Saturday, October 15, 2011

Jesus Resurrected Lazarus (part 2) (Jn. 11:11-46)

This is my personal summary of Rev Dr Stephen Tong's sermon on 9 October 2011 in STEMI Expository Preaching at True Way Presbyterian Church. It was preached in Chinese with English translation.

Passage: John 11:11-46

Jesus deliberately waited four days after Lazarus died. Sometimes we ask the Lord where He is when we are suffering. Christ is Lord. We should not grumble. He will never make mistakes, never miss the time. We can hardly find people who are obedient in all circumstances. Human timing cannot change God’s timing. Our one-sided view cannot control the will of God. If we cannot understand this, we cannot properly call ourselves Christians.

What motivated this delay? Jesus said, “I do this for your good that the glory of God may be manifested.” This motivation is God-centred and the glory of God is the final goal and it is for our good. We often see things through our narrow-minded perspective. Martha, Mary and the Jews did the same mistake. They said that if Jesus came earlier Lazarus would not have died. Jesus performed 35 miracles and the greatest of them all is this one. This is what Elijah and Elisha could not do. In the New Testament, Paul and Peter resurrected one person. Jesus resurrected 3 people.

When Jesus arrived, Lazarus had been in the tomb for 4 days. It cannot be a fake death after 4 days. The Lord would demonstrate that He had the power to raise the dead. Jesus said to Martha, “Your brother will rise again.” (Jn. 11:23). However, Martha understood that resurrection will happen on the Last Day. She said, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” (v.24)

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die, and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (v.25-26)
If you believe you will see the glory of God. This is how faith works. We need to believe first then we will see. The world says seeing and experiencing is believing. But God says to believe first. The gospel of John is consistent with other gospels, the Acts and Hebrews 11.

After arriving at Lazarus’ tomb, Jesus’ first command was to take away the stone (v.39). His second command was, “Lazarus, come out!” (v.44) and His last command was, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” (v.45)

Lazarus’ resurrection teaches us that God’s timing is never wrong, that we should not judge God by our finite mind. Jesus’ 3 commands also teach us important spiritual principles. The first command indicates that we have to be prepared to work to see the glory of God. We need to roll away the stone of barrier that prevents people from hearing the gospel. The work of pre-evangelism is important, carried out through cultural mandate to remove barriers to the gospel.

The second commands show the dead will rise to life when hearing the voice of the Son of God. He is the Lord of life. He gives us life. When we preach the gospel, the Lord uses His Word to regenerate unbelievers. The spiritually dead will be born again.

The third command shows that after regeneration we need to be freed to live out your new life. After we are saved, it is not the end. We have a new life to live. Good tree will have good fruits.

Are we removing the stones? Are we preaching the gospel? Are we making disciples? This is the responsibility of the church. May the life of Christ come upon us.


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