Hope In Our Hopelessness, Part 3

Grace For The Journey

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11Oct  In the two blogs, we have looked at the passage in John chapter 11 verses 1-27 of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.  We have looked at several biblical truths that are presented in this encounter of Jesus with the sorrowing Mary and Martha.  We have come to the part of the passage where Jesus finally arrived and Martha has gone out to meet Jesus (verses 28-37).

These verses tell us that Martha – ever the high-controller – ran back home, secretly called Mary, and said, “The Teacher has come and is calling for you.”  Perhaps Martha did this secretly because she wanted their time with Jesus to be private.  But whatever the motivation was for the secrecy, God clearly had other plans.  It was His purpose in all this to display His glory before the eyes of all.

When the Jewish people who were there to comfort the two sisters saw Mary jump up and run away, they thought that she was going out to the tomb of her brother to weep there.  They, no doubt, thought that they needed to take care of Mary too; so, they followed her out – only to find her fallen on the ground at the feet of Jesus.  “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died,” she said – in the very same words that Martha spoke to Him.

But interestingly enough, Jesus didn’t say the same thing to her as He had said to Martha.  Instead, He looked upon her as she wept; and then He looked upon the Jews that came with her as they also wept.  And the Bible tells us that “He groaned in the spirit and was troubled” (verse 33).  “Where have you laid him?” Jesus asked; and after they said to Him, “Lord, come and see,” that’s when we find those marvelous words, “Jesus wept” (verse 35).

Why did Jesus weep?  Wasn’t He about to raise Lazarus?  He certainly wasn’t sorrowing for despair as they were.  There can only be one reason.  And it is found in Hebrews 4:15-16, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16).

When Jesus said that He was

The resurrection and the life,

He didn’t speak as if He were merely

Giving a lecture in theology.

He spoke those words as a loving friend

Who felt very much the pain

Of the people around Him,

And sought to set substantial hope

And genuine comfort before them.

As He went to the tomb weeping . . .

Jesus not only made it plain

That He knew what it felt like

To lose someone through

The great enemy “death;”

He also made it plain that

He is the only One

Who can conquer it!

Still groaning in His heart, the Bible tells us that Jesus came to the tomb.  The tomb was a cave with a large stone rolled in front of it to close it off.  It must have had a very ‘final’ look to it.  And yet, Jesus commanded, “Take away the stone” (verse 39).

That’s when Martha just had to get another word in again. “Lord,” she said, “by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”  Like we have said before: Martha is “practical.”  But note those important words that Jesus spoke in response: “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God”? (verse 40).

The Bible is breathtakingly plain in the way it described what happened next.  It says: “Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.’  Now when He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth!’  And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave-clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go” (verses 41-44).

Some say that Jesus had to call Lazarus out by name; otherwise all who were dead would have come out!  And don’t miss the result: “Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had sent the things Jesus did, believed in Him” (verse 45).

Jesus went to great lengths to repeatedly affirm God’s purpose in all this.  It was the Father’s plan to display His glory through His Son Jesus – the One who is “the resurrection and the life.”  We find this purpose stated often in this passage.  Jesus had said that “this sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (verse 4).  He even told His disciples that He was glad for their sakes that He was not there to save Lazarus’ life, “that you may believe” (verse. 15). He told Martha, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” (verse 40).  When He prayed, He even affirmed to the Father that it was so that those standing around would believe that the Father had sent Him (verse 42). And when it was over, many who saw did believe in Him (verse 45).

I want to close today’s blog with these words . . .

All this is presented so that

As we go through times

Of hopelessness and helplessness

We will not be overwhelmed or overcome

But will look to the One who has ultimate power

Over all that goes on in life

And lean upon Him

For the grace and strength

That we need to see us through.

Tomorrow we will conclude our time in John 11.

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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