Waynedale United Methodist Church
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!

Mar 27, 2016 Sermon

“I Am the Resurrection and the Life”
John 11:17 – 26
Ted Jansen  March 27, 2016  Waynedale UMC
1.)        Grief, sadness, loss, discouragement.  Words that we don’t normally focus on when we talk about Easter, Resurrection, New Life!  Those words were very real on Friday, Saturday and early Sunday when Jesus was here on earth.  These feelings, experiences and emotions are what a person goes through when someone has died, something has changed, something is missing, or it appears that death is coming.   
            Grief is like a cloud that covers your life, which brings darkness to you spirit and soul.  When you are grieving you have a hard time seeing light or anything good.  We will discover that truth today and the greater truth that Jesus Christ overcomes our darkness and death.        
2.)        I want to ask you what will cause grief, sadness, hurt, and pain?  We all experience this at times in our lives.  We might be grieving today.  What does sadness look like for a three year old?  It might make a child sad to have to share a toy.  What does hurt look like with a teenager?  It might be the experience of breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, or not making the team.  What does grief look like for a 20 – 40 year old?  It might be going through a divorce.  What does grief look like for a 40 – 60 year old?  (It might be the moment when you are let go from your job, or you discover you have cancer.  What does grief look like to a 60 year old and older?  (It might be losing a parent, a spouse, having to move.)  Grief might be around us.  
            Where do you see grief and what is the word that Jesus brings to that sadness?      
3.)        We see grief in the disciples.  Jesus was trying to prepare His disciples for his death and resurrection when He spoke to them when they were in Galilee.   Jesus shared these words from Matthew 17:22, 23.  This was before Jesus was going to be crucified and resurrected.   “When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men.  They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.  And the disciples were filled with grief.” 
            The disciples were told by Jesus that He would be killed but He would rise from the dead, be brought back to life.  This good news that Jesus would be brought to life was clearly communicated to them!  What did the disciples experience after this good news? 
They were filled with grief.  The disciples could only focus on the news that Jesus was going to be killed.  Death was what they heard and grief filled them. 
            Think of their soul like a cup that is filled up. The disciples had no room for good news or anything different than death.  When a person is filled with grief there is no room for good news.      
4.)        We see grief in Martha and Mary.  We read in John 11 the story of Lazarus who is sick.  Martha and Mary, his sisters, know that Jesus is a good friend and they send the message to Jesus about Lazarus.  When Jesus hears this news about his good friend Lazarus He does something strange.  Instead of coming instantly Jesus stays where He is for two more days.  He tells His disciples that Lazarus has died and that God has a purpose for Lazarus.    
5.)        When Jesus finally arrives near the home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus there is strong and heavy grief with all.  It has been four days since Lazarus’s sickness has turned to death.  Lazarus has been placed in the tomb.  Grieving, sadness, hurt, shock, anger, depression, loneliness, pain are what is in the hearts of the people. 
Mary is filled with grief, Martha is filled with grief.  In two separate conversations with Jesus we hear both women say to Jesus,“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  (John 11, 21, 32).  They are filled with grief and sadness and hurt and pain.   They might be a little angry at Jesus for not coming when he first heard that Lazarus was sick.  
6.)        Jesus then speaks to Martha and tells her that Lazarus will rise again.  Martha says that she knows that this will happen on the last day.  She is grieving and not really having the capacity for good news in her heart.      
            Then Jesus speaks.  “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”  (John 11:25, 26)  
            Jesus wants them not to focus on a future day but on this very day.  The words, “I am the resurrection and the life!” are great news.  Those words cannot change their grieving.  They are sad that Lazarus is dead and Jesus did not help. 
            It is like their soul, like this cup, is filled with grief, they have no room for good news. 
7.)        Jesus knows that words will not change their hearts and He enters their pain and grief.  He goes with Mary to the tomb of Lazarus and we read these words in John 11:33, When Jesus saw her (Mary) weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her (Mary) also weeping he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.” 
Jesus entered the pain, the suffering the hurt and grief.  We know this because of the shortest verse in the Bible.  John 11:35 says,“Jesus wept.”  Lazarus, his friend, has died and for four days all his friends and family are grieving.      
Then Jesus, by the power and love of God, commands that the stone be moved away from the tomb.  Jesus then prays to God and lets all know that Jesus is the resurrection and the life.  He says in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 
Lazarus is alive.  Lazarus is alive!  Jesus tells the people to unwrap Lazarus from his grave clothes. He is no longer dead.  All the people, who once were filled with grief, are filled with amazement and good news!  Lazarus is alive!       
8.)        We see grief in Mary.  Jesus was crucified on Friday placed in a tomb.  The stone was rolled over the entrance and guards were posted.  Death and grief were the major part of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  All the disciples and followers were filled with grief at the death of Jesus, the one who brought Lazarus back to life.   
Here is what happened to Mary.   “Mary stood outside the tomb crying.  As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and one at the foot.  They asked her, Woman, why are your crying?  They have taken my Lord away, she said, and I don’t know where they have put him.”   (John 20 – 11 – 13)
            Grief was strong for Mary, even though the Resurrection had occurred.  Jesus was no longer dead, He had been raised to life, the stone had been rolled away, and this was a day of new life!  Mary’s cup was filled with grief.  We see later in John’s Gospel when Mary realizes that Jesus is alive.      
9.)        The children’s Sunday School class was asked if they remember what Easter was about.  The Sunday School teacher said that it was a special day and that lots of people celebrated it by doing special things. 
One girl said, that is when we eat turkey and watch football.  No, the teacher said, that is Thanksgiving.  Another boy said, I know.  That is when we have picnics and shoot fireworks.  No, the teacher said that is not right.  
            Finally one girl said, I know what Easter is.  That is when Jesus came out of the tomb.  Yes, you are right, the teacher said.  The girl continued on though and said, if He sees His shadow that means we are going to have six more weeks of winter!   
10.)      We listen to the scripture to remind ourselves what God the Father did for His Son.  The very thing that Jesus had done for Lazarus can be done for us.  We come together to hear God shouting to His Son, “Jesus, come out!”    “Jesus, come out!”    “Jesus, come out from the grave, the tomb, death cannot hold you or hinder you.  Jesus, come out!” 
In the midst of our grief, our sadness, our hurt, our struggles, we need to hear God saying to us _____, come out!   ______, come out!  _____, come out!  This is a day for good news, a day of new life, a day of resurrection.    
11.)      Jesus loves you so much that He enters your pain.  Jesus wept and Jesus still weeps today.  Jesus, who is the resurrection and was resurrected is with us. 
            We might be filled up with grief, sadness, hurt, confusion.  Or we might be filled up with guilt, struggles, bad habits, selfishness, pride.  When we are filled up we have a hard time letting good news break through to our hearts.   
            I want you to know that God is trying to break through your grief and let you know that God’s power is still at work.  God is alive to your life and your situation with your family, your friends, your health, your finances, your own struggles.  We celebrate that Jesus Christ, our risen Savior is with you.  
12.)      There is a song called, “He is with you,” by Mandisa.  I want you to listen and watch this video.  Believe in your heart that God is here with you right now.   
There's a time to live  And a time to die  There's a time to laugh  And a time to cry  There's a time for war  And a time for peace  There's a hand to hold In the worst of these in the worst of these
He is with you when your faith is dead  And you can't even get out of bed  Or your husband doesn't kiss you anymore  He is with you when your baby's gone  And your house is still, and you heart's a stone  Cryin' "God, what'd You do that for?"  He is with you
There's a time for yes  And a time for no  There's a time to be angry  And a time to let it go  There's a time to run  And a time to face it  There is love to see you  Through all of this
Through all of this
He is with you in the conference room  When the world is coming down on you  And your wife and kids don't know you anymore
And He is with you in the ICU  When the doctors don't know that to do  And it scares you to the core  He is with you
We may weep for a time  But joy will come in the morning  The morning light
He is with you when your kids are grown  When there's too much space and you feel alone And you're worried if you've got it right or wrong
Yes He is with you when you've given up  On ever finding your true love  Someone who feels like home  He is with you
When nothing else is left  And you take your final breath  He is with you

13.)      Do you know someone who is filled with grief?  Can you see a tear?  The Good News of new life may only come when God breaks through their grief in a miraculous way.  It might not be enough to realize that Jesus is alive and Jesus weeps.  We need to pray that this great message of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is true.  Jesus is alive!    
            I want to pray for you today and I invite you to write down a name of a person who needs our prayers.  I want to collect them and lay them on the altar rail.  If you would be willing to pray for these people come and take a card.  Those cards left on the altar rail will be cards that I pray for.  Each person named will be prayed for.