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Raising of Lazarus. Part 4 – John 11:28-37

27/12/2014

When we are broken-hearted, Jesus knows and cares.

Martha went home, to fetch her sister.

1. Calling the Broken-hearted!
In fact we see in the text, that Martha undertook this return to the house of mourning, to fetch Mary at the bidding of Jesus Himself. He had sent for her!

  1. A private conversation. And when she had said these things, she went her way and secretly called Mary her sister, saying, “The Teacher has come and is calling for you.” She must have taken Mary away from the rest of the mourners in the home, and broke the news to her privately that Jesus had arrived and was asking her to come to him. διδασκαλος παρεστιν και φωνει σε would be ‘Teacher is here and is calling for you’.
  2. A swift response. 29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to Him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the town, but was in the place where Martha met Him. Note that there was no hesitance on Mary’s part. Called by Christ to come to Him, she arose and obeyed without question. But why had Jesus not come into the town? William Hendriksen suggests that since the graveyard was outside the town, and since Jesus’s work was to be at the tomb, rather than in the house of mourning, it was logical that he would wait at the cemetery and wait until sufficient witnesses to the event had arrived.
  3. A mistaken destination. 31 Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and comforting her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, “She is going to the tomb to weep there.” During the periods of mourning it was the women who were the chief mourners, and they would go to the tomb to weep several times a day, and they would be accompanied by their friends and fellow mourners. John 11:45 Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him.

So Mary finds herself again in the company of the Saviour. See what she says and does…

2. Compassion for the Believer!
So Mary has arrived, perhaps at the cemetery, and we see a very interesting interaction between her and her Saviour…

  • Worship amid the hopelessness. 32 Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” Her brother was dead, her life in tatters, but Mary’s first natural reaction is to fall at the master’s feet and worship Him. And yet she repeats what her sister has said.
  • Jesus’s compassion for Mary. 33 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. Now this phrase is interesting. What is John saying about Jesus when he says that he:
  • Groaned in the spirit? This is like an involuntary throb of deep indignation! But what is He angry or indignant about? He is angry with SIN! God after all, is always angry with sin, and sin’s consequences on humanity. He was angry that sin and led to sickness, and sorrow and pain and death.
  • He Was troubled? Jesus heaved with emotion, – it was evident in His voice and in His body language and in His eyes and in His face. An overwhelming upsurge of love. So He speaks to Mary, and these are the first words he said to her…
  • The place of burial. 34 And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus didn’t have to ask that question. He had not laid aside His deity – He knew from before the foundation of the world where that grave was – but He used the human agency of these people to tell Him – so that they would witness what was to happen next.

And the sad little party move to the grave, as they think, to pay their respects and to say their farewells.

3. Caring for the Bereaved!
Much of John is written to demonstrate the deity of Christ – his Godhood. You only have to read the opening chapter (the ‘Prologue’) to see John laying down his intentions for the rest of the book, but in the narrative surrounding the raising of Lazarus we see the perfect illustration of Jesus as simultaneously God and Man, divine and human, yet in his humanity without sin.
* Jesus wept. 35 Jesus wept.

  1. He wept REAL TEARS. There was plenty of weeping at that tomb, the sisters were weeping. The family and friends were weeping. The professional mourners were weeping… But when Jesus wept, his weeping was not like that of the other mourners. Jesus literally ‘shed tears’ – εδακρυσεν ο ιησους. Tears of sorrow ran down his face. He wept for His friends. He is the man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.
  2. HE STILL CARES! Don’t forget that John is writing to witness to Greeks who had different ideas about their pagan gods. They were afar off. So it’s important to show that God, who has come to us and revealed himself to us in the person of his Son, (John 1:18) is not like those pagan deities. He is not far away, He is with us, he cares for us. Hebrews 4:15-16 Jesus stands with us in our humanity – as our true Brother, our Friend, our Lord and our Saviour, and He helps us by taking our burdens.

* Mixed reactions among the mourners. 36 Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!” 37 And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?” Some of the Jews thought Jesus was weeping for grief at the loss of His friend, rather than weeping for Mary and Martha. How wrong they were, as they would soon discover! Some simply complained that a man who could heal blind men could surely have healed Lazarus too. He could, but He didn’t! And there’s a very good reason for that, as we shall see, in our next study.

Applications and Uses.
In times of distress sickness, despair and mourning, Jesus wants us to come to him.
Tell the Lord how you are really feeling – after all, he already knows!
We find him at the very same place where generations of those who have sought his have also found him.
Know that the Great High Priest who felt the pain of Mary, feels our pain too.

© Bob McEvoy

From → John

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