Saturday, April 1, 2017

Lent 5

Lent 5
2 April 2017
John 11:17-27, 38-54

Collect for the day
Almighty God, by Your great goodness mercifully look upon Your people that we may be governed and preserved evermore in body and soul; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. The raising of Lazarus. Sets the stage for Jesus’ entering Jerusalem for His passion. This event. Marks the conclusion of His public ministry.


The raising of Lazarus was the last straw. This pushed the envelope. It caused the religious authorities to act. They had to do something quickly. To rid society of the menace of Jesus.  The raising of Lazarus. Earned tremendous popularity. And notoriety.

There is nothing new about Jesus’ power to raise the dead.  He had already raised several people. In this instance. We see the reaction of Mary. Martha. And the people. The humanity expressed in Jesus’ weeping.  
The power of Jesus’ word.  And the teaching of His is the resurrection and the life to all who believe.  The raising of Lazarus shows us the power of life over death.  As Jesus has an Encounter with a dead man. Life eternal life is the outcome.

In this powerful encounter. The Evangelist John gives meaning to suffering.  Illness and death are considered means by which God is glorified. When we are ill. God’s healing reveals His glory. When we are dead. God’s raising us. Like Lazarus.  For the glory of God. In the resurrection. The glory of God’s power is manifest. This offers hope to the afflicted.  For they are assured of God’s help.

Jesus is fully human. He has the capacity to feel the hurts of friends. He shares the sorrow of Mary and Martha. He weeps with Mary over Lazarus’ death.
He expresses His love for His friends. Jesus weeps. And He knew what He was going to do.  In the raising of Lazarus. Yet, Human as He was. He was caught up in the situation. Fully engaged. He identified with His friends.

Jesus does not speak nor work independently. He was one with the Father.  And the Father gave Him His power to heal. Before raising Lazarus.

Jesus prays. God for hearing and answering His prayers. God worked and spoke through Him. The distinctiveness of Jesus. Was His unique oneness with the Father.

Through the media. William Schroeder. Who was recuperating from receiving an artificial heart, was seen and heard receiving a phone call from then President Reagan. It was a great honor.  An unforgettable experience. To get that phone call. Suppose you, like Mary, received a call from Jesus. That would be even more wonderful, would it not? To you Martha is saying, “The teacher is here, and is calling for you.”

Outline: Your response to Martha’s message —

1. Who is calling? None other than Jesus! 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.”

We may convince ourselves when we are facing difficult days, “All things work together for good to those who have been called according to His purposes.” (Romans 8:28) Why do we say these things? Do we say this because we believe them to be true?

Do we recite them because we need to believe it? Do we quote such passages to reminds us of the Father’s promises?
Do we need to be prompted into trusting God at lonely and challenging times? Like the anxious father. We need to confess. “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) As soon as Jesus received the word that His friend Lazarus was, sick… He stays put. When He heard that Lazarus was sick. He stayed where He was two more days. (v.7)

This request. Is very similar to His mother's at the wedding of Cana. “They have no more wine!” (2:4). She presents a need. But does not dictate to the Lord how He should respond.

In these requests. We have a model of intercession. That makes a need known to the Lord.  With humility.  And a recognition that it is His will that should be done.

Such humility and submission are key characteristics of true disciples. He knows your needs. He knew them before you even gave it a thought. And those needs and challenges. You will have tomorrow. He knows them. Even as we speak.

Your situation is not a surprise to Him. He is neither shocked. Astonished. Or annoyed. Your situation.  Which is taking all of your time and attention. - Take it to the Lord in prayer. Your anxiety.  Which is troubling you. – Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Your helplessness.  Indicates how much you need Him. Take it to the Lord in Prayer.

2. Whom does He want? None other than you! He knew how it felt to have loved and lost. Jesus knew what it meant to have His actions scrutinized and His words analyzed. Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.

How do you react when God appears to be silent? When you cry to Him day and night.  And your prayers go unanswered.  How do you feel? Has God given up on you? Does He still care? Remember He will never leave His own. He knows your needs, burdens joys and sorrows. As you carry them to the throne room of grace. Remain thankful.  As the Savior answers each petition in His own perfect time.

This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.

3. Why is He calling me? To comfort you. To share your sorrow. To express His love. Jesus' love for Lazarus and his sisters teaches us that our faith in God's love, even in the midst of adversity, is well grounded. This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.

In every situation. In every circumstance.  The Lord your God will shape, mold, and use everything to His glory and your good. He did this in the lives of Lazarus, Mary and Martha. And He will continue to do in your life.

Words –1,075
Passive Sentences -4%
Readability -81.0
Reading Level –3.6

Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS for private and congregational use

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