placing a phone call or stopping by to visit.
But, as awkward as it is, our Gospel Lesson for this morning forces us to take notice—as we are taken to yet another funeral.
Lazarus was dead and entombed.
Mary and Martha—sisters of Lazarus—were devastated.
Their family circle was broken and they were broken as well.
Their dearly beloved friend—Jesus—Whom they knew and loved so much was far away from them and didn’t appear to be in a big hurry to come to their rescue.
The whole town of Bethany seems to have been in mourning as Jesus is finally seen coming down the road…
…a little too late to do any good.
Everything seems so mournful and sad.
We are sure that Jesus often came this way and stopped at the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus for relaxation and genuine friendship.
They were some of His closest friends.
Had all that now ended with Lazarus’ death?
It seemed like it.
But we know that there is more to this story and that this Scripture is called “Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead”…
…because it has to do with Jesus going to the tomb and calling Lazarus to come out.
The stone is removed and, sure enough, Lazarus comes out “his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.”
And now there is rejoicing instead of weeping!
Look what Jesus has done in the face of death itself!!!
Jesus certainly is “the Resurrection and the life!!!”
Resurrection isn’t just a doctrine.
It isn’t just a future fact.
It’s a Person.
That Person is Jesus Christ.
And in order to be Resurrected we are called to trust and hope in Jesus just as Jesus challenged Martha to do.
Now Jesus didn’t come right away when He was told about Lazarus’ illness.
Why was this?
Why did Jesus allow all this sorrow to take place?
Could it be that Jesus wanted to show us that God is somehow bigger than the worst tragedy that can happen in human life?