John 11 Resurrection

April 20, 2014    John 11:17 – 44   Resurrection

 

     Bob Hager shares the Call to Worship had just been pronounced starting Easter Sunday Morning service in an East Texas church. The choir started its processional, singing "Up from the Grave He Arose" as they marched in perfect step down the center aisle to the front of the church.  The last lady was wearing shoes with very slender heels. Without a thought for her fancy heels, she marched toward the grating that covered that hot air register in the middle of the aisle. Suddenly the heel of one shoe sank into the hole in the register grate.    In a flash she realized her predicament. Not wishing to hold up the whole processional, without missing a step, she slipped her foot out of her shoe and continued marching down the aisle.    There wasn’t a hitch. The processional moved with clock-like precision.

    The first man after her spotted the situation and without losing a step, reached down and pulled up her shoe, but the entire grate came with it! Surprised, but still singing, the man kept on going down the aisle, holding in his hand the grate with the shoe attached.     Everything still moved like clockwork. Still in tune and still in step, the next man in line stepped into the open register and disappeared from sight. The service took on a special meaning that Sunday, for just as the choir ended with "Hallelujah! Christ arose!" a voice was heard under the church shouting, "I hope all of you are out of the way ’cause I’m coming out now!"    The little girl closest to the aisle shouted, "Come on, Jesus! We’ll stay out of the way."

     Resurrection is a very important teaching and very powerful for human beings.   I am impressed to today with the resurrection.   The whole world is pot marked with graves.   Death as the bible tells us came from man’s sin.   Whether we believe in the bible or not death has marked man kind and life after death is really a big unknown for most people.   Many would deny that there is any life after death and many try to bury their fears of death.    But death seems to stalk mankind.   It is part of life and many folks who have pets have experienced the pain that death leaves behind.   When we are young it does not register much with most of us.   I remember when my grandmother passed and how my mom and aunts responded at the grave site.   But death is not such a big deal for us as Christians because of Jesus and our hope.

       Jesus makes some amazing claims in John 11:24 and 25 which is the story about Lazarus who died.    Jesus said to her I am the resurrection and the life.   He who believes in me will live even though he dies and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?    Jesus said whoever lives and believes in me will never die.   I believe in the scripture in the bible we have the answers to life.   We get the answers to why I am here.  Who made this world?   Is there life after death?   Can life have peace and meaning?   Why is my life empty?   Jesus claims to be life.   He claims to be resurrection life.    Jesus said he is the resurrection and the life.   Jesus claimed to be life.   Later in the gospel of John Jesus said I am the way, the truth, and the life and no one can come to the Father except through Him.   Now we know that anyone who is mentally disturbed or has great thoughts about what they can do can say anything that they want to.  It can be just so much hot air.    Most of the time their words do not amount to anything.  

      But the meat of the situation here is that Jesus tells them to remove the stone in front of Lazarus grave.   Lazarus sister protests to Jesus.   Did you ever protest to Jesus?   Lord that does not make any sense.  Your protest may not amount to a whole lot.   Certainly in this case it did not stop Jesus at all.   She protests Lord he is going to stink.   He has been dead for 4 days and it is hot out.  I do not want the smell.  I do not like the stench.   The flesh has been decomposing.   On the surface it would seem that the outlook here is not great.  Jesus can certainly see things that others do not see.    Jesus tells them did I not say to you if you believe you will see the glory of God.   Do you want to see the glory of God?   Believe.   It is hard to believe when someone has been dead for 4 days.   It is hard to believe when I have prayed for that person for years.   If you want to see the glory of God believe.  It is not believe in stupid things but believe in God and in God’s will what God wants to do.    Lazarus come out.   It was just three simple words but the one who spoke was God. .  Lazarus comes forth.   You can read in the gospel accounts where Jesus raised others from the dead.   Jesus tells them to take the grave clothes off Lazarus.   Some day all the grave clothes are going to be gone.  Jesus not only says he is the resurrection and the life but he proves it by raising Lazarus.  It is more than just talk with God.  There is power behind God’s word.

     I believe that this event gives so much more power and authority to Jesus own resurrection.   We sometimes do not think about that.  Some claimed that the disciples stole the body.   That is really weak claim because it was guarded by soldiers.    Some may claim that Jesus really did not die.  That is a pretty weak claim because the Romans knew when a person was dead on the cross and not breathing.   The Apostle Paul a few years later would claim over and over again I saw Jesus.  This was the man who persecuted Christians and did not believe in Jesus but then saw him.    Brothers and sisters Jesus is not in the tomb.   It was OK to borrow a tomb for Jesus because he wasn’t there very long.   He was just there a few hours.  It was just a short rental.    The resurrection is the heart beat and center of our faith and God has proved that to anyone who would investigate it with an open mind.   This is real.   This is truth.  There is a God and there is life after death and Jesus rose from the dead

       Here are a couple of quotes on the resurrection.      Our old history ends with the cross; our new history begins with the resurrection. ~ Watchman Nee.     Let every man and woman count himself immortal.  Let him catch the revelation of Jesus in his resurrection.   Let him say not merely, "Christ is risen," but "I shall rise." ~ Phillips Brooks.    Do not abandon yourselves to despair: We are the Easter people, and Hallelujah is our song. ~ Pope John Paul II.

    Jesus put you and me first before himself.  Jesus gave everything on the cross.  He suffered terribly because he loves you.   Today Jesus wants people who will put him first.   Jesus looks for Christians who are sold out to him not just in words but in deeds in reality.   If you put him on the throne of your life day by day there will be a flow to your life.   That does not mean that things will be perfect but you will see his blessing and His presence on your day. 

     We usually think about the resurrection at Easter time and celebrate life.   I am reminded from scripture that the same mighty power that raised Jesus from the grave is in us today.  That same power is in the Christian.    God has given us resurrection power to live a godly life.   God has given us power to share the good news.   God has given us power so that our lives may count for eternity.   We are a resurrection people.   We are a people with hope of eternal life.   We are a people of strength.   We reign and rule in Jesus.   We have the power to drive back the forces of hell.   Jesus took the keys of death and Hades.   We cannot live the Christian life in our own strength but we can with resurrection power.    We have resurrection power to say no to cheating on our taxes.   We have power to read the scriptures and to pray.   The resurrection of Jesus is for us today and also every day. 

     And Jesus is coming back.   He is coming back for us.   He is coming back to make all things right.   MISSIONARY Gregory Fisher writes: "What will he say when he shouts?" The question took me by surprise. I had already found that West African Bible College students can ask some of the most penetrating questions about minute details of Scripture. "Reverend, I Thess. 4:16 says that Christ will descend from heaven with a loud command. I would like to know what that command will be." I wanted to leave the question unanswered, to tell him that we must not go past what Scripture has revealed, but my mind wandered to an encounter I had earlier in the day with a refugee from the Liberian civil war. The man, a high school principal, told me how he was apprehended by a two-man death squad. After several hours of terror, as the men described how they would torture and kill him, he narrowly escaped. After hiding in the bush for two days, he was able to find his family and escape to a neighboring country. The escape cost him dearly: two of his children lost their lives. The stark cruelty unleashed on an unsuspecting, undeserving population had touched me deeply. I also saw flashbacks of the beggars that I pass each morning on my way to the office. Every day I see how poverty destroys dignity, robs men of the best of what it means to be human, and sometimes substitutes the worst of what it means to be an animal. I am haunted by the vacant eyes of people who have lost all hope. "Reverend, you have not given me an answer. What will he say?" The question hadn’t gone away. "Enough’" I said. "He will shout, ’Enough’ when he returns." A look of surprise opened the face of the student. "What do you mean, ’Enough’?" "Enough suffering. Enough starvation. Enough terror. Enough death. Enough indignity. Enough lives trapped in hopelessness. Enough sickness and disease. Enough time. Enough"