As we are being challenged to read and study the book of John, I wanted to share some of my personal sermon notes with you to help you understand the book. I preached through the entire book over the course of 1 year when I pastored First Baptist Church Del Rio. Enjoy!
Introduction—Life is fragile.
Read—John 11:1-16; 25; 38-44
Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” 4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” 8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.” 11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” 12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. 14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.
38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” 40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
- Your circumstance is for Jesus to be glorified through it
- Lazarus’s circumstance was his illness. In fact, he was so sick, his sisters sent word to Jesus to come and minister to him.
- Lazarus was very loved by Jesus so much so, that John mentions it in his Gospel here.
- Jesus reminds everyone that sickness does not mean death. Just because your circumstance may look bleak, it may look like its over, it may even appear that you have no life left in you, Jesus can change your circumstance in order that He would be glorified.
- The definition of “glorified” is that you elevate God to a special place in order to give Him all the praise, all the honor, and all the worship that He deserves.
- So you circumstance could be as bad as Lazarus’ and yet be an opportunity to glorify God.
- Jesus made sure that this particular circumstance would be the one that would set in motion the events to draw believers into a deeper walk with Him.
- In verse 4, Jesus says it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son would be glorified through it. This one of the greatest verses there is of how much God loves His Son Jesus and how much He loves His people, us.
- Lazarus circumstance led God to decide now would be the time to show the world God’s ultimate plan. A plan where not even death would separate us from His love.
- Jesus would be on elevated display by the Father’s instruction so that He may be glorified through it (the Death of Lazarus).
Illustration—Sickness is an opportunity to draw near to God and to others. It is your chance to Love God and to Love others.
Application—Have you allowed your circumstance to glorify God? If not, then why not?
- You should trust Jesus in your circumstance
- This is where maturity in your Christian walk is need most—trust. Trust is so hard. We have a natural instinct to want to be in control of our situation.
- Even the disciples asked Jesus what are you talking about?
- In verse 8, they said, “look Jesus”, you will be walking into a death trap if you go back to Judea. They already wanted to stone you the last time you were there.
- In verse 12, they said sleep is good, Lazarus will get better if he sleeps.
- Then in verse 16, our good friend doubting Thomas arrives on the scene for the first time in the book of John. Thomas says alright then, we should go ahead and go so we can all die together with Jesus.
- When you trust Jesus with your circumstance, you can have peace about what will actually happen instead of what you think might happen
- We get ahead of ourselves too much of the time and we second guess what God is trying to teach us.
- Slow down, and allow God to marinate for a time. Let the Word of God soak into your heart. Let God season you with the Salt of the Earth it says in Matthew 5:13
Application—Have you trusted Jesus with your circumstance?
- Your circumstance can lead to new life
- Jesus says to Martha in verse 25, I am the resurrection and the life, and even if you die you will live if you believe in me.
- Jesus is the One who gives life.
- Jesus was emotional over the circumstance as all the others were as well. He loved Lazarus. He loved Mary. He loved Martha. He loved the people that were gathered there. He loves people, so when we hurt, Jesus hurts with us.
- Jesus orders the stone to be rolled away and now Martha is challenged by Jesus to trust Him.
- He prays to God a pray of thanksgiving knowing His prayers have been answered. He knows His father so well that this event is a done deal in Jesus mind. He only prayed so that those around Him would understand that He was sent here to conquer death not only in the Life of Lazarus, but in your life and mine as well.
- Jesus called out, He cried out, He commanded Lazarus to “come out!” And then he said to the group to take off the grave clothes and let him go.
Conclusion—Lazarus was physically dead, wrapped in grave clothes, and in the decomposing. He was loved by his family and most of all be Jesus. Jesus allowed the death to happen as a preview of what would happen to Him. Jesus would die a cruel death and stay in the grave not 1 day, not 2 days, but 3 days before rising to life so that we could live for Him. One day you too will go to the grave and then you will be raised to life so that you can live in eternity with Jesus or sadly without Jesus. You see you have a choice today to live your new life by trusting in Jesus to overcome your death. What will it be? Jesus will one day say to you to take off the grave clothes and go!
Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,