Jesus shows His love in Unexpected ways

The Gospel of John   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Jesus shows his love for us many times in the most unexpected way's. Jesus delayed coming to the cry for Help from Mary and Martha as an act of His great love for them. Everything that Jesus does is always for our good and to display his greater glory.


Jesus Shows His love in Unexpected ways

The universal desire for a happy ending.
Humans seek after hope like moths seek after light. It’s intrinsic to who we are. Neuroscientists Tali Sharot argues hope is so essential to our survival that it is hardwired into our brains, arguing it can be the difference between living a healthier life versus one trapped by despair.
Studies show hopeful college kids get higher GPA’s and are more likely to graduate.Hopeful athletes perform better on the field, cope better with injuries, and have greater mental adjustment when situations change.In one study of the elderly, those who said they felt hopeless were more than twice as likely to die during the study follow-up period than those who were more hopeful.
It’s pretty clear: hope is powerfully catalytic, and why Dr. Shane Lopez, the psychologist who was regarded as the world’s leading researcher on hope, claimed that hope isn’t just an emotion but an essential life tool.
Jesus shows His love for us many times in the most unexpected way’s!
The narrative begins with a cry for help from Mary and Martha that a friend of Jesus Lazarus of Bethany was ill. Bethany was about a two mile walk from Jerusalem. Jesus was thought to be a 2-3 day journey from Bethany.
Introduction of Mary, Martha and Lazarus.
The one who anointed Jesus feet with ointment
The one who wiped his feet with her hair
The one whose brother Lazarus was ill.
Jesus most likely spent allot of time in Bethany and the surrounding area. Now when the sisters said to Jesus the one you love is sick what were they saying. Does this mean that somehow Jesus loved Lazarus more than all of the other people in his ministry. No it’s more like someone saying they know the pastor and love their pastor. What a great for us to have towards our Lord and Savior. The one he loves. This is merely a statement of fact.
Now lets give context to this weeks final healing.
This final sign will complete all that has gone before and point to the meaning of the resurrection itself. This miracle will prove to be the deciding factor in the resolve to have Jesus put to death. In giving life to others he himself loses his life. The story begins in the place where Jesus was first to set out on his mission. He has retreated here to avoid the dangers of Jerusalem, where several attempts on his life have been made. No sooner has he arrived than a summons comes from the sisters of his friend Lazarus. Mary and Martha want him to attend to their brother, who is ill. Unaccountably, Jesus deliberately delays his return for two days. The disciples are aware of the danger in returning to the environs of Jerusalem, and do not encourage Jesus to take risks. But when he tells them plainly that Lazarus is dead, only Thomas is perceptive enough to want to return, knowing what is involved and willing to take the consequences (v. 16).
The sisters send to Jesus a simple request. Much the same way Jesus mother did at the the first miraculous sign at the wedding in Cana. They do not suggest how Jesus is to respond to the request. At the wedding feast in Cana Jesus simply responded that his time had not yet come however this time Jesus delays because he know that his hour is fast approaching. Mary and Martha must have known how dangerous it was for Jesus to be in the vicinity of Jerusalem.

BIG IDEA: Everything that Jesus does is for your benefit and God’s glory.

1. Jesus shows His love for us by DELAY

We sometimes think of the disciples as “super-saints,” but such was not the case. They often failed their Lord, and He was constantly seeking to increase their faith. After all, one day He would leave them and they would have the responsibility of carrying on the ministry. If their faith was weak, their work could never be strong.
The schedule of events would look something like this, allowing one day for travel:
Day 1— The messenger comes to Jesus (Lazarus dies).
Day 2— The messenger returns to Bethany.
Day 3— Jesus waits another day, then departs.
Day 4— Jesus arrives in Bethany.
Now from the time that the message came to Jesus he was about a 3 days Journey from Bethany. Even if he left right away Lazarus would be dead by the time that he arrived.
Now the trip from
So the same Jesus who demonstrated His love for us that while we were yet sinners died for us gets a desperate cry fro help from Mary and Martha that his friend is ill to the point of death and waits 2 days to make his way to his friends aid. Does this not seem odd to you that Lazarus whom Jesus loved would allow two days to pass what a great way to show His love.
To display God’s Glory
To strengthen the disciples faith
Note: The death of Lazarus will prove to be for God's glory - not in order that God may be glorified, i.e. praised, but in order that God's glory may be revealed',.
If death of Lazarus came about so that God's glory might be revealed, this particular revelation of God's glory is so that God's son may be glorified through it: i.e. the raising of Lazarus provides an opportunity for God, in revealing his glory, to glorify his Son. The father and the Son are mutually committed to the glory of each other.
*Without the platforms for God working out his glory in our lives we would never know how kind, how powerful, how gracious he is. We can all make a beginning in our present pains by offering them consciously to God for his using. From such small seeds a new maturity can blossom.
Jesus love for Lazarus and his sisters teaches us that our faith in God’s love, even in the middle of adversity and suffering is well grounded. Even those that are especially dear to God must endure such things.
Jesus 2 day delay can only be motivated by Jesus love for Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. How can this be?
1. The delay was to wait for the fathers timing.
2. The delay was to insure that Lazarus was good and dead. ( There are sources attesting to Rabbinic belief that the soul would leave the body at death and hover around for the first 3 days intending to re-enter the body, but as soon as it sees its appearance change, i.e. that decomposition has set in, it departs. At that point death is irreversible.)
3. The delay was to confirm the faith of his disciples and friends with dramatic power that would have been lacking if jesus had responded immediately to the plea for help.
Questions that must have perplexed the disciples.
*If Jesus loved Lazarus so much why did he allow him to get sick.
*Why did Jesus delay to go to the sisters.
*Could he not have healed Lazarus from a distance like he did for the nobleman's son?
This story teaches us two things about God’s delays.
1) They are inevitable. Since we are mere finite creatures, we are necessarily largely unaware of the circumstances which surround the events taking place in our lives and those of others, as well as the consequences which result from them. Only God is omniscient.
2) Our desires are not fully renewed. Even if we were aware of all the implications, there is no guarantee that we would choose only what was for the highest good for ourselves and others. Our imperfect desires also make us want immediate answers, and render us unprepared for the patient ripening of God’s plans.
"God's love for His own is not pampering love; it is perfecting love." (Warren weirsbe)
The fact that he loves us and we love Him is no guarantee that we will be sheltered from the problems and pains of life. The father loves His Son: and yet the Father permitted His beloved Son to drink the cup of sorrow and experience shame and unimaginable suffering on the Cross. We must never think that love and suffering are incompatible.
When our Lord announced that He was returning to Judea, His disciples were alarmed, because they knew how dangerous it would be. (Bethany is only about two miles from Jerusalem.) But Jesus was willing to lay down His life for His friends (). He knew that His return to Judea and the miracle of raising Lazarus would precipitate His own arrest and death.
We are called to push back against the darkness, we are called into His glorious light, we are called to embrace our suffering.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may manifest itself in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.”
The Lord calmed their fears by reminding them that He was on the Father’s schedule, and that nothing could harm them. As we have seen, this is an important theme in the Gospel of John (; , , ; ; ; ; ). But the disciples not only misunderstood the schedule, they also misunderstood the reason for the visit.
Note: Jesus did not say that He was glad that His friend was dead but that He was glad He ahd not been there; for n ow He could reveal to His disciples His mighty power. The result would be glory to God and the strengthening of their faith.
The United States doesn't always come in first place. UNICEF surveyed 21 of the most developed nations and measured how kids related to other kids, spent time with parents, used alcohol and/or drugs, and perceived their own happiness. Tight-knit nations—like Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Finland—ranked the highest when it came to young people feeling secure and happy. The U.S. came in next to last, with the United Kingdom at the bottom of the list. UNICEF'S operating thesis was that "stable, supportive family and social relationships are far more important to kids' well being than how much expensive junk they have piled up in their rooms."
It would be comforting to shrug off the report as pure anti-American teen propaganda for all those haters out there. But the reality is that I have seen this first hand.
From an early age, they are taught that life is a pitiless pursuit of individual gratification and success, requiring above-average brains and above-average looks. There is no sense of context, or community, or higher purpose. I'm afraid, we have forgotten to help them answer a question that won't be ignored:
What is this all for?

2. Jesus shows his love for us by giving Himself

Martha’s Meeting with Jesus
We would expect Martha to rush out to meet Jesus while Mary sat in the house, weeping with her friends. Since Mary later echoed Martha’s words of greeting (), it is likely that the sisters often said these words to each other as they waited for Jesus to arrive. While there may have been a tinge of disappointment in the statement, there was also evidence of faith, for nobody ever died in the presence of Jesus Christ. “If” is such a big word! How futile it is to imagine what might have been, if—!
Jesus’ concern is to divert Martha’s focus from an abstract belief in what takes place on the last day, to a personalized belief in him who alone can provide it.
Jesus responded to Martha and her faith with the fifth "I Am" statement. Jesus did not deny what Martha said about the future resurrection. The resurrection of the human boy is a cardinal doctrine in the Orthodox Jewish faith. But in Jesus "I Am" statement He completely transformed the doctrine of the resurrection and, in so doing, brough great comfort to Martha.
1) Jesus brought the doctrine of the resurrection out of the shadow's and into the light.
2) Jesus transformed this doctrine as he took it out of a book and put it into a person, Himself. (when we know him by faith we need not fear death)
3) Jesus greatest transformation of this doctrine was to move it from the future into the present reality of Himself.
Martha was looking to the future knowing Lazarus would rise again, her friends were looking to the past and saying, "He could have prevented Lazarus from dying! Jesus tried to center their attention on the present: wherever he is, God's resurrection power is now available.
When Jesus asks Martha Do you believe this?, he is not asking if she believes that he is about to raise her brother from the dead, but if her faith can go beyond quiet confidence that her brother will be resurrected at the last day to personal trust in Jesus as the resurrection and the life, the only person who can grant eternal life and promise the transformation of resurrection.
If she answers positively, the raising of Lazarus becomes a paradigm, an acted parable of the life-giving power of Jesus. It is not more than that, i.e. it is not of a piece with the resurrection that takes place at the end of the age (cf. notes on vv. 43ff.), nor with the infusion of the life of the kingdom (since that is not normally accompanied by the reversal of the death of our mortal bodies).
11:27 . Martha’s Yes, Lord (cf. notes on v. 3) introduces more than a confession of the points Jesus has raised, but a personal confidence in Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God (cf. 20:30–31). Her confession is neither mere repetition, nor the pious but distracted and meandering response of someone who has not followed the argument. Her reply carries the argument forward, for she holds that the one who is ‘the resurrection and the life’ must be such by virtue of the fact that he is God’s promised Messiah. Her firm I believe (Gk. perfect, pepisteuka) reflects the state of her confident trust (cf. notes on 6:69).
What Americans Believe about Death.
A group of Americans were surveyed concerning issues of life after death:
• Ten percent believe we return to earth in a different form.
• Ten percent believe there is no life after death.
• Twenty-four percent believe the soul lives in a different place, determined by past actions.
• Forty-eight percent believe we go to heaven or hell, depending on confession of sins and accepting Jesus.
• The remaining 8 percent were undecided.
Kirk Cousins, the quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, has a sculpture outside his house with an odd purpose: it’s intended to remind him that he’s going to die. Well, sort of.
Planning to live to 90, the quarterback has a jar of 720 stones (one for each month he intends to live) at his home. Each month, he takes a stone out of the jar and carries it with him. He told ESPN’s Tory Zawacki Roy that “every month [he’s] going to take out a stone, put it in [his] pocket, and think: ‘Once this month is over, this is gone. You can’t get it back, it’s gone for good.’”
It’s only a little morbid until you remember that, as Cousins takes out the stones, he has a visual reminder—right outside his front door, no less—that his time on Earth is getting shorter and shorter. That may sound morbid at first, but it’s also biblical. The idea actually came to Cousins from a Bible teacher, in response to : “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” This verse, Cousins says, is “about the importance of leaving a mark and making a deposit in people’s lives in a way that matters. In other words, you have an understanding that life is coming to an end someday, and that we only have so many days. There’s wisdom in that.”

3. Jesus shows His love for us by tears and outrage.

Mary’s Meeting with Jesus
Mary is found three times in the Gospel record, and each time she is at the feet of Jesus (; ; ). She sat at His feet and listened to His word; she fell at His feet and poured out her sorrow; and she came to His feet to give Him her praise and worship. Mary’s only recorded words in the Gospels are given in , and they echo what Martha had already said ().
Mary did not say much because she was overcome with such great sorrow and weeping. Her riends also joined her in her great loud weeping, and lamentation. Mary's falling at Jesus feet indicates, perhaps, less emotional restraint than her sister Martha had displayed and utters the same thing Martha had said.
Note: Jesus inward reaction was anger or outrage or indignation. John adds that he was troubled, the same strong verb used in 12:27; 1321. It is inexcusable to reduce this emotional upset state to the effects of merely empathy, grief, and pain.
What, then, was Jesus angry about? There is not indication is anger is that the grief of the sisters was forcing him into performing the miracle, we already know that he had purposed to perform the miracle before he came, or that somehow he found the expression of grief hypocritical.
1. Possibly Jesus is angry with the sin, sickness, and death in this fallen world that wreaks so much havoc and gnerates so much sorrow.
2. Some think the anger is directed at the unbelief itself. The men and women before him were grieving like pagans, like the rest of mankind without hope.
Our Lord’s response was to groan within and “be moved with indignation.” At what was He indignant? At the ravages of sin in the world that He had created. Death is an enemy, and Satan uses the fear of death as a terrible weapon (). No wonder Jesus was indignant!
The mystery of our Lord’s incarnation is seen by His question in . Jesus knew that Lazarus had died (), but He had to ask where he was buried. Our Lord never used His divine powers when normal human means would suffice.
"Jesus Wept" is the shortest and yet deepest verse in Scripture.
Christians by nature are object of God's wrath (), even though 'in love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will'.
The one who always does what pleases his Father (8:29) is indignant when faced with attitudes that are not governed by the truths the Father has revealed. If sin, illness and death, all devastating features of this fallen world, excite his wrath, it is hard to see how unbelief is excluded. But the world who is at enmity with God is also the object of God's love, so it's not surprising that when he was shown the tomb where the body lay, Jesus wept.
It is unreasonable to think that Jesus is shedding tears are being shed for Lazarus, since he know he was about to raise him from the dead. Rather, the same sin and death, the same unbelif, that prompted the outrage, also generated the grief.
The spectators saw in His tears an evidence of His love. But some of them said, “If Jesus loved Lazarus so much, why did He not prevent his death?” Perhaps they were thinking, “Jesus is weeping because He was unable to do anything. They are tears of deep regret.” In other words, nobody present really expected a miracle! For this reason, nobody could accuse Jesus of “plotting” this event and being in collusion with the two sisters and their friends. Even the disciples did not believe that Jesus would raise Lazarus from the dead!
The one person who declared her faith was Martha (), and she failed at the last minute. “Open the tomb? By now he smells!” Jesus gently reminded her of the message He had sent at least three days before (), and He urged her to believe it.

True faith relies on God’s promises by releasing God’s power.

Martha relented, and the stone was rolled away.

4. Jesus shows His love for us by displaying God’s Glory

Although Jesus had told his disciples that Lazarus’ illness was for the glory of God (v. 4), he had not (so far as is recorded) referred to ‘glory’ in his conversation with Martha. His rhetorical question Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God? must therefore be taken as a summary of what was promised in vv. 23–26—i.e. to raise to life someone who has died is a revelatory act, the manifestation of the glory of God in Christ Jesus. Jesus’ question should not be taken to imply that in vv. 23–26 he was somehow promising that he would indeed raise Lazarus immediately, but that if, as Martha herself confessed (v. 27),
Jesus the Messiah is the resurrection and the life, then even in the face of this death he is to be trusted, for he will do nothing other than that which displays the glory of God.
11:41-42 "The remarkable Prayer of Jesus."
1. Jesus direct reference to God as "Father' is characteristic of his praying.
2. The prayer assumes that Jesus has already asked for Lazarus's life, that all He must do is thank his Father for the answer. .
3. The public nature of his prayer is not a matter of playing to the gallery.
*it seeks to draw his hearers into the intimacy of Jesus and his relationships with the father.
*The prayer demonstrates the truth of, that Jesus does nothing by himself but it is totally dependent on and obedient to the Father's will.
Jesus’ body was apparently prepared for burial in the same way (cf. 19:40; 20:5, 7). A person so bound could hop and shuffle, but scarcely walk. Therefore when Jesus commanded Lazarus to come forth, and the dead man came out, Jesus promptly gave the order, Take off the grave clothes and let him go.
Readers cannot help but compare the resurrection of Jesus, after which the linen strips were still present and the soudarion was neatly ‘folded up by itself, separate from the linen’ (20:7). The differences are of a piece with the general New Testament witness to the uniqueness of Jesus’ resurrection. Lazarus was called to a restoration of mortal life. Small wonder he groped blindly for the exit, and needed to be released from the graveclothes that bound him. Jesus rose with what Paul calls ‘a spiritual body’ (), leaving the graveclothes behind, materializing in closed rooms.
Because of the great change in Lazarus, many people desired to see him; and his “living witness” was used by God to bring people to salvation (). There are no recorded words of Lazarus in the Gospels, but his daily walk is enough to convince people that Jesus is the Son of God. Because of his effective witness, Lazarus was persecuted by the religious leaders who wanted to kill him and get rid of the evidence.
As with the previous miracles, the people were divided in their response. Some did believe and on “Palm Sunday” gave witness of the miracle Jesus had performed (). But others immediately went to the religious leaders and reported what had happened in Bethany. These “informers” were so near the kingdom, yet there is no evidence that they believed.
If the heart will not yield to truth, then the grace of God cannot bring salvation. These people could have experienced a spiritual resurrection in their own lives!
Keeping in full view and knowing the everything God does is for your benefit and his greater glory.
What are you going to do the next time God shows his love for you by a delaying his coming? Are you going to complain and take the bull by the horns and do it yourself? or are you going wait upon the Lord expecting something even better when he does appear?
What are you going to do with the reality of the resurrection and life he has given you in himself? Are you going to hold onto it as the best kept secret you know? or are you going to give it away to someone for whom the resurrection may just be a nice Easter story but far from real. A person who would prefer to keep the stone over the entrance to the tomb?
What are you going to do with the tears of outrage that Jesus shed over the stench of this sinful lost and dying world? Are you going to find sin and death common place in the world you live in and shrug it off? or are you going to be broken over the stench of sin and death in the world?
What are you going to do with the Glory of God that has been so clearly revealed in the Resurrection? Are you going choose to look more like the world and it’s reflection of Christ? or are you going to be a true spiritual reflection of God’s Glory and grace?
One hundred percent reflectivity. We, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord. You cannot produce light. You can only reflect it.
We live in a world today that is void of the power of the resurrection and life he brings. Don’t you think it’s about time we do something about it!
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