The Way, The Truth, and The Life
Take your Bibles with me again and turn to John 11. This morning I started a message on this chapter, and I never actually got to the main verse. So we are going to read it again, we are going to read verses 20 to verse 46.
”20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat [still] in the house. 21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give [it] thee. 23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? 27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world. 28 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. 29 As soon as she heard [that], she arose quickly, and came unto him. 30 Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him. 31 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. 32 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. 33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, 34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him! 37 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? 38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. 39 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. 40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? 41 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. 42 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. 43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44 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. 45 Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. 46 But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.”
This morning, I gave you the first two points about Jesus and life, just for the sake of the people who weren’t here, the first point was:
And we talked about how Jesus cares deeply for us as individual people. Over and over again in this passage it mentions how Jesus loved Lazarus or Mary or Martha. He cared for them. They had a personal relationship with Him and He even wept when they wept.
So we talked about how Jesus is compassionate, how he feels our pain, how He weeps with us when we weep and rejoices with us when we rejoice.
But we also talked about how this story is evidence that Jesus doesn’t handle our request with human eyes, but with eternal eyes. He sees the end from the beginning, and sometimes our prayers seem to be bouncing off the ceiling, sometimes it seems like Jesus doesn’t care, when in actuality he is trying to do something great for our good and his glory through our suffering.
Then my second point this morning was about
And we looked at verses 8-9 where Jesus dealt with the objections of the disciples. They rightly believed that if Jesus went to Judea again (Mary, Martha and Lazarus lived right outside Jerusalem) that they would be taken by the Pharisees and Priests and killed. That is exactly what happened. But in answering them, Jesus talked about how there are twelve hours of daylight.
Basically, Jesus was saying you make hay when the sun shines. And I think He was teaching us that we all have an allotted time and an allotted task and we need to make full use of our time to accomplish that task.
I also think that Jesus was teaching us that when we are doing God’s will in God’s time and God’s way - nothing is going to touch us. Nothing is going to take any of our allotted sunshine away before it is God’s time. It’s the truth that “if God be for us, who can be against us?”
That’s where I left off this morning. So let’s get to the second two points.
The third point is…
One of the things I see a lot of in this story is disappointment. Mary and Martha and even to a lesser extent the disciples had to swallow big portions of disappointment.
Two different people (Mary and Martha) say the exact same thing to Jesus in verses 21 and 32 they said:
”Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.”
That sounds like disappointment to me. It sounds like the cry of a hurting soul whose dreams were crushed.
Women didn’t take care of themselves in Jesus day. While some worked, almost all women were dependent on a male family member. We don’t know the details, but I imagine that Martha and Mary had a bleak future ahead of them without their brother to take care of them. Like so many people who lose loved ones, they had to start figuring out how to move on with their life and they were scared to death to do it.
I think there are a couple of lessons for us from this point:
Ok. I say “sometimes” but I mean “almost always.” Every one of us is going to have to deal with some measure of disappointment in life. Every one of us is going to fail, is going to be hurt by people we trusted, is going to lose loved ones too soon, is going to have to deal with outside circumstances that devastate our dreams.
I could literally take you through every single major character in the Bible right now and talk about their disappointments:
We aren’t even out of Genesis yet. Do I have to go on?
If you were to take out a napkin and write out your dreams on the back of it, I almost guarantee that either 1) things won’t turn out the way you want or 2) if they do, they will involve far more heartache and setbacks than you imagined.
I imagine that every one of you older folks can look back at your life and see things you never asked for or wanted to happen:
So many things disappoint us.
So the question is, how do we treat Jesus when we have regrets in life? Do we blame Him? Do we refuse to follow Him?
One thing I think we can learn from this story, particularly from the example of Martha, is…
Even when Martha was grieving, even when she thought she would only see her brother again in Heaven, she still made one of the clearest confessions of faith to Jesus we see in the whole Bible. Look at what she says in verse 27:
”She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.”
And then she left. She trusted Jesus to do what is right. I think that is amazing faith. Amazing faith.
It’s easy to follow Jesus when everything is going our way, it’s a lot tougher when we are hit with disappointment and regret to say “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.”
When you are going through a time of disappointment, what is going to get you through is a thorough knowledge of who God is, a thorough knowledge of God’s character. It is an unwavering faith that, despite your circumstances, God is still good and God still cares.
God is good in the palace and God is good in the prison. God is good when things are going our way and when things really stink for us. God is good when we are rejoicing and He is good when we are hurting.
And our faith has to be tried and our relationship to Him has to be strong so we can keep saying that even when it is really, really difficult.
So the third point is about disappointment, or to keep them all “R”s regret.
Let me give you one last point:
The actual “I am” statement in this chapter is found in verse 25. Let’s look at it one more time:
”Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:”
There is a lot to chew on just in this verse. Jesus is promising us two things in this verse:
Jesus said ”he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:”
The truth is that outside of Jesus, before we are saved, we are spiritually dead.
1 John 5:12 says:
”He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”
Ephesians 2:1 says:
”And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;”
Outside of Jesus, we are dead. When you go into the world you are looking at a bunch of spiritual corpses. They don’t have the life-giving Spirit of God in them. They don’t have salvation. They are spiritually dead.
But when a person trusts Christ, they get life. They become spiritually alive. That’s what “quickened” means in that verse we just read, it means “To make alive”
When you trust Christ as your Savior you are “born again” and as a part of that you are “born of the Spirit”: You have spiritual life.
In John 5:24-25 Jesus put it pretty plainly:
”Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”
If you don’t have spiritual life, if you never pray, if you never talk to God, if none of this Bible stuff really makes sense to you and you don’t really want any of it, perhaps you are still spiritually dead. Perhaps you need to believe.
One more thing Jesus was promising here and we’ll close:
Back in our text, in verse 26 Jesus said:
”And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?”
Of course, Jesus wasn’t talking about never dying on this earth, He was promising the second thing:
When we go to heaven we will have eternal life. Do you know why they call it eternal life? Because it never ends. We get to be with Jesus forevermore. We get to serve Jesus forevermore. We will never die again, we will never know the shame of sin again, we will walk on streets of gold and join the blood washed throng praising Jesus.
It’s eternal life.
So to wrap this up, what is the one thing that pulls all of this together? Our relationship with Jesus, the risks we have to go through with Jesus, the regrets we have to live through with Jesus and the resurrection we can have with Jesus? It’s really simple - it’s believing.
Just believe. Super, super simple.