There’s More to Life
Message 4 of 5:
Martha, Mary, Lazarus
Scripture: John 11:17-44
Notes from a message offered Palm Sunday, 4/14/19 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.
- The crowd comes up from Bethany to the top of the Mount of Olives. Jesus can see the whole city: Gethsemane, the Temple, Caiaphas’ house where he will be imprisoned and beaten, Golgotha where he will die
- Jesus’ entering Jerusalem- crowd crying out Hosanna, waving palm branches, laying cloaks in the street, Jesus riding a donkey like King Solomon when he entered Jerusalem, great excitement. No one will mistake the message Jesus is riding into town like a king.
- What does Jesus do? Jesus weeps.
Jesus said, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!”
Jesus wept is the shortest verse in the Bible. Jesus weeps many times.
- Wept over Jerusalem on Palm Sunday
- Wept in the olive grove of Gethsemane as he was being crushed and pressed in prayer the night of his arrest
- Wept with his dear friends Martha and Mary over the death of their brother Lazarus
- Lazarus- the one Jesus loved, possibly the beloved disciple Jesus entrusted his mother to at his death
- Their home was Jesus’ safe place, a home away from home
Washington Irving said, “There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness but of power. They are messengers of overwhelming grief and of unspeakable love.”
What if we looked at our tears as our love overflowing. My cup overflows…
Henri Nouwen said in Behold the Beauty of the Lord
The One who sees unceasingly the limitless goodness of God came to the world, saw it broken to pieces by human sin and was moved to compassion. The same eyes which see into the heart of God saw the suffering hearts of God’s people and wept.
- Our situations trouble Jesus’ spirit down to the deepest parts of his soul
- Our pain summons his tears
- Jesus understands our pain- responds with empathy and compassion and understanding
- Jesus weeps for us and with us
- There is no shame in our tears. No weakness. It reveals the depth of our love.
- No need to apologize. No need to hide. In Jesus, there is dignity and validity to our grieving and tears.
- I’m honored you would count me safe enough to cry before me. And I’m honored you would receive my tears in return.
Reading of John 11:17-27
Jesus has profound conversations with people in the Gospel of John. With Nicodemus in the middle of the night, with the woman at the well, with the man by the pool, and now with Martha. Matha starts preaching- You are the Messiah!
Martha is busy, busy, busy. But she’s not too busy right now. She gets it.
Martha reveals a faithful path of grief
- Go to Jesus- don’t avoid God
- Be honest- honest with feelings, questions, accusations
- Jesus will remind you of God’s promises
- Jesus will reveal who he is
Read John 11:28-44
Lazarus is swaddled like a babe. They would wrap the babies and they would wrap the dead. He is in that womb of a tomb and Jesus calls him out and says, “unbind him.” Set him free.
Hosanna! Save now!
Hosanna! Set us free!
This is the glory of our God.
Why we worship and why we place our trust in Jesus.
Why we give our lives to Jesus.
He is fully divine- I am the Resurrection and I am the Life
He is fully human- weeping and mourning with us and for us
Jesus is the One who saves
This is our God!
Do you believe?
This is the week where we put a mile marker in the road and say, “I believe!” I’m going to come and hear the story again. I’m going to come and worship. I’m going to be with my Jesus who knows me and loves me and saves me.
This is what we do. This is who we are. Anyone can say, “I believe.” They are part of the kingdom, and the power, and glory. Forever. Amen.
For more on the unbinding of Lazarus and us, read Unbind Me by Steve Garnaas Holmes
Martha, Mary, Lazarus © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
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