- Sermon Notes
Living the Resurrected Life
John 11:17 – 45
April 17, 2022
Passover and what it represents is the most important pivotal point in the Bible. For that matter, it is the most important pivot point in all of history. The root of Passover can be found in the book of Exodus where Moses under the direction of God first institutes Passover.
They had to slaughter an unblemished lamb and put the blood of the lamb on the doorposts of their houses so the angel of death would pass over their houses, thus preventing the death of their eldest son. The blood of this lamb had no saving power, so why did it prevent the death of the eldest son of the household? The power lay in what it symbolized.
This event would become a picture and a prophecy of the real Lamb of God who was to come. Hundreds of years later, on another Passover, Jesus became the sacrificial Lamb for the sins of the world. His blood was the blood that held the real power. But his death was not enough. Something else had to follow to ratify the decree of forgiveness. There had to be a resurrection. It would be the proof that the power of death had been broken forever.
1 Corinthians 15:19-20, If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.
Jesus alluded to His resurrection on another occasion with the death of Lazarus, another situation that seemed hopeless. But with this event, Jesus gave a promise that would impact eternity.
We are going to look at the word of hope Jesus spoke into their temporal life, but with far reaching consequences to everyone’s eternal future, including ours. This is the key to living victorious in this life, and the next. We will see how this applies to our lives, our problems in the temporal, and how we are called to action by Christ is this world.
I. Hold on to Hope
There are two dimensions to this event. The physical dimension impacting Lazarus and his loved ones, and the eternal the spiritual dimension. Christ was using this event to teach an eternal foundational truth. He is Lord over death and what happens after we die physically.
The only way He could prove it, was by returning someone from the other side of the grave. This would show that He had intimate knowledge of what happened after death and in eternity, that He was active in that dimension also, and had the power to impact both dimensions.
A. Hold on to temporal hope
- Verse 17 – so when Jesus came, He found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days.
- The situation seemed hopeless. Jewish tradition taught that a person’s spirit departed from his body after three days. In the minds of the mourners, it was hopeless. Lazarus’ spirit had already departed.
- Is there a situation in your life that looks hopeless? It is dead and buried? Is the problem already past its sell by date? Jesus specializes in hopeless cases. When there is no way out, nowhere left to turn, we can turn to Him. There may not be a way out, but we can look up.
- Verse 21 – Martha says to Jesus, that if He had been there her brother would not have died. She is troubled by this. In other words, “Jesus, I don’t understand. Why is this not working out? Why weren’t you here?”
- Sometimes we have the same type of questions when we don’t understand what is going on. But immediately we hear her heart of faith. She says, “even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give you.” This shows that even though she doesn’t understand, she still has faith in Jesus.
- This is such a wonderful attitude and character trait to have. Even though we don’t always understand, we can still trust God. He can make a way when it seems impossible.
- Immediately Jesus gives her the promise that her brother will rise again. He gives hope in a totally hopeless situation. God can do the impossible.
- Do you today have a situation that seems hopeless? Hold on to hope that God can do the impossible according to His will and promise.
B. Hold on to eternal hope
- Verse 25-26, – Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”
- This is the axis of the whole story. Here is where the lines between the temporal and the eternal interweave. Jesus was speaking to her specific problem at this moment in time, but was also alluding to an eternal principle that would become the cornerstone of trusting for eternal life.
- Verse 25, – I am…– The moment Jesus said this, it must have taken them back to the stories they’ve heard from childhood where God spoke to Moses on the mountain and said, ‘I Am’. Jesus is the great ‘I Am’. He is the one who has ALL authority!
Matthew 28:18, And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”
Phil 2:9, For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
- ‘… the resurrection and the life.’ The word resurrection becomes personal here. It is not only an abstract noun but becomes a Person. He IS the resurrection. One can only be resurrected in Him and Have life in Him. It is imperative to understand that He is the source and embodiment of resurrection and life.
- Verse 25,26, “…will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.” What an amazing statement. What did Jesus mean by this? Paul gives the answer in Romans 6.
Romans 6:5-11, For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
- When we give our lives to Christ, we die to self, but live for Christ. That is what the baptism is a symbol of. It is an outward showing of what has happened on the inside.
- If you died to yourself, are resurrected in Christ, and living for Christ, you cannot die again. Those whose physical bodies die on this earth who are in Christ, just step over into eternity and keep on living with Him forever. They never die.
- There is however a second death for those who are not in Christ.
Revelation 21:8, But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
- So, one has a choice on this side of the grave: die to self, be resurrected in new life trusting in Jesus and never die again, or live for yourself, die without Jesus, and experience the everlasting second death forever. I’m so thankful for what Jesus has done to save us from the second death.
C. Jesus has compassion
- Verse 35 – Jesus Wept. This is such a touching part of the Scripture which blows my mind. Jesus knew the plan. Jesus knew the reason that Lazarus had to die. He even told the reason to his disciples before even arriving at the grave. Yet, when Jesus saw Mary and the others crying, he also cried. Why? He knew what was going to happen in a few moments.
- Jesus saw their heartache and their pain and had compassion for them. To such an extent that He cried with them. He felt their pain and experience their grief.
- Many times we go through things we don’t understand. We feel pain, frustration, and grief. Even though God sees the bigger picture and knows the reason, He does not stand apathetic towards us.
Psalm 56:8 You have taken account of my wanderings; (you have) put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?
- It is encouraging to know that God feels what I feel, and His love envelops me in the midst of it.
II. Trust Jesus for Life
Jesus is the source of LIFE. He IS life. There is no real, fulfilling life outside of Jesus. As such, He has the power over life and to give new life, not only in this physical world, but also eternally. He can also bring new life in situations that seem dead.
A. God bring the dead to life
- Verse 39 – Remove the stone. The stone is a symbol of something standing in the way of your resurrection. This resurrection might be needed concerning your whole life or a struggle in your life.
- There is nothing too difficult for God to handle, no sin too great to forgive. The naysayers might be saying that there is no hope. You have gone too far off track. Your life is filled with the stench of death. But Jesus says, remove the stone. If you believe, you will see His glory, even in your life.
- Verse 43 – “Lazarus, come forth.”What an unbelievable moment this had to be! Jesus calling on Lazarus, and then they hear shuffling in the grave. I tried to imagine what must’ve happened in the spirit. Death, the enemy, having to give up its claim on its latest victim, surrendering it to the one who every knee shall bow before and confess that he is Lord.
- In your life there is no power or enemy in the spirit that can stand against the word of Jesus Christ. This is the power we have received from Jesus.
- When Jesus sent out the 70 to go and proclaim the good news of the kingdom, they returned rejoicing saying that even the demons were subject to them in Jesus’s name. Then Jesus said the following:
Luke 10:18-20, And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”
- When we stand in authority in the name of Jesus, we are in real time affecting what happens in the spiritual realm.
- When we speak the Word against the enemy, the word of Christ, it has a massive effect.
B. We work with Christ
- Verse 44 – as Lazarus came out of the grave, we read that he was bound with wrapping and wrapped with cloth. Can you imagine the sight? He must’ve come hopping out of the grave, cocooned like a butterfly. It is interesting to note that the Bible says that he was bound around his head, implying that he could not see.
- Many times, when people are saved and come to Christ, they are still bound by mindsets, the effects of sin and lies they still believe which the enemy has programmed into them throughout their lives. They still cannot see the full picture of the resurrected life in Christ. They still cannot move freely. Like a butterfly in a cocoon, there is a lot of potential, but it is still inhibited.
- Verse 44 – ‘Unbind him…’ It is important to understand what is happening here. Jesus did not go to unbind Lazarus, but he told his loved ones and bystanders to unbind him.
- This alludes to the great commission we see in Matthew 28.
Matthew 28:19, Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you,
1 Corinthians 3:9, For we are God’s fellow workers…
- Just as Paul speaks about the body and the interaction of all its members, we once again see here that we are called to service as co-workers with Christ.
- Just as the bystanders had to unwrap Lazarus to set him free of his trappings, we have the calling and privilege to help people to get to know the truth, and The Truth, and be set free from those things that bind them.
- This is part of the resurrection message. Christ brings forth the resurrection of our spirits to new life in Him, and we are called to bring truth to people, teaching them, and discipling them to be effective followers of Christ.
- Life becomes the focus. Lazarus’ death was part of the story, but the focal point was the resurrection. That is the focal point of your story as well. Death might be, or might have been part of your story, but now the resurrection life is the story that overwhelms any other narrative.
- Which of these are you today? Either Lazarus that needs to be raised from the dead, or set free from bondage, or are you one of those ready to report for duty to help set the bound free?
17 So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about [a]fifteen stadia away; 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary, to console them about their brother. 20 So then Martha, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him, but Mary [b]stayed in the house. 21 Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” 23 Jesus *said to her, “Your brother will rise from the dead.” 24 Martha *said to Him, “I know that he will rise in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; the one who believes in Me will live, even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have come to believe that You are the [c]Christ, the Son of God, and [d]He who comes into the world.”
28 When she had said this, she left and called Mary her sister, saying secretly, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard this, she *got up quickly and came to Him.
30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still at the place where Martha met Him. 31 Then the Jews who were with her in the house and were consoling her, when they saw that Mary had gotten up quickly and left, they followed her, thinking that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 So when Mary came to the place where Jesus was, she saw Him and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 Therefore when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and [e]was troubled, 34 and He said, “Where have you laid him?” They *said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews were saying, “See how He loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could this man, who opened the eyes of the man who was blind, not have also [f]kept this man from dying?”
38 So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, *came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39 Jesus *said, “Remove the stone.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, *said to Him, “Lord, by this time [g]there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus *said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41 So they removed the stone. And Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 But I knew that You always hear Me; nevertheless, because of the [h]people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43 And when He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 Out came the man who had died, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus *said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
45 Therefore many of the Jews who came to Mary, and saw what He had done, believed in Him.