My pastor at Powerhouse Baptist Church allowed me to preach last Wednesday night as part of the book series on “3 Steps Forward, 2 Steps Back” by Charles Swindoll. This would be my first and last preaching 0-at least for this year. Here is my working outline (incomplete without the intro and concluding application):
Intro: Who They Are (v. 1-2)
Martha, Mary and Lazarus
The same sisters who have some misunderstanding on what to do in face of Jesus when he visited them. Also Mary who anointed the fet of Jesus for burial with an alabaster worth of 1 year’s wage.
1. Jesus Informed (v.3-6)
Loved?-Affectionate-Emotional Attachment. Maybe His kind of people as a man. Genuine likeness for all of them-Not eros-sexual love which is prevalent being insinuated by others. Why can’t we like others without the sexual factor? It is because of the lie that is peddled to us every time in our society.
God’s glory, God’s Son glorified- This sickness will not end in death!-So weird a term. we don’t know it especially our hearts.
He waited for 2 more days-but he did wait- for He is already dead when he received the message. Needed to prove that he is really dead when he has to raise him. See slide.
2. His decision to go to Bethany (v. 7-11)
He made enemies when he healed the man born blind, Also when he taught about the Bread From Heaven
12 hours of daylight-when he is given by the Father to do what he have to do-prepare his disciples and the people and then die at the right time-then night time comes
Fallen sleep-euphemisms for Christian later who die in the lord-for he will wake us up at the last day.
3. Lazarus Dead (v. 12-16)
Disciples are hard headed-cannot see thru the usual, language of the Lord. So he make it plain so that there will be no misunderstanding later. He teaches then do it.
I am glad for your sake
Thomas comment- Loyalty with a tinge of pessimism. He will go with him-but it will be suicide. Later –if not for the fact that Jesus protected them in the Garden-that they will be able to escape-or they would have been crucified one-by-one .
4. Bethany-4 days Tomb (v.17-19)
Bethany 3 kms from Jerusalem- 4 days-undeniable fact that Lazarus was dead and is now in a state of decomposition.
And since Martha’s family is prominent and near to Jerusalem-there are many onlookers. Ready for the grand miracle Jesus will be doing.
5. Jesus and Martha (v.20-27)
Mary stayed home-loss of appetite and strength due to grief.
Lord if oyu have been here…Not unbelief but Martha’s faith at this point is based on what Jesus had done before. She is not prepared for what He will be doing later. And yet She hopes-against hope. Against what she can fully understand or experience.
Even if Jesus keeps affirming that the source of life and resurrection-she does not get. Even when she affirmed that He is the Christ and the Son of God. Comprehension fails when face with the Revelation of the glory of the Son.
Our eyes cannot see directly towards the Sun. Nor faith fully comprehend what Grace is .
Faith seeking, Faith not able to grasp God’s Glory
6. Martha And Mary (v.28-31)
Martha Secretly told Mary-so as to maybe have her help him to do something-even when their minds cannot fathom it yet.
Why not rushing to Jesus? Maybe she gave up hope when Lazarus died-he might be their youngest –and thus dear to them. And his loss shock her and she felt numb afterwards.
Only when she learns that Jesus islooking for her that she woke up from stupor-mindlessness.
Thus the onlookers or professional mourners saw-and they follow her-they thought she was going to the tomb.
7. Jesus and Mary (v. 32-35)
And due to the grief and physical -mental exhaustion brought by the death of their brother-she fell at his feet- pouring her hearts to her. And maybe pleading –for something He can still do.
Teachers/ Rabbis are prominent members of the society and it is an honor that Jesus can visit them . Teachers will be restrained and dignified when they attended such wake (Greeks and Romans do) . B
But Jesus did not do this . He truly cares for them even when He is trying to fulfill His mission and give His father the Glory due to him. In fact He is willing to exercise more- that even if it will mean that others will plot to kill Him after this.
Kuhbler-Ross diagram on 5 stages of grief (1969-On Death and Dying). Shows that 5 stages or qualities that bereaved members experienced when their love ones die. Some are evident with Mary.
And Jesus wept-
It is also a good for us for us –not to speak so much but just be present- and weep with those who weep-or be silent in the face of such grief. Let us not be the three wretched friends of Job who does not let-up in condemning him- and speak of long theologies when your are physically,mentally, emotionally and spiritual in tortured situation.
8. Mixed reactions (v.36-37)
How He loved him-They admired
Why did he let him die?-But others throws insinuations that he does not really care-and it is only for show.
9. Take Away the stone (v.38-40)
At the command of Jesus-he wanted the stone taken away-but here Martha’s faith also failed-she cannot see through the rotting flesh she can smell-
And was it so glad that Grace and God does not depend on what our faith can grasp-in order for Him to do His work!
Jesus equates the Glory of God to the Raising of Lazarus. God’s glory in our resurrection- Not a glory on His own –but shown in his redemption. His power to overcome death- which sin set loose at the beginning of time.
10. Lazarus Raised (v. 41-44)
Jesus talked with the Father- For the sake of those hearing
And called a dead man –with clothes wrapping him like a mummy. Lying down in that situation and yet able to hear the voice of His Master-this miracle out a shock of what Jesus can really do. And who he really is
Conclusion: Others believed, others conspired to get him killed
So others believe-and yet others remain in their unbelief or is hardened in it.
Here are the powerpoint slides I prepared for this talk: