John 11:17-27 - Celebration of Life For J.M. - Do You Believe That Jesus Is The Christ?
Scripture: John 11:17-27
17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
John 11:17-27 gives us at least five things to consider so that we can find comfort when we are confronted with the reality of death and our mortality.
Jesus is not afraid of impossible situations. He comes after Lazarus has been dead four days.
We find comfort by those who come to console us; especially those who believe in the resurrection.
We will all grieve in our own way. Yet Christ should be central to all our grieving.
We need a personal conviction concerning the bibles teaching on the resurrection. It must be more than the churches view, our families view, or our cultures view.
Our faith must rest upon Christ.
In Psalm 71 we considered four ways that we can have hope when we consider this strange world and our own mortality and death. In John 11 we come to a passage that is a foundation stone for our hope concerning these things.
Jesus is not afraid of impossible situations
Jesus is not surprised when He arrives and finds that Lazarus had already been in the grave four days. He planned it to be this way. Jesus does not stay outside Bethany because he is intimidated by what has happened. No, Jesus is not afraid of our greatest enemies: sin and death. He overcomes them both.
Jesus is the second person in the Trinity and He is God. Jesus can heal the sick, feed the hungry, calm the storms, cast our demons, and He can raise the dead. Nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:27). Consider 2 Corinthians 1:9, “Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” We all will face impossible situations and when we do at the center of those moments we need to remember that God can be trusted and relied upon because He raises the dead. He can be trusted with any care you have because He raises the dead. He can be trusted with any sickness you have because He raises the dead. He can be trusted with any problem you face because He raises the dead.
No, Jesus is not afraid to come into this situation where He will raise Lazarus back to life, and He is not afraid to be invited to any situation that you are going through. Have you invited the LORD to be involved in your life? He will show up.
We can provide great comfort to each other at these times
By this time Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha, are surrounded by those who have arrived to comfort them. Jon and David are so grateful for all of you who have come to provide consolation and comfort to them at this time. Every gesture and word is appreciated from you at this time. Every story about Jim is a treasure for them to share with you and enjoy.
But having said this, we must recognize that some comfort is meant to strengthen and stabilize the heart. Let me give you an example of this. I bet these people comforted Mary and Martha in their own unique ways that day. But I bet a lot of them used scripture to provide comfort. Who knows, maybe someone read to them Psalm 16 or Psalm 71 to comfort them. Maybe someone shared with them a passage that speaks about a believers hope in the resurrection because these things were clearly on Martha’s mind when she says to Jesus, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”
The fact that there will be a resurrection is a great encouragement to us when we are confronted with our own death or the death of someone that we love. Our text today reminds us that our friends and family can be a source of great comfort during times like these when they remind us of what the Scriptures say about these things.
We may grieve differently but Christ must be at the center of our grief
Even when we have this hope we will still grieve loss and mourn when someone dies. And I think we can also see in our text that some of our grief and mourning hurts more because we don’t fully know and understand the promises of God.
When Jesus arrives Martha runs quickly to see Jesus. Mary, however, does not get up and go. Each of them had different reactions in their grief. I am sure that Jon and Dave will experience this too. In fact, I have often heard Jon and David talk about how they will grieve differently and at different times. Sometimes these things surprise us. For example, Jon cried often the day that Jim passed away but not when it happened. Dave did not cry that day but when Jim passed he wept. Jesus not only shows up to impossible situations but He also shows up to every person and is there when they grieve no matter how it happens.
I think it is important for us to see that the most important thing that Mary, Martha, and the others did that day is that they went, and they helped each other go to Christ. Martha quickly ran to Jesus. Martha came when invited by Jesus through her sister Martha. The crowd followed Mary as she went to see Jesus. Oh, I pray that we will all seek to be with Jesus in times like these.
Is the resurrection a personal conviction to you?
Martha believed in the resurrection of God’s people. She said to Jesus, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” This was a personal conviction for her that would provide great comfort but it was an incomplete understanding as well. All of us come to this celebration of life for Jim Moe with a partial understanding of these truths. On thing is for sure, if we have hearts to receive the truth of Scripture we will have a better understanding of these things after tonight. Death and tragedies don’t have to hurt a persons faith and understanding of the truth. No, they actually can help us if we respond with faith. Consider these things can make these truths more personal and more real.
The other night I could not sleep. I was thinking about Jim and another individual who passed away this week at our church. My heart was troubled but I got out of bed and sat on the couch and remembered that we serve a resurrected savior. Christ has died, been buried and has risen from the dead. We have a living faith. Before I contemplated these things I was afraid and worried. But after remembering these things my faith increased and the reality of these things grew for me. I hope that this will be your experience as well.
My friends, do you have a personal conviction about Jesus and the resurrection like Lazarus and Martha did? Jesus confirmed Lazarus’ faith by saying, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha confirms her faith when she says, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
Our faith must rest upon our personal relationship with Christ and Him alone
Consider Jesus’ words, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
Our hope and our confidence for eternal life is found in Christ Jesus. Jesus is the resurrection and the life. There is no other name by which we must be save. There is no other way for a person to receive eternal life than through Jesus Christ. He alone can offer forgiveness for our sins and grant us peace with the Father. He alone can remove our shame and cleanse our conscience. He alone can comfort us in both life and in death.
My friends, the scripture teaches that we were born dead in our trespasses and sins. None of us wants to soberly and carefully consider the fact that there will be a day that we too will die. And none of us wants to consider the fact that we are dead spiritually even while our bodies have life. But if we will consider these things and come by faith to Jesus Christ He can give us life. And even if we die we will live.
Having considered these things can you say with Martha, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”