Summary: This is a great sermon to encourage weary hearts, to strengthen weakened faith, and to impart a fresh hope in people’s lives. Including your own!
There are many questions that immediately come to mind when we read this passage. Why was Lazarus sick? Why did Jesus wait two days after hearing Lazarus was sick? Why did Lazarus have to die? The questions are endless.
And so are the questions we often have as we go through our own type of difficulty and dillema. The "whys" of life can drive you crazy.
Before us today is a look at "Personal Crisis." By that I mean personal trouble. We watch the news, and we’re troubled. We read the newspaper, and we’re troubled. But when the trouble comes to our own house, we are not only troubled, but often we’re terrified!
This is a Personal Crisis. But we’re also looking at "Personal Christianity." It’s about your personal commitment to and trust in Christ. What we are in Christ will be revealed in the midst of a personal crisis. *A PERSONAL CRISIS WILL TEST YOUR PERSONAL CHRISTIANITY.
Understand that Jesus loved Lazarus. The Bible is very clear on that. Jesus loved him, but Lazarus was sick! You can be a saint and still be sick! That’s pretty clear in the scriptures. The love of God does not exempt one from sickness, nor sorrow.
Sickness, in the context we’ll use it, could be a number of things. Physical, emotional, mental, family problems, and so on. Sickness can be termed as "that which causes any area to be infected with imperfection." (The human nature is infected with sin. We are SIN-SICK.)
Yet knowing that God loves us, should serve as a sustaining force that gives us hope! Yet, hope is hard to have when "your brother is dead." When Jesus showed up, Lazarus had been dead and in the grave for 4 days. There may be an area in your life, which you were hoping would recover, that has "died." It seems hopeless.
The word of the Lord to you today is: THY BROTHER SHALL RISE AGAIN! You have not seen the last of your brother. Sometimes God will wait and bring deliverance on the far side of disappointment. Sometimes, you have to have faith after the funeral. After you’ve written it off. After you inwardly feel that it will not get better. you have to have an "after-the-funeral-faith."
And the hope for your situation does not depend on the "Jews" who are standing around your situation. It is dependent upon Jesus Christ alone! And there are sevral things that I want to share that can serve to give you hope in Christ.
1. THE CONTROL OF CHRIST - V. 4 says that Christ knew what was going to happen, and He knew why. The same is true in your life: Jesus is in CONTROL.
2. THE CHARACTER OF CHRSIT - V. 27 says that you must believe in Who Christ is. A personal crisis requires a personal faith, and that faith is founded on the character of Christ.
3. THE CONCERN OF CHRIST - V. 33-34 - Jesus sees every tear, and He doesn’t turn a deaf ear to your cry. He is concerned about you and your situation. Christ will, however, take you back to the place where you gave up hope - "Show me where you laid him down."
4. THE COMPASSION OF CHRIST - V. 35-36 - Some people may be uncomfortable with a God who cries, but it serves to draw you closer to Him, knowing that He is "touched with the feeling of your infirmity." The picture is of "THE CRYING CHRIST." He weeps. He weeps for you, and for the situation you’ve had to lay in the ground.
(Just a note on v. 37 - Disregard those who want to criticize Christ.)
5. THE COMMAND OF CHRIST - V. 39 - Many times we try to distance ourselves from the problem, refusing to deal with it, and deny its reality. We can become hard, stone-cold, and callused to the problem. We can get bitter toward the situation, toward life, and even toward God. Jesus says, "Take away the stone." He really says, "Let me into the situation, and let me handle it the way I want to." (And don’t let the "stink" stop you!)
6. THE CALL OF CHRIST - V. 43-44 - When they opened up the situation to Christ, the deliverance they had hoped for began to flow. When the cry came forth, it was Christ speaking DIRECTLY to Lazarus. God is about to speak DIRECTLY to some things that have had His people bound in grief!
You have to believe that THY BROTHER SHALL RISE AGAIN!
And when God raises those dead areas back up, look what it does, or what it should do.....
7. THE COMMUNION WITH CHRIST - In John 12:1-2, we see Jesus having restored fellowship with Lazarus and his family. When God brings deliverance, it’s for the purpose of renewing our communion with Him. Our communion with Christ should deepen after He brings deliverance.
Draw close to Him even now. Believe Him. Trust Him. And I believe His words will prove to be true.
THY BROTHER SHALL RISE AGAIN!