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CrossPointe Community Church
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Chippewa Lake, OH 44215


But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes.

The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what He told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that He would rise again on the third day.”

Then they remembered that He had said this. So they rushed back from the tomb to tell His eleven disciples—and everyone else—what had happened. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and several other women who told the apostles what had happened. But the story sounded like nonsense to the men, so they didn’t believe it. However, Peter jumped up and ran to the tomb to look. Stooping, he peered in and saw the empty linen wrappings; then he went home again, wondering what had happened.

Luke 24:1-12


A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters,

When Jesus was in Jerusalem He used Bethany as His base of operations, much like Capernaum in Galilee.

Mary and Martha. This is the Mary who later poured the expensive perfume on the Lord’s feet and wiped them with her hair. Her brother, Lazarus, was sick. So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.”

But when Jesus heard about it He said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, He stayed where He was for the next two days. Finally, He said to His disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.”

But His disciples objected. “Rabbi,” they said, “only a few days ago the people in Judea were trying to stone you. Are you going there again?”
Jesus replied, “There are twelve hours of daylight every day. During the day people can walk safely. They can see because they have the light of this world. But at night there is danger of stumbling because they have no light. Then He said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up.”
The disciples said, “Lord, if he is sleeping, he will soon get better!” They thought Jesus meant Lazarus was simply sleeping, but Jesus meant Lazarus had died.
So He told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come, let’s go see him.”
Thomas, nicknamed the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go, too—and die with Jesus.”

Jesus has been telling His disciples that He would go to Jerusalem and die there apparently Thomas is one of the first to actually accept it.

When Jesus arrived at Bethany, He was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days. Bethany was only a few miles down the road from Jerusalem, and many of the people had come to console Martha and Mary in their loss. When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet Him. But Mary stayed in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.”
Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.”
“Yes,” Martha said, “he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.”
Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in Me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in Me and believes in Me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”
“Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed You are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.” Then she returned to Mary. She called Mary aside from the mourners and told her, “The Teacher is here and wants to see you.” So Mary immediately went to Him.
Jesus had stayed outside the village, at the place where Martha met Him. When the people who were at the house consoling Mary saw her leave so hastily, they assumed she was going to Lazarus’s grave to weep. So they followed her there. When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at His feet and said, “Lord, if only You had been here, my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and He was deeply troubled.

I don’t care for this NLT translation ‘a deep anger.’ The NASB is more accurate ‘He was deeply moved in spirit.’ The verb describes the snort of a horse in a war or race in other words an involuntary response to some stimuli. William Barclay’s personal translation has it: “he was deeply moved in spirit so that an involuntary groan burst from Him and He trembled with deep emotion.”

“Where have you put him?” He asked them.
They told him, “Lord, come and see.” Then Jesus wept. The people who were standing nearby said, “See how much he loved him!” But some said, “This man healed a blind man. Couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?”
Jesus was still angry as He arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. “Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them.
But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.”
Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing Me.

‘Father thank you for hearing Me’ implies this was not a last minute request for Jesus rather He had been praying about this situation probably from the time He first heard about it four days earlier.

You always hear Me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe You sent Me.” Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in grave-clothes, his face wrapped in a head-cloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!”

The raising of Lazarus serves as a prelude to the raising of Jesus on Easter morning!

Many of the people who were with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw this happen.

John 11:1-45


Prelude to Chapter One

Randy K’Meyer

On Feb. 27, 1991, at the height of Desert Storm, Ruth Dillow’s worst fears were realized as she opened her front door to see two army officers standing there with grim looks on their faces. They were there to inform her that her son, Pvt. 1st Class, Clayton Dillow, had stepped on a land mine in Kuwait.

She later wrote, “I can’t begin to describe my grief and shock. It was almost more than I could bear. For three days I wept, and for three days I expressed my anger toward God. For three days people tried to comfort me, but to no avail, because the loss was too great.”

Then, three days later, her telephone rang. The voice on the other end said, “Mom, it’s me, I’m alive.”

Ruth Dillow said, “I couldn’t believe it at first. But then I recognized his voice and he really was alive. The army had made an identification mistake! I laughed, I cried; I felt like turning cartwheels. I’m sure none of you can even begin to understand how I felt.”

It’s probably true that none of us can.

But two sisters who made their home in a place called Bethany could and did.

Mary, Martha, their brother Lazarus and Jesus were all best of friends.

And so it was that when Lazarus became ill, the two sisters sent a message to Jesus: “He whom you love is sick” (John 11:3). Note that the message doesn’t include a request for Him to come. The assumption was that Jesus would come as soon as He received word. “Lazarus is sick, You love Lazarus, You can heal Lazarus. Now that You know, we know that You will come quickly.”

The strange thing is, He didn’t. He waited two more days before setting out on the two-day journey. And by the time Jesus arrived, it was too late.

Imagine the feelings of the two sisters as they watch their beloved brother slip away as they wait for his only hope. “Why isn’t He here;” they wonder, “Surely He’s about to arrive any minute.”

All night they wait, and the next day, and still He doesn’t show. Lazarus dies. Friends and relatives come to share their grief, but not Jesus. Finally, they go to the grave and seal the tomb. Can you imagine how Mary and Martha Felt? Jesus didn’t even bother to show up for the funeral.

Talk about being disappointed with God.

And yet John informs us very clearly that Jesus is well aware of the entire situation. Verse 6 indicates He purposefully stayed put for two days after He received their message. And verse 14 plainly states that He knew Lazarus had died.

So why did He delay? Everywhere else in the gospel stories, Jesus is eager to help those who are sick. No one is turned away; He even heals from a distance, but not so in this story. Why didn’t He leave for Bethany the moment He received the news?

I’m sure Mary and Martha were wondering the same thing because John tells us that when He finally did arrive both sisters confronted Him with the exact same words: “Lord if only You had been here, my brother would not have died” (11:21, 32).

In my years of ministry, I have heard many “if only” statements: If only we had seen a different doctor, this might not have happened. If only they would have stayed home, the accident wouldn’t have occurred. If only my loved one wouldn’t have died suddenly, I would have been more prepared. If only the Lord would have taken him sooner, he wouldn’t have suffered so much. If only I would have told him or her, “I love you,” I wouldn’t feel so guilty.

Why did Jesus allow two of His best friends to endure this, “Lord, if only” situation? Did He not hear their prayers? Does He not hear ours? Have you ever felt that way about your prayers in a dire situation? No response, just pain and suffering and a prayer that seems to bounce off the ceiling?

Why? John gives us two possibilities to consider. Verse 15 indicates Jesus allowed the whole situation to unfold, “so that their faith might be strengthened.” More importantly, verse 4 says, “This happened for the glory of God, so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.”

God will take this “if only” situation and use it first, to strengthen the faith of His followers, and, second, and more importantly, to glorify His Son.

As it concerns strengthening the faith of His followers, some of you may remember Harry Deeks. Harry was a faithful Christian, a great churchman, a personal friend, and confidant, who was a great help to me many times. To hear that Harry was diagnosed with lymphoma was a devastating blow to many. We prayed for Harry during worship services. We prayed for Harry at his home and in the hospital. Hundreds of people all over the country were praying for Harry. While Harry battled the cancer that was eating away at his body, his courage and spirit touched the lives of many people, some of whom came to faith in Christ as a result of Harry.

I will never forget when he came to the Christmas Eve service in 1994. His doctor strongly advised him not to go. But Harry convinced his doctor to give him a unit of blood so that he could. When he was wheeled into the cafeteria at Cloverleaf on Christmas Eve the faith of many people was strengthened. I know because I was one of them.

Hey, if we knew all the answers to life, how God works, and why He allows pain and suffering for some and not others, we wouldn’t need faith, would we?
Pain and suffering are an unavoidable part of this life, but they are not a sign that God does not love you. Faith accepts the fact of pain and suffering and keeps right on trusting God.

All of the prayers that had been ascending to the Father on Harry’s behalf were answered ten days later when God called Harry to His side for that event provided Harry with ultimate healing. And the faith of those who were privileged to know Harry and witness his remarkable faith in the face of death was tremendously strengthened just like Jesus said it would be.

Jesus waited two more days. It was all a prelude to a wonderful miracle that will bring Jesus much glory.

“I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in Me will never die” (11:25).

Now obviously, Jesus was not talking about the cessation of bodily function. Lazarus was dead; millions of believers have died. What Jesus meant was that the believer won’t die in the sense in which death has real significance. Biblical death is being separated from the Giver of life forever.

And then the question of the ages: “Do you believe this Martha?” (John 11:26,)
Something told her she’d never get closer to the truth than she was right there. So she gave Jesus her hand and allowed Him to lead her to her brother’s tomb

Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out of there!” (John 11:43). “And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in grave clothes, his face wrapped in a head cloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!”

And what was the result? “Many of the people who were with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw this happen” (John 11:44-45). And just as Jesus predicted “the son of God received glory from this” (John 11:4).

One night while conducting services in the Salvation Army Citadel in Chicago Captain Booth Tucker was preaching about how trusting Christ brings comfort even when walking through the valley of the shadow of death. After his message, a man approached him and said, “If your wife had just died, like mine has, and your children were crying for their mother who would never come back you wouldn’t be saying what you’re saying. Ten days later, Rev. Tucker’s wife was killed in a train wreck. As her funeral began the bereaved preacher stood in front of her casket to gaze one last time upon the face of his wife. Then he stood in the pulpit faced the congregation and said “The other day a man told me I wouldn’t speak of the comfort of Christ in the face of death if my wife had just died. If that man is here, I want to tell him that Christ’s promise is sufficient; that yes, my heart is broken, but I do not grieve as those who have no hope for I know that my wife trusted in the Resurrection and the Life. I want that man to know that there is no other place for me to turn for a sense of peace and comfort and blessed hope and that therefore I give Christ all the glory!” 1

The final result of this tragedy is not that death will win the victory, but rather, it is that Christ will be glorified!

This story is not a denial of the death of Lazarus, but that death will not gain the final victory in this man’s life.

The same is true for anyone who chooses to believe in the Son. Death; that is eternal death, can be eliminated in our lives. It has been conquered in the person of Jesus the Christ. And as long as people want to live rather than die, they will come to Christ as a thirsty person comes to a cool stream of water.

If we were to announce today an unmistakable cure for cancer or heart disease we wouldn’t be able to handle all the people who would descend on this place. Because people are afraid of death, and they are looking for a cure. Yet in Christ, we have a cure that is greater than the cure for any illness. There is a cure for death; the very thing of which we are afraid!

“Whoever believes in Me will never die.” What a glorious promise; no wonder they call it a precious hope! Yes, this body may die; check that, this body will die. But the person who lives in this shell will not because I trust in Christ. And if you trust in Christ, your body will die; but you won’t, you’ll live forever!

When tragedy strikes, when pain and suffering are overwhelming, when we don’t know where else to turn, how comforting to turn in faith to the One who is the resurrection and the life and contemplate what God has laid up for those who have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb!

A man named Bob was spending as much time in the nursing home with his mother as he possibly could, knowing full well each visit could be his last. One day when he returned home, he found that his 17-year-old son, Robbie, was sick with a headache and high fever and was eventually diagnosed with spinal meningitis. The next few days Bob spent his time between the hospital and the nursing home. He didn’t tell his mother of Robbie’s illness as he really didn’t want to upset her. Then suddenly Robbie died. As soon as Robbie’s funeral was over, Bob rushed to the nursing home, only to be told that his mother had slipped into a coma or a deep sleep. His heart was heavy with grief as he sat beside her bed as evening came. He turned on the night light next to her bed, she opened her eyes, smiled at him, then with a far-off look as if she were seeing beyond the room whispered “I see Jesus, and, why there’s mother and father. And why there’s Robbie, I didn’t know Robbie had died.”
“Poor Bob,” she said softly and then she was gone.

The story of the raising of Lazarus is designed to encourage us to follow Martha’s lead; to put our hand in the hand of the Savior and trust Him to grant us eternal life. This same author, John, in his first letter, can’t make it any clearer: “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son does not have life” (5:12).

Many years ago, when my kids were all under the age of 10, that when I would come home from workin’ on the Railroad all the live long day, they would want to play hide and seek. When they heard my truck pull in the garage, they would run and hide. Now Jennifer and Brian were old enough that they would actually hide in different places and make it as tough as they could for me to find them.
But Sarah was another story; she always hid in the same place. She was still small enough to crawl under her bed and that’s where she was. And the funny thing about it was she would leave her little legs sticking out. At first, I thought she was kind of dumb, then I realized that I was the dumb one. She always left her little legs sticking out because she always wanted her daddy to find her.

Do you wish to be found this morning by the One who is the Resurrection and the Life? Then open your heart and receive by faith what He offers.

Vance Havner, one of the great old preachers from the early part of the 20th century, and more than any other the man responsible for Billy Graham becoming an evangelist, painted a beautiful picture of heaven. “When I started out as a boy preaching, my father went along. Then when I got old enough to go by myself, I’d let him know when I was coming home and he’d meet me down at the little L & N station in Newton, N.C.. I can still see him standing there by his old Ford Roadster in that old blue suit that hadn’t been pressed since the day he bought it. When I’d walk up to him the first thing he would say was, “Welcome home, Vance.”

He’s been gone a long time now. But one of these days when my train rounds into Grand Central in glory, I’ll see him waiting on me, not in that old blue suit, but in robes of glory. And he’ll say ‘Welcome home, Vance.’

On the final page of C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, some of the children lament that they once again must return to their homeland; the Shadow-Lands. But Aslan (the lion who represents Jesus) has the best news of all for them: “You do not yet look so happy as I mean you to be.”
Lucy said, “We’re so afraid of being sent away, Aslan And you have sent us back into our own world so often.”
“No fear of that now,” said Aslan. “Have you not guessed?”
Their hearts leapt and a wild hope rose within them.
“There was a real railway accident,” said Aslan softly. “Your father and mother and all of you are—as you used to call it in the Shadow-Lands—dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream has ended; this is morning.” And as he spoke, he no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story.

All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.” 2

Alive, forever? Amen!

1 Comfort in Tragedy, Today in the Word, MBI, October, 1991, p. 10

2 C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle, (The Chronicles of Narnia), [New York, New York: Harper Collins, © 2004], Page 824.