Summary: Travels with Jesus…Bethany – with grieving friends - John chapter 11 verses 17-44 – sermon by Gordon Curley PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: email@example.com
(1). The Comfort of Knowing God Cares.
(2). The Comfort of Knowing God’s Presence.
(3). The Comfort of Knowing God’s Promise.
(4). The Comfort of Knowing That God Has a Plan.
• Neil Thomas Douglas, is a photographer;
• Who was travelling to Galway from Glasgow via Stansted to photograph a wedding.
• When he got on his Ryanair flight,
• He noticed that there was already a man in his seat.
• He politely asked him to move and when the guy looked up,
• The 32 year old got the shock of his life!
• The man sitting in his seat was 35 year old Robert Stirling,
• Whose striking similarities means he could easily be his twin brother.
• (Google story for photos or email me)
• Now that was bizarre;
• But it turns out that they both also booked into the same hotel in Galway;
• And later that night they both ‘bumped’ into each other at the same pub.
• TRANSITION: Bizarre and strange things can happen when you travel!
• As illustrated in the story of Neil Douglass and Robert Stirling.
• The story we are looking at this morning starts in a bizarre way:
• Verse 6 tells us that when Jesus got news from the two sisters,
• And this news was an emergency-come-quickly cry for help message.
• He stays where he was for two days!
• He is in no hurry to go and he sends no message back to the sisters,
• They are left in silence watching their brother Lazarus die!
• Well, let us park the story there for a moment;
• And we will come back to it in a few minutes time.
• Now in our travels with Jesus we have arrived at Bethany.
• Question: What do we know about Bethany?
• Answer: Some facts & trivia regarding Bethany.:
• Its origin:
• Bethany first became a settlement, a village in the 6th century B.C.
• Its name Bethany means…well actually the experts can’t agree on its meaning;
• Some say it means, 'house of song', others 'house of affliction', others, 'house of figs'.
• Still others say; 'house of the poor'
• Ancient Bethany was the site of an almshouse for the poor;
• And a place of care for the sick.
• i.e. Mark in his gospel tells of Simon the Leper's house there (14:3-10);
• Its location:
• Bethany was a small village on the eastern slope of Mount Olivet:
• About four miles from Jerusalem.
• Today it is an Arab village called ‘Al-Azariyeh’, an Arabic version of Lazarus.
• The original village was probably higher up the hill to the west of the tomb of Lazarus.
• The gospel writers sometimes refer to the village as ‘his’ (Jesus) base;
• When going in and out of Jerusalem.
• (Matthew chapter 21 verse 17; Mark chapter 11 verses 11,12&19).
• It’s popularity.
• Bethany or 'El-Azarieh' is a popular pilgrimage site;
• Because it contains a house believed to be 2,000 years old.
• It is believed ‘by some’ (mainly the tourist board);
• To be the House of Martha, Mary & Lazarus,
• Well, it at least serves as a reminder of a house from that time period.
• Bethany also hosts the now well-visited “Tomb of Lazarus”
• Which is located at the southeast edge of the ancient village ruins.
• Three people lived in one particular house at Bethany.
• They were close friends of Jesus, and Jesus visited them on a number of occasions.
• The home at Bethany belonged to Martha (Luke chapter 10 verse 38).
• Which might indicate that she was a widow.
• For Jesus this was not just a house but a home,
• It was an oasis, a hideaway, somewhere to go and relax!
• Here he can switch off and relax, he can ‘recharge his batteries’.
• Because he is able to enjoy the company of his three special friends:
• Mary, Martha & Lazarus.
• Friends who won’t demand miracles or ask leading questions.
• They just want to enjoy him and his company.
• It’s a home where He knows He is loved and accepted,
• Where He knows He can rest.
• Note: Jesus could relax in this home:
• So much so that in his final week (passion week);
• Jesus stayed in Bethany, traveling into the city each day.
• Four specific events are recalled in the Gospels, set in the village of Bethany.
• FIRST: It was the setting for the incident of Mary & Martha.
• (Luke chapter 10).
• When Martha had her priorities wrong and was busy doing;