Summary: This is a hard lesson to learn. No one likes to wait. We want what we want from God when we want it. However, it is in our times of loneliness – loss- pain - sorrow - that we are driven to the very heart of God.
Dr. Wayne A. Lawson
Antioch Institutional Baptist Church
Oklahoma City, OK 73109
Preached Sunday, November 1, 2009
TITLE: THIS ONE
SCRIPTURE: ST. JOHN 11:1-4
I imagine that some have already settled in this morning ready to hear another sermon on Lazarus. I want to caution and encourage you to stay with me this morning; this will not be your traditional sermon on what we understand about the death of Lazarus. I want to focus strong this morning on practical application. If the Scriptures don’t become alive for us and we find a relevant message – it is to no avail.
This chapter centers upon a special home in the town of Bethany in Palestine. The name "Bethany" means house of dates. This was a special place and home for several reasons. It was special because Mary, Martha and their brother Lazarus lived there. These were two sisters and a brother who knew and loved the Lord Jesus Christ. Their hearts were open to Jesus and so was their home. Since there was no Motel 6 to leave the light on in that day, travelers depended upon the hospitality of the local people to receive them into their homes and help them along the way. This home was always open to Jesus and He would often stop, rest, and eat there.
This home was special because it was filled with the love of God. Jesus was always welcome here. This was a place of Rest and Refuge for the Savior during His earthly pilgrimage. In VS 2, John mentions one example as evidence of love in that home. He says, "IT WAS THAT MARY WHICH ANOINTED THE LORD WITH OINTMENT, AND WIPED HIS FEET WITH HER HAIR, WHOSE BROTHER LAZARUS WAS SICK.” In VS. 1, we read that news came to Jesus and His disciples informing him that Lazarus was sick. The disciples were all too aware of the attachment Jesus had with this home and especially Lazarus. Upon receiving the news, the disciples began to anticipate the Saviors response. In VS. 3 it says, "THEREFORE HIS SISTERS SENT UNTO HIM, SAYING LORD, HE WHOM THOU LOVEST IS SICK.”
• Mary and Martha did not give instruction for Jesus to come to their aid, that would be unnecessary.
• Surely He would come and with haste, after all, Jesus loved Lazarus
• Jesus would rush right over to Bethany and render aid to His friend Lazarus, or so everyone thought.
And somehow these sisters, in a distressed frame of mind were able to send a message to Jesus. And the message is absolutely beautiful. It is just loaded with truth. Listen to it, VS. 3, "LORD, BEHOLD HE WHOM THOU LOVEST IS SICK." And you can almost catch the flavor. The word "BEHOLD" could be translated "LISTEN." Lord, listen, the one whom You love is sick. It’s a tender, humble, beautiful, simple message. There is no medical diagnosis there. Lord, Lazarus has compound whatever of the whatever. It doesn’t say that at all. It doesn’t say Lord, here’s the problem, now we’ve ... You’ve got to do something, Lord. No, it doesn’t even ask Him to do a thing. Did you look at it again? It doesn’t even ask the Lord to do anything. It just says, "Lord, listen, the one You love is sick."
• That’s all.
• It doesn’t tell Him what to do.
• It’s a surrender of love.
• It just says, "Lord, here’s a need," and that’s all it says.
• It doesn’t even say his name is Lazarus.
• But the Lord knew who He loved. No problem there.
t has a lovely Humility. I like it because there aren’t any instructions in it. How do you talk to God? "God, oh I have a need, now let me tell You how to work it out." See. "God, if You’ll just do this and do this and make him do this or make her do that, that’s..." You don’t need to do that. "Lord, here’s a need." Give it to Him, that’s it. That’s all it takes. You don’t have to say, "God, here’s my need now let’s work on the solution." No. They didn’t do that. They just said, "Here’s a need, Lord." That is the surrender of love. Here’s my need, there it is. Lord, I’m just going to leave it with You. That’s it. That’s really good – that’s all it takes.
It is at this Juncture that the narrative takes an interesting turn. Jesus did not do what His disciples and loved ones anticipated Him to do. As a mater of fact, I would suggest to you that they were bewildered by His response. The actions and attitude of the Savior wasn’t what they had anticipated.
• If we were honest, we would admit that there are times in our lives when we are bewildered by God