The Beginning of End for Jesus
Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 3 Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, "Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick."
4 When Jesus heard that, He said, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it."
5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. 7 Then after this He said to the disciples, "Let us go to Judea again."
8 The disciples said to Him, "Rabbi, lately the Jews sought to stone You, and are You going there again?"
9 Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him." 11 These things He said, and after that He said to them, "Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up."
12 Then His disciples said, "Lord, if he sleeps he will get well." 13 However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep.
14 Then Jesus said to them plainly, "Lazarus is dead. 15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him."
16 Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with Him." NKJV
This passage comes some weeks before the crucifixion of Jesus. The conflict between Jesus and the Jewish leaders has become very intense. And Jesus has been staying away from Jerusalem. He has not gone back to Galilee but is beyond the Jordan River in an area called Perea.
Jesus is here when He gets news that Lazarus is sick. Jesus does not seem to make much of it. By what Jesus says, the disciples believe that Lazarus will be OK. Two days later Jesus unexpectedly announces to the disciples that He will now go back to Judea. The disciples remind Jesus of the danger that awaits them there. But Jesus alludes to Lazarus' death and how He will raise him from the dead. Jesus seems to be unconcerned by saying that He was glad that He and the disciples were not there when Lazarus had died.
When Jesus arrives close to Bethany, Martha goes out to meet Him. Her obvious pain is pointed in a statement of accusation more than a statement of fact. If you had been here, my brother would not have died.
Both sisters bring the same accusation before Jesus. But it seems that Martha's faith is more secure. Although it could be that Mary was just more emotional and not able to converse about her brother's death.
Let us look at some things we need to know about this event.
I. God does love us, and does care about us even when it doesn't appear that way.
A. Sometimes it appears that Jesus does not care.
1. He knows that Lazarus is going to die.
2. But yet he waits.
3. Doesn’t that seem kind of hard to you.
B. Even though Jesus knows this will be the beginning of the end for Him yet He comes to this family.
1. This even put in motion all the events that leads to Jesus death.
2. He could have avoided all this by going to Galilee or some of the more distant areas of the country.
C. When God has in mind our ultimate good, that doesn't mean that there will be no bad things in our lives on the way there.
1. It is not the good things that make our character, it is the hard times.
2. Heb 2:10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. NKJV
D. God looks beyond temporal situations to achieve greater goals. v-15
1. We want to be healthy, wealthy and wise.
2. God is working on some deeper issues.
3. He is working to make us like Jesus.
E. God's delays do not indicate He is not concerned.
F. That God's purpose is much broader than we can see.
1. It could be that God is using what we are going through to benefit someone we do not even know.
2. Jeremy Camp said that he fell in love with his wife at first sight. But it was not until she was in the hospital with cancer that she would even give him the time of day. When he went to visit her she confessed that if her illness would bring just one person to Jesus, than that would
G. God's love for us is not always seen in His actions toward us. v-15
1. We see this in Jesus' own life v- 7-10
2. No one suffered more but no one was loved more.
II. The Sisters
A. God is just as upset about the results of sin in this world as we are and even more.
1. They saw Jesus inaction as I don’t care.
2. But God is just as upset about the results of sin as we are.
B. But our anger is often more against God than the sin that causes pain, and death.
1. The lady whose husband died in the twin towers was more angry at God than the terrorists.
C. Jesus does not rebuke them for not believing.
1. Martha's faith is great v-27, 22
a. But faith for the future and faith for now are often different things.
D. We have a High Priest that is touched by the feelings of our infirmities. v-33, 44b
III. The power of Jesus cannot be denied.
A. Even Jesus' power does not bring some to faith but brings even more rejection.
1. The world loves the good things that Christians do, they just hate the reason why we do them.
2. Even today when God changes a life, the world will not accept that.
B. Even though the disciples didn't understand why Jesus would put Himself in danger they were willing to follow Him, believing that it would lead to their death. v-16
1. We need to follow their example.
C. The natural man is concerned more about themselves than the things of God. v-46-48
How about you. Are you more concerned with the things of this world than the next?