John 11: Mourners and Believers.

Introduction:

1. More Mourners than Believers.

Mourners are listed first because there are almost always at funerals or deaths more mourners than believers. How can you tell that? Because they are mourning more than believing that the departed one has gone to a much better place, a place in heaven 1000 times better than their life on earth, especially if they lingered in pain and suffering. Actually an amount of mourning is necessary for family and friends are grieved by the lost of one who meant so much to them for so many years.

Let’s consider believers and mournings at a funeral such as the one that Jesus attended at the death of Lazarus. Actually this was several days after the funeral, because Mary said as Jesus requested entrance into the tomb that the body had already decayed; also Mary said, “Lord if you have been here he would not have died.”

2. It is unbelievable the details that the Apostle John relates in this long chapter, John 11, of the mourning of the death of Lazarus,

John 11 is one of the longest chapters in the book of John, rightly so because John is centered around only 7 miracles of Jesus of the many Jesus performed, and they started with the first simple miracle of Jesus turning the water into wine to this seventh of raising Lazarus from the dead.

John 11

“Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)”

I. Now don’t get the wrong idea, Mary had faith more than a nominal Christian believer which is easily seen first of all by the early fact that she anointed the feet of Jesus.

Jesus knew Lazarus was dying, and waited two days.

1a. Jesus general teachings here in John 11 that apply to everyone all the time: Jesus like His Heavenly Father heals in His own time and way.

“Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest 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 might be glorified thereby. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.”

1b. Jesus’ general teachings here in John 11 that apply all the time: Sickness nad healing is “for the glory of God”; and God must be given the glory.

II. This is one of the 7 miracles the Apostle John used in this Gospel to prove that Jesus is and was the Son of God.

This is simply to say that this was no ordinary funeral, some things do not apply to all funerals of Christians, but many do and we must sort our way through John 11 for current applications to believing and/or mourning.

“….When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby….”

2. For everyone at all time: “And there are many other things Jesus did if they should be written everyone even the world could not contain the books that should be written. But these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that by believing you might have life in His name.” (John 20:31,32)

III. When and Where to walk or stumble?

Granted this sickness and dying was very unique even for the life and ministry of Jesus in that the Jewish leadership had begun to seek ways to kill Him.

“Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again. His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again? Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.”

3. Teachings and Principles of Jesus that apply all the time: the internal light of Jesus inside a person determines whether he walks or stumbles.

IV. Jesus had to finally use the word “dead” for Lazarus to get his own disciples to believe what had happened and was going to happen.

“These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.”

4. Children of God don’t die, their bodies sleep and their souls go to be with God.

V. Good ‘ole doubting Thomas has always been a good example for doubters and believers.

It sounded noble for doubtingThomas to say “let us go and die with him”; however Jesus had already told them clearly that this illness was not all the way unto death. That was empathy and grieving on the part of Thomas, but the big problem was it was far too early for mourning for God through Jesus, the Master of life and the creation and bringing back of life, had yet to do His work.

5. Always believe the words and teachings and principles of Jesus as He was sent by God the Father to let us know the mind and heart of God.

“And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him. Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

VI. Martha was believing and Mary was mourning.

“Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.

Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off: And many of the Jews came to 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 sat still inthe house.

Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.

Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.”

6. The faith of Martha can be duplicated at anytime: “If you believe all things are possible…”

VII. Statements of faith of the Resurrection.

” Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come nto the world.”

7a. Martha and Everyone: “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

7b. Jesus said: “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”

7c. For believers only: Never die, there is no death!

7d. Martha and everyone: “Yea, Lord: I believer that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.”

VIII. There is Comfort then there is the Christ.

Sharing the Faith and Mourning Watchers.

And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee. As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him. Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him. The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there.

8. Which would you chose most, the Comforter that came to take the place of Jesus on earth and the nominal comforters?

IV. Medium Faith comes from Serving, Comfort, good intentions but with Little Time in prayer with Jesus.

“Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.”

9. Remember that Jesus had told Mary that “she was too cumbered with serving and that Martha in being with Jesus had chosen the better way of faith and the Christian life, and here as with everyone, you can contrast nomial faith of Mary with great faith of Martha.

X. A lot of weeping of unbelief caused Jesus to groan in His Spirit.

“When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.”

10. Jesus and God are troubled by a lack of faith.

XI. Jesus wept when He knew that He was bringing Lazarus back from so much comfort and peace in heaven to a world of pain, sin, and troubles; and the world as always failed to understand, casting doubts on what Jesus could do.

Martha had doubts when Jesus said to roll away the stone of the tomb.

“Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him! And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died? Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.”

11. Jesus and the Father can and do heal the eyes of the blind and prevent illness until death; but most importantly they know what is best for one of their children and will act accordingly.

XII. Look for the glory of God in dying and in Life.

“Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.”

12. God can heal anyone at anytime however the most glory to Him comes when it is at the Resurrection Day for all Christians.

XIII. Mourners can be turned into Believers.

Most become trouble makers.

“Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.”

SUMMARY:

1a. Jesus general teachings here in John 11 that apply to everyone all the time: Jesus like His Heavenly Father heals in His own time and way.

1b. Jesus’ general teachings here in John 11 that apply all the time: Sickness nad healing is “for the glory of God”; and God must be given the glory.

2. For everyone at all time: “And there are many other things Jesus did if they should be written everyone even the world could not contain the books that should be written. But these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that by believing you might have life in His name.” (John 20:31,32)

3. Teachings and Principles of Jesus that apply all the time: the internal light of Jesus inside a person determines whether he walks or stumbles.

4. Children of God don’t die, their bodies sleep and their souls go to be with God.

5. Always believe the words and teachings and principles of Jesus as He was sent by God the Father to let us know the mind and heart of God.

6. The faith of Martha can be duplicated at anytime: “If you believe all things are possible…”

7a. Martha and Everyone: “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

7b. Jesus said: “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”

7c. For believers only: Never die, there is no death!

7d. Martha and everyone: “Yea, Lord: I believer that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.”

8. Which would you chose most, the Comforter that came to take the place of Jesus on earth and the nominal comforters?

9. Remember that Jesus had told Mary that “she was too cumbered with serving and that Martha in being with Jesus had chosen the better way of faith and the Christian life, and here as with everyone, you can contrast nomial faith of Mary with great faith of Martha.

10. Jesus and God are troubled by a lack of faith.

11. Jesus and the Father can and do heal the eyes of the blind and prevent illness unto death; but most importantly they know what is best for one of their children and will act accordingly.

12. God can heal anyone at anytime however the most glory to Him comes when it is at the Resurrection Day for all Christians.

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