Jesus performed many miracles while He was here on earth, so much so that the bible states that to list them all would be a great task indeed. Did the Lord perform these miracles to show off?
There is a more practical reason, He did them that we might believe.
Gospel of John Chapter 11.
John Chapter 11 verse 1.
Where it says. Now a certain man was sick Lazarus of Bethany. The town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wipe his feet with her hair. His brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore the sisters said to him saying Lord behold he whom you love is sick. When Jesus heard that he said this sickness is not until death but for the glory of God that the Son of God may be glorified through him. Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that he was sick he stayed two more days in the place where he was. Then. After this he said to the disciples Let us go to Judea again. The disciples said to him Rabbi Layli the Jews sought to stone you. And are you going there again. Jesus answered. Are there not twelve hours in the day. If anyone walks in the day he does not stumble because he sees the light of this world but if one walks in the night he stumbles because the light is not in him. These things he said and after that he said to them our friend Lazarus sleeps but I go that I may wake him up. Then his disciples said Lord if he sleeps he will get well. However Jesus spoke of his death. But they thought that he was speaking about taking rest and sleep. Then Jesus said to them plainly Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.
Then Thomas who is called the twin said to his fellow disciples Let us also go that we may die with him. So when Jesus came he found that he had already been in the tomb four days now Bethany was near Jerusalem about two miles away and many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary to comfort them concerning their brother. Then Martha as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming went and met him. But Mary was sitting in the house. Now Martha said to Jesus Lord if you had been here my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God God will give you. Jesus said to her Your brother will rise again. Martha said to him I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
Jesus said to her I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me though he may die he shall live and whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this. She said to him Yes Lord. I believe that you are the Christ the Son of God who is to come into the world and when she had said these things she went her way secretly calling Mary her sister saying the teacher is come and is calling for you. And SOON AS SOON AS. She heard that she arose quickly and came to him. Jesus. Had not yet come into the town but was in the place where Martha met him. Then the Jews who were with her in the house and comforting her when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out followed her saying she is going to the tomb to weep there. Then. When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him she fell down at his feet saying to him Lord if you had been here met my brother would not have died. Therefore when Jesus saw her weeping. And the Jews who came with her weeping he groaned in the spirit and was troubled. And he said. Where have you laid him. They said to him Lord come and see. Jesus wept. And.
The Jews said see how we loved him and some of them said could not this man who opened the eyes of the blind also kept this man from dying.
Then Jesus began groaning in himself came to the tomb. It was a cave and a stone lay against it. Jesus said Take away the stone. Martha the sister of him who was dead said to him Lord by this time there is a stench. For he has been dead for days. Jesus said to her did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God and 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 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. This is the Word of God.
Let’s pray. Heavenly father.
Lord we come before you. With all humility. We come before you Lord. Because you are our God and we are your people.
We know that when you give your word you are faithful to keep it. The things you have told us, seem extra ordinary to most people but when we read them. We know that you love us so much. You always keep your word to us. Maybe we don’t understand it in the moment. Maybe we don’t understand what we’re going through and maybe we don’t get it.
When we’re going through the hard times.
But Lord. We know that you feel. The same emotion that we do because you love us.
And you sympathize with us.
And that you are the resurrection and the life. And that if we put our trust in you.
This is where life is found.
And so Lord. Let us be willing to put our hope and our trust in you. Let us not waver. Let us not lose our hope because of circumstances around us even when they seem insurmountable. But let us remember. The truth.
We just ask this in Jesus name. Amen.
Now there are a lot of interesting things to this passage of Scripture. I mean you could break this down and preach on it for weeks and weeks and weeks. And I figure you guys really don’t want to sit here for weeks and weeks and weeks. So I just want to touch on a couple of a couple of important points. Number one Jesus is not showing off here. You know a lot of times you might think oh you know you see someone who does. I went and saw David Copperfield a few weeks back. Pretty neat stuff. He made stuff disappear and made a puppet talk. I don’t know. Just cool stuff. But it was all a show it was. There were no real magic. There was no real miracle happening there.
But it was good entertainment. The fact is that Jesus was not entertaining people. Lazarus had actually died.
And there’s an interesting thing to notice here and notice the love that Jesus has not only for Lazarus but for his sisters. And you notice that even as it states that Jesus loved Lazarus.
That. He allowed Lazarus to die.
In the midst of stating that Jesus loves Lazarus. He allows Lazarus to die. I don’t know about you but dying is not my idea of a good time. Dying is not my idea of fun. It really isn’t.
But here’s the thing. Lazarus went through it anyway. Why.
So that we could get a foretaste of the glory of God. Do you know what the glory of God is? It’s synonymous with the Kingdom of God. How many of you want to live with the Lord without disease and sickness and ailment and pain?
Anybody a fan of that? you know I don’t like hurting.
You know and I go and I try to exercise I try to eat right. We were talking about it this morning how you know you have to stay away from some things if you don’t want to hurt. As a diabetic if I eat sugar and I tell you people bring sugar all the time to where I work it’s crazy. They bring sugar and you know you have the temptation. My son yesterday we went to go visit my son who was working on my parents house and then he’s going to take off to Nebraska. We wanted to see him real quick before he took off. We stopped by you know what he had. He had a bag of these little candy bars. My favorite candy bars that my grandmother used to keep you know kept the little Mr. Goodbar in the dark Hershey’s and and the crackle and anyway it’s just chocolate. And it’s like yes he’s like Dad would you like some chocolate? Yes please. You know, it’s a little piece of chocolate. Just a little…
Like be careful. And then then it’s to say that you want some more chocolate? Yeah you know. And then the third time and Jo’s like. That. But she’s taken the chocolate too. You know I’ll just saying.
But pain is a part of this life. You know you eat the chocolate at least I do if I eat the chocolate. My legs start to hurt. It’s just it’s guaranteed. Happens every time. I can eat just a little bit. Few minutes later get the shooting pain going down my legs because my diabetes acts up because I’m not supposed to eat that much sugar. So just keep the carbs and the sugar under control.
You know what? When Jesus rules and reigns when he sets up His kingdom and sin is dealt with this is the good news. There will be no more pain. There will be no more sorrow. We won’t have reason to hurt. We won’t die any longer. The fact is that Jesus will set up his kingdom. We will only have to go through the death once we won’t have to suffer the second death. That’s what Jesus was referring to. What I went to look at. Is the fact that Jesus did these things for his glory for the glory of the father not for his own glory not to show off you know how often did Jesus say you know you’re only coming back so I can give him more bread and fishes. That’s the only reason you come back see me do the miracles again. So that’s not what we’re in this for. We’re not in this for the miracles. But how many of you would like a taste, of the age to come? the Messianic Age, the kingdom of God? Some might even refer to it as heaven. The fact is that what we’re looking forward to. Has all of the sin, all of the pain, all of the sorrow and the anguish removed from it. And the good life is to be found the abundant life is found in that kingdom that Jesus offers. So what I want to look at this morning is the fact that yes there is pain in this life yes there is suffering that the Lord allows us to go through.
And there’s even death that we’re allowed to suffer. But the fact is Jesus promised us. That we will be raised from the dead. Jesus promised that there would be eternal life. The fact is that we will see death. We will see suffering in this life but in the age to come those things are dealt with and we will live an abundant and productive life in Jesus.
And I’m looking forward to it. I don’t know about you but we’ll look at that more here in just a few minutes.
So when we look at the story of Lazarus You know there’s a lot been made of it. A lot of different ways to look at it. You know we always have to ask the question What is the purpose of the miracles that Jesus performed.
Have you ever wondered that. I mean. A lot of people would say it’s to identify him as. Jesus or identify him as the Messiah as the sent out one of God.
And there is some truth in that there is some truth that Jesus was said to perform miracles and that the miracles were a business card if you will to say yes I’m really Jesus.
I’m really the Messiah. There’s a problem with that. It’s you know other people do miracles besides those that follow the Lord. The Lord sent many prophets. He sent many people to do miracles. Now before Jesus came onto the scene there was that silent period between the Old Testament the New Testament. There was those many years when not a whole lot happened as far as miracles go. Now Jesus made the point that the devil doesn’t do miracles to divide his kingdom.
But the devil does perform some type of miracles to gain followers. And Moses was very clear that there will be some that come and do signs and wonders and miracles. Usually though when those things occur they are false miracles. Usually they’re not acts of God. They look like it. I mean it like I was talking about David Copperfield earlier Have you ever seen any of these magicians on TV that can walk on water walk up the side of a building or do all sorts of amazing things. Well I’m here to tell you those look amazing but they’re fake.
They’re they’re just misdirection.
You know I like playing around with cards I think it’s kind of fun and you know some of us have done that to where you know you think one card is going to come up but really another card comes up, right? How did you do that? Well, cards are easy to use to fool people because they’re flat then you know you don’t realize how many cards somebody is holding in a lot of cases.
The fact is that the devil can perform false miracles, when Moses went before the Pharaoh. They performed real miracles. They turned their staffs into snakes as well. I like the way the Hebrew puts it. There’s actually room in the Hebrew of what is a different Hebrew word of what Moses had happen when he threw his staff down versus the Hebrew about the snakes that the false prophets threw down.
It says snakes in the Hebrew, but there is wiggle room in the Hebrew that it might have been an alligator that Moses when he threw his staff, it could still be a snake. But I just like to think what if Moses threw down that staff and an alligator you know swallowed. That’s why it swallowed the other snakes. He just had them for breakfast real quick. I like that. I think it’s cool you know but it’s probably just me being a guy you know probably just snakes.
But anyway I just like the idea of it the fact that God performs bigger better miracles I believe he does. So I’m holding out hope that that’s still the correct translation. Fact is that miracles in and of themselves.
Well. They can be misused. They can be faked sometimes.
And certainly that could be the case with someone dying. You could make it look as if someone died when really they hadn’t. But the fact is they had put Lazarus. And there’s a reason why Jesus waited three days. Or four days actually sorry. There’s a reason why because everybody believed after three days it’s over and if somebody went without eating for four days.
Come on he’s been dead. He was sick. We all watched him die. We wrapped him up. We put him in the tomb. We put a stone in front of the tomb because it’s going to stink if you don’t put a stone. And animals are going to run off with the dead body. It’s just awful. So they put him in the tomb to allow the decay process to happen.
And then a year later to scoop up those bones and put them in an actuary and then have better storage.
You know, that’s what they did.
And. What I think is fascinating is if we look at the text again in John Chapter 11.
It says that Jesus loved Lazarus. I think that’s important. Verse 3 says therefore the sisters sent to him saying Lord behold he whom you love is sick. When Jesus heard that he said this sickness is not unto death but for the glory of God that the Son of God may be glorified through it.
And again Jesus is talking about the fact that. Lazarus isn’t going to stay dead. Yet. You have to understand that.
What was expected was the normal death process and Jesus says that’s the normal thing isn’t going to happen that’s what he was saying. What normally happens is not going to happen this time yes he’ll die. But he’s coming back. And this is to show us Lazarus is loved by Jesus. That’s an important thing to remember. Lazarus is loved by Jesus and yet Lazarus is allowed to die.
Again I don’t think this is any fun for anybody to go through the dying process. It’s just not. Lazarus went through it.
Jesus allowed him to go through it. Why? For the glory of God.
Look, I don’t want to go through the dying process more than once if I can avoid it. But the fact is that if the Lord could use my death for his glory and then raise me up again. OK. Not a big fan but I think Lazarus was in the same position. If he had known ahead of time that the Lord’s going to raise him back up. OK. If I have to go through this to expand the kingdom of God OK I’m going to go through it. Jesus loved Lazarus but he did not let Lazarus know what he was about to go through. It and sent word back he could have sent a messenger back. Lazarus was going to die but I’m going to raise him from the dead. It will be OK.
He said that right. He could of had Mary and Martha not go through the grieving process for four days. The grieving process is no fun either. Right? When we mourn our loved one that is not our idea of a good time for sure.
But yet Jesus allow these two women whom he loved to go through this.
What can we learn from this?
The fact is that the Lord loves us and things still happen in our lives whether we like them or not because of the world we live in. Death is a natural part of this world right now.
I would call it an unnatural part of this world but we’re so used to death being in this world that. It’s all it’s almost natural. The reason that death is here is because of sin right. There isn’t sicknesses here is because of sin. But here’s the thing we don’t always know why we are allowed to suffer the way that we suffer. We don’t know. Sometimes people die. It’s over it’s quick it’s easy. No suffering. Other times they need to be dragged away kicking and screaming. I don’t know why. Why is it that the Lord allows some people to die instantly and other people to linger, to suffer.
I don’t know. I don’t have the answer to that. I can’t give you the answer to that because that’s above my pay grade. That’s something that only God understands. And Jesus, being here on planet Earth operated the same way with Lazarus someone he loved. Right? It says that he loved Lazarus. And he allowed Lazarus to go through this suffering.
He allowed him to die. Because. It was good for the kingdom that he die.
Jesus suffered and died. Keep that in mind. God doesn’t withhold suffering from himself. In fact the Bible tells us that God is long suffering, unwilling that any should perish, right? What does that tell you? God is suffering, long. Do you realize that God cannot abide sin in his presence? Did you realize it is agony? It’s like allowing himself to be sick all the time. To allow sin to be here in us, in any way shape or form is like allowing him to be sick all the time. He is suffering because of sin. He can’t stand to see us suffering. He can’t stand to see sin in this world because how many of you know sin is unfair?
Has anyone been murdered? Has anyone been treated unfairly hurt unfairly? Has anyone suffered because of another person’s choices?
Yeah, all sorts of people. Why does God allow that to happen? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard atheists say well if God were a loving God he wouldn’t allow any suffering at all. Yeah that’s convenient right. But what must to end in order for sin to end?
You can have a choice anymore about whether you will send or not. And therefore you can’t choose God or reject God. The one thing God wants is for you to be able to choose him of your own free will for you to choose to do what is right and good of your own free will. He doesn’t want a bunch of Mind Numb robots he doesn’t want to program you. OK. We’ll do everything perfectly. You know I I will no longer sin.
God doesn’t want that. Why?
Well it’s the same reason I don’t want my wife to be a mind numbed robot. I love you. I love you. Yes dear I’ll do whatever you say dear. Yeah. Now that doesn’t you know let’s face it she has a free will and she tells me no all the time. You know let’s go to Albuquerque, no. Let’s go to hobby lobby. No I don’t want to go to Hobby Lobby she tells me. Can’t stand the hobby lobby. Oh you love hobby. Ok that was me that was right.
Well, I mean seriously we have to have free will don’t we in order to be able to love. You have to choose to love. You can have a good marriage. If it’s fake. You just can’t. You have to choose to love your spouse.
My wife and I have been married for 30 years not because we turned off our free will and we’re going to love each other perfectly and treat it treat each other without sin ever. No she chooses to love me. I choose to love her. That’s how marriage works.
We choose each other day after day after day. Marriage is not a one time commitment.
And it’s not. Believe you me if it had just been 30 years ago I. I do. I do. You know we’d been done. But no, instead, every morning we have to get up and choose to love each other. We have to choose to treat each other well. Do we do that perfectly. OK.
Yes we do.
Well the same thing is true with our relationship with God. Jesus had to suffer in order to take our sin.
Jesus had to die in order to put our sin to death and to give us his life. He had to become sin for us to give us his righteousness. The suffering that we all endure is a result of free will and sin being in this world.
Bad people do bad things because if they weren’t able to do bad things and they couldn’t really choose to do good things if they weren’t allowed to hate them they couldn’t choose love.
And I know it’s like well but I don’t like this. This doesn’t work for me. There are people that I love and care about that have gone through terrible suffering.
Because other people made choices. Disease is in this world because Adam and Eve made the choice they did. Disease is in this world because sin is in this world. Sickness.
The fact that our bodies are broken and breaking down and going to die that happens because of sin. When are we going to die. I have no idea. It’s going to be different for everybody right.
But here’s the thing. What Jesus did by allowing Lazarus to go through his death. Was to give us a taste of what life will be like once we’ve made the choice live the life and we are raised to newness of life. We are raised to be a part of the kingdom of God by proving that death had no power over Jesus. We can now put our trust that death no longer has power over Jesus but Jesus has power over death.
Grave, Where is your victory? Where’s your sting? That’s what we hope for. That is what we have faith in God for is that he will deal with our sin once and for all. Yes it was dealt with on the cross but how many of you know sin still in this world right. So that means suffering still in this world why so people can choose.
So you can choose him. And also so you can reject him, to be honest. You have the freewill to totally reject Jesus at any time. You can reject him. You can tell him go away. I don’t want you I don’t want a relationship with you. I don’t want you to love me. I don’t want you to do anything for me. I want you to just go away. You have the free will to do that. I wouldn’t advise it. In fact I would advise against that. I would advise that you say Lord do you love me that much that you give me the free will to choose you?
And that’s where the victory is. That’s where the hope lies.
Because anybody lost anybody to death? We all have right. If you’ve lived long enough you’ve lost somebody to death. Here’s the good news. Death does not win. Death does not have the victory.
Jesus has the victory and the kingdom of heaven is built upon the truth that he is the way, the truth and the life. If we want to avoid the second death we put our trust in him and he says. Hey, Don’t fear the one who can take your body. If you’re the one who can take your body and your soul. Don’t fear this first death you should be afraid of the second death because that makes a first death look very easy, look like nothing.
The second is where there is pain and suffering, separation from God and punishment for sin. Whereas to be raised to new life in Jesus Christ, is to Love Him as He loved you. To put your trust in your hope in him and to walk with him in the light. And where is that light found, but in the Word of God. We want light in our life. We go back to the Word of God. We want to be raised from the dead. We put our trust in him.
Now here’s that fun little tidbit. I always have to tell when it comes to Lazarus and many of you have heard this not from me but from better preachers than I am. But the fact is that if Jesus did not specify Lazarus what would have happened. Everybody that heard his voice would come out of the ground, right? Come forth! Everybody would come out of those graves.
You want the power of Jesus the power of life. It is found in his words and he said you believe in God the Father believe also in me. In me, there is life and life more abundant.
Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. Amen
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