Lazarus Connecting with Jesus


…to you just now and that is that we live in a world, don’t we, that’s so fast-moving and so wants to recreate things that seemingly, people are trying to tell us have never been created before. Do you get that impression, that we think we’ve arrived, don’t we, as a people as a culture and so forth? One of the things that I’ve realized about this scenario is that, generation upon generation seems to want to tell me and the rest of the human race, that there are several ways to God, that actually you don’t need Jesus. That’s so sad. As a Christian, I find that quite offensive in lots of ways, because the truth of it is there is only one way to go, that’s through Jesus Christ his son. So if I can just encourage any of us this morning that are sort of on the cusp of thinking that there may be a different route to salvation and to God the Father. I urge you to think again, get your Bible out and start reading it and start realizing that God brought his son Jesus Christ as a man into this world so that we could connect with him.

The message I wanna share with you this morning is about connection, really on lots of levels. It’s also about the real things of life, the real things that bear on us. I’m going to cover three major aspects. We’re gonna look at the story and Lazarus. You might be familiar with it, you might not be, but Lazarus had passed away or was at the point of death and as the story unfolds he actually does die of course. And wants to get Jesus there quickly, so that if there’s anything that can be done, Jesus can do it.

There’s three things I want to bring out in this message. We’ll read the scriptures in a minute, first and foremost we recognize that the friendship that exists between God and man or Jesus Christ his son and us. The second thing is about resurrection, about the glorious hope that is ours in being resurrected, but more than that in the resurrection of Jesus Christ his son. What that really means to us and then, finally we get the end of this story, where Jesus goes to the tomb and the stone’s rolled back and he cries out Lazarus come out and as we look at this morning you’ll realize that that’s the message that’s been spoken to our world today. In fact, you’ve spoken to every single human being, spoken to us personally too. As I say, we all going to explore these, it’s gonna be a bit of a rush through, because what I want to do later on this morning is give time for us to take communion and connect with the Holy Spirit.

It’s interesting isn’t it that Tony and I as often, we don’t confer before we get together and we do a preach. We don’t actually, but the very words that he spoke about the glory of God filling this place and the glory of the Lord coming to earth was the very thing that got placed on my heart. Susy and Tony prayed with me this morning, that was the very thing we prayed for, that’s not coincidence, that’s not just a chance thing, if I was that lucky I’ll be doing the lottery. I’m not, but what I do believe is, let’s see, God wants to bring revelation to His people, He wants to fill us with His Holy Spirit. He really so desperately wants to fill you with His Holy Spirit, so that you may see things clearly, because as I said to you in the past, we live in a world where there are abounding in lies, abounding in untruths, abandoning things that aren’t quite as they should be, deceptions. Jesus says, he’s about, he says, ‘I am the truth’ and that’s what the Holy Spirit wants to reveal to us, I believe. That’s just a little starter for this morning.

Let’s look at this account then in Lazarus, it’s taken from Luke chapter 11 The context of this is that Jesus had gone to a far away place, because the Jews in Jerusalem wanted to kill him, in fact, if you read the passage before they were ready to stone Him, in fact they started hurtling stones and he got outta there and he’s gone off. It says he’s in these places, a little bit away from Jerusalem, it says one day, Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord teach us to pray just as John taught his disciple’. He said to them, ‘when you pray, say…’ we’ve got it wrong, I’ll tell you what, I’m gonna paraphrase it for you.

Jesus has gone off to… now a man named Lazarus was sick and he was from Bethany the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Now this was the Mary whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and why his feet with her hair and so the sisters sent word to Jesus, Lord the one you love is sick.

Okay, in some translations it says your friend is sick. We’ve got the situation here, I guess, in some shape or form, we’ll all have been at this critical point in our journey, where things are getting pretty desperate. In fact, as we read on in this story, we see there that Lazarus does actually die. Although Jesus said, ‘this sickness will not lead to death,’ a bit of a paradox going on there, but if I can just set the scene for you, we’ve got a family who are in absolute desperation. Their loved one is sick, at the point of death. And you know, that’s the sort of thing that I guess, without getting too morbid about it, we probably will face ourselves from time to time in our lives. Some of you this morning might be going through situations which seem so absolutely impossible, that you know, the bottom has dropped out of your world. I’m sure, if you’re not in that place, you have probably been there or you fear of going there. When we get into these places, what do we look, who do we look for, who do we turn to? Well it’s clear here that Mary and Martha turned to the friend, the friend that they had, the friend in Jesus.

I want to bring to you this morning, that is no superficial friendship, it’s not like the friends that you have on Facebook, that you may never get to see or never get to really speak to, Jesus was a real friend of this family and this friendship consisted of many factors. What did it look like? Well it had love, as I’ve just read the word there. It had compassion, because we read later on in the Lazarus story that when Jesus went to the tomb and saw that Lazarus had died he wept. It’s the shortest verse in the Bible, some people use it as a blasphemous word, ‘Jesus wept,’ but you know the truth of it is, Jesus wept, because he had compassion for his friends. It was a friendship that consisted of intimacy, the Bible tells us that Mary had washed the feet of Jesus with perfume and dried them with her hair, there was a connection there. This friendship is more than just a superficial, ‘hi, you’re my friend,’ it’s much much deeper than the sorts of friendships that we all love and desire.

What I would like to share with you this morning, that’s the sort of friend Jesus wants to be to you, he wants to be that friend that, when you’re at your point of desperation, where you’re at, the bottom has dropped out of your world, when bereavements are struck, where things just seem impossible, you go and you call on your friend, the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s a great bedrock for everything else that follows, because if we don’t understand what our relationship is with Jesus, we’re not going to be able to use the things that he wants us to take hold of in our lives. Particularly when hard times come, particularly when we’re at the point of desperation, particularly when our hearts are downcast and full of sorrow.

Having suffered levels of bereavement myself, I can truthfully stand before you this morning and say that if it wasn’t for the friendship that I had with my Lord Jesus Christ, I would not have been able to survive. I would not be a healthy well-balanced person. Heaven knows how my life would have turned out, had I’ve not had the friend in Christ. So I want to encourage you this morning, to take hold of the friendship, really wallow and enjoy it. In fact remind God that you have a friendship, but more than remind yourselves. We sing the song, don’t we, I am a friend of God, I am a friend of our Lord Jesus, what a great thing, but it’s just more than words isn’t it? It has some power and significance in it too.

And so, as the story unfolds, we realized that Jesus takes a little time to act on the information he has and in fact the word tells us, he hangs around for a few days and then he turns to his disciples and he says, ‘you know what, this, what’s happening to Lazarus is not going to end in death.’ And of course it’s a bit of a paradox, because as we read further on, Lazarus dies. What Jesus is really saying is, ‘actually this whole scenario is a lot more than just the sadness and the bereavement that comes with separation, I am going to reveal much much more to you than this.’ This is where we get into the next part of this account of this story, I don’t like to use the word story, because it suggests it’s not real, but forgive me, I’m gonna use the word story. It’s a true story, thank you Tony, it is a true story. And so we see Jesus and he’s on his way and he gets a not so far away from the home of Mary and Martha and and one of them, I think it’s Martha, runs out to him and she falls at his knees and she’s again, she reinforces the love bond. She says, ‘the one you love.’ She reminds Jesus that they have this connection, this friendship and then it says, ‘but if you’d have been here, the one that you loved would not have died.’ Then Jesus replies to her, he says, ‘I am the resurrection and the life.’ She said, ‘I know, on the last day Lazarus will rise again.’ See, she knew what she was talking, she knew what Jesus was talking about in a spiritually intellectual way, she’d had a connection with him that’s why, there was this friendship that was going on there, was this relationship going on. She did understand in part but, there was a lot more that Jesus was saying when he said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life.’ And this is simply what I want to share, another aspect of this with you this morning.

See, when Jesus was crucified and he died for our sins, we know the story, don’t we? They nailed him to a cross and three days he is in the tomb and then on the third day, rises again and it’s an absolutely, fantastic thing for us, because it means that we can rise again with Christ and that the devil has been defeated, that the the fear of death no longer holds over human beings. It’s a fantastic account. But there’s another aspect of this, that I want to share with you this morning. It is so precious and important that we get it. And that is, that when God raised Jesus from the tomb, He did so because he was totally vindicated for our sins, he was the total offering for our sins. That is an amazing thing to behold. See, Jesus didn’t come into the world to make bad people good. Jesus came into the world to make dead people alive. Amen. I’ll say it again, he did not come into the world to make bad people, good. He came into the world to make dead people, alive.

See there was two guys and they both died at the same time and they were laying in the mortuary and one was just there in his underclothes on the slab and the other guy, he was dressed in his finery, had his fine suit on and so forth. The thing is about both of these, is that, they are both dead. Why did I share that with you? It’s because, see if we’re not careful, we get into the mentality that when it comes to sin, there’s a lot of sin and there’s a small amount of sin and we somehow we think that the small amounts of sin is going to be… we’re gonna have a little bit more favor when it comes to the sin account. But, that’s not true is it? See, when Christ died for us and was raised by the Father our sins were done away with once and for all. They weren’t covered up by the blood of a lamb or a bull, as we’ll see in a minute in the Old Testament, which is what happened pre our Lord Jesus Christ coming. Every day they went and they covered up that the sins, a priest went in there and he covered it up with sacrifice.

This is an amazing bit, right this is in Hebrews chapter 10, it says, ‘day after day, every priest stands and performs his religious duties, again and again he offered the same sacrifices, which can never take away sin.’ That’s what it was like and then it goes on, ‘but when this priest offered, for all the time, one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God the Father.’ Okay, you see the difference? See, if we’re not careful, we can go through this life’s journey, believing that we can adjust sin, it’s what I term as sin adjustment theology, to match up to how we expect our behavior to be before God. It don’t work like that. You’re either forgive for all your sins or you’re not forgiven at all. That’s the the resurrected Christ that we have to to thank for that our sins are totally and utterly forgiven, amen. Amen. The reason why this is so important, I believe is because, if you want this friendship with Jesus, you can’t go in there thinking somehow, you’re not worthy. We all sin and we are all unworthy, but it’s his righteousness that we start to clothe ourselves in. It’s his blood that has covered us and washed us, as we sang this morning, ‘you’re washed in the blood of the Lamb.’ and they’re not just good words or, that they are, they’re truths too. When we sing those words, we’re making a proclamation, I am forgiven, doesn’t matter what fingers are pointed at me, I am forgiven.

You know, if we start our journey and we carry on in life like that, having this intimate relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ, we’ll see things happen that we’ve never seen happen before. We’ll see things starting to take place in our life. We’ll see the depression evaporate, we’ll see the anxiety evaporating in our midst because, that’s what Jesus wants to do for us through his power and through the Holy Spirit.

So we move on to the story, Jesus stands before the tomb and says, ‘roll away the stone.’ and it rolls away and then in a voice she shouts, ‘Lazarus, come out.’ and the story unfolds, as Lazarus comes out he’s got his clothes, he’s got his death robe on, you know wrapped up and he says, ‘untie him and let him go.’ I would suggest to you this morning, that the same voice that, in fact, if you look at the interpretation, the words that he uses, are the same words that Jesus uses when he calms the storm. Authority, authority in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, calling us out of our tomb. It’s just, this is not just the story about a man being resurrected from the dead, although it is, it’s much more about a story of how we can be drawn out of our dark cave into the light. Out of our darkness, out of my darkness, he calls me into his glorious life. What a fantastic offer that is.

Respond, respond to the voice of our Lord Jesus Christ, it’s the voice of a friend, calling you to come to him this morning. I believe and as we move on this morning to take communion and that’s the bit that… I want to move into communion with… to listen out to the voice of a friend, not of an enemy, not as somebody who wants to rebuke you or beat you up, they’ll give you a hard time or to punish you, but of a friend who has compassion and love for you, wants to embrace you, wants to undo your grave robes, wants to bring, where there is death, life and life in all its fullness, who wants to wipe away your sins and and dry your tears, because you know what we’re all broken. Jesus said this about us, it says, ‘I’ve come to bind up the brokenhearted and to set the captives free.’ Amen. That’s you and I, no-one is exempt. Don’t think that because, you know, that the people you know and pray for are going off on their own wayward journey, that they’re exempt. Because they’re not, they just need to hear the Savior calling them, come out, come to me. That’s going to be our prayer, I believe. This is for me, that’s my prayer, come out, come to the Savior. Come to Jesus, respond to his voice, the voice that has power attached to it.

As we move into communion, I want to just leave you with this one verse, okay. May I just say this? By the way, sorry, I’m just gonna backtrack. Friendship. If you have any doubts about what sort of friend Jesus is to you, let me share this with you. Judas, walks up to Jesus and he kisses him on the cheek and then Jesus turns to him and says go about what you need to, my friend. My friend, Wow, that’s the sort of friend that our Lord Jesus Christ is, in the midst of betrayal, he pulls in Judas and declares him to be his friend. Is there nothing that can separate us from the love of God, that is in the Lord Jesus Christ our Lord?


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