The Last Word

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Jesus is triumphant over death, proving that He has the last word

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The Last Word Brought Down to Earth -


An Imperfect Heroine

Very grateful for Eric Schlottman and his message last week on Spiritual Warfare
As he taught us, that God’s Word is reliable and trustworthy
and it is the Sword of the Spirit used against the enemy and his schemes
So let’s arm ourselves this morning
Open your Bibles to John chapter 11
As you turn there, I want to remind you again about Dr. Merkle’s seminar on elders this Saturday
Dr. Merkle has spoken internationally on the topic of elders, deacons, and church leadership
He has written multiple books, it was the focus of his Ph.D. studies
and we are very fortunate to have him come here
Saturday, 6-8pm will be his seminar with opportunities for questions and answers
then next Sunday, he will be preaching on eldership as well
Hopefully you are at now
A couple weeks ago when I went on vacation I finally watched the newest Avengers movie
Avengers: End Game
For those who are fans you already know that Avengers is part of what is called the Marvel Universe
Which is a series of movies, End Game was movie 21
Marvel is unparalleled in terms of a movie franchise
and the success of Marvel is proof of the fact that...
Our world loves heroes
People who are like us in most ways, but have powers that make them greater than us
and having these people come to our rescue, to save us, to always have the Last word over the bad guy
In this morning we are introduced to two unlikely and imperfect heroines
Martha and Mary
Martha demonstrates great faith
and Mary demonstrates a tender heart
But, because these heroines are imperfect, they are unable to be the ultimate hero our world needs
We also see a perfect hero, Jesus
Our perfect hero demonstrates that He is the hero we need
Because He shows that He has the last word over the greatest villain, death
So lets pray together this morning as we prepare to look at our hero in this morning.
follow along with me as we see Jesus called by Mary and Martha in vs. 1-16.


Jesus is Called by Mary and Martha ()

John 11:1–16 ESV
Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
The Apostle John, who is credited with writing the Gospel of John
began a relatively lengthy string of thoughts known as the Johannine Discourse
It began all the way back in
Right after the man born blind had been cast out and Jesus sought Him out
Immediately following that was we looked at two weeks ago
where Jesus taught that He is the Good Shepherd, we are the sheep
and we are to know the Shepherd, believe the Shepherd, and follow the Shepherd
and John continues his line of thinking into what we just read
Where, in vs. 1, we are introduced to three important individuals for this section of His gospel
First, is Lazarus, and his introduction doesn’t sound promising
He is introduced as the man who was ill
Then we are introduced to his sisters, Mary and Martha
Vs. 2 tells us a little more about Mary, she is the one who anoints Jesus with oil and wipes his feet with her hair in chapter 12
These three people know Jesus pretty well
The sisters call for Jesus, revealing that Lazarus’ illness is pretty serious
The sisters call for Jesus, revealing that Lazarus’ illness is pretty serious
But Jesus responds by saying the illness won’t lead to death
Which doesn’t add up because in vs. 14 which we just read, Jesus then tells His disciples plainly, ‘Lazarus has died.”
And in vs. 5 it says Jesus loved these three
This is agape love, the highest of loves
So Jesus loves Lazarus, Martha, and Mary with a godly love
Martha and Mary sent a cry for help to Jesus
And what’s it say in vs. 6?
When Jesus heard about Lazarus, He left immediately to help him!
we’re reminded of Jesus’s love for him
No, instead He waited, two more days
we aren’t told what He was doing during those two days
then it s
maybe He was really busy or had some important matters to tend to
then again, maybe not
either way, He waited
why in the world did Jesus wait?
was it unloving for Jesus to wait?
It’s easy for us to say no because it’s the “right answer”
But if that is our brother who is sick and Jesus is waiting two days, we would probably start to feel like it is unloving for Him to wait
and that is the key, our feelings
just because we feel a certain way, does not make it true
we can’t always trust our feelings, they are flawed
we must allow truth to shape our emotions, we should not allow our emotions to determine truth
so even if it may feel unloving that Jesus waited, He had a purpose for His delay
He clued us in to His reason for waiting in vs. 4
Lazarus’ illness, Jesus says, is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified in it.
and if you remember a similar statement back in Chapter 9, vs. 3
Jesus told His disciples that the man born blind was not blind because of his sin or his parents sin,
but that the works of God might be displayed in him.
There are birth defects, illnesses, and deaths happening in our world today
Marriages and families are falling apart, work is hard to come by, we have bills that just keep coming
Why is Jesus waiting?
He could come and take all these things away?
Because God can be glorified in all of this
it is for our sake
it is for our sake, so that we may believe
and just like Lazarus, Martha, and Mary
God loves us
Not only is the illness for God’s glory
but Jesus also reveals to His disciples in vs. 15, for their sake, He is glad He wasn’t there
again, why?
If He were there, He could have saved Lazarus
but Jesus says, it is so that we may believe.
So Jesus was called by Martha and Mary
and although He waited two days, we see in our next section that He interacts with Martha first, than Mary
After these interactions, we see Jesus enter into grief
let’s see how Jesus Grieves in .


Jesus Grieves (John 11:17-37)

John 11:17–37 ESV
Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”
We have already seen that Martha and Mary called for Jesus to come
John’s Gospel tells us that Jesus had agape love for these women
and in vs. 28, Martha tells her sister Mary, that the Teacher is here
Now this may not seem significant, but women weren’t taught in this culture
By addressing Jesus as Teacher, Martha is revealing how Jesus was unlike the teachers of the day
He taught women the truths of the Gospel as well as men
and in an increasingly feminist society, Satan has twisted Christ’s character
and allowed our society to believe Christianity as a sexist religion
John’s Gospel prominently shows that is not true
Men and Women are of equal worth and value in the Kingdom of Heaven
we’re about halfway through John’s Gospel and there are 10 primary characters who have extended interactions with Jesus that illuminate matters of faith
We had Nathanael back in
Then Nicodemus in
the man born blind in
And in chapter 20 we will see Thomas, then Peter in
That’s five of the 10 characters, all men
the other five characters? Jesus’s mother in and again later in
The Samaritan woman in
later in we will read about Mary Magdalene
and the final two are Mary and Martha, which we just read this morning
5 men, 5 women
Now that in and of itself may not be convincing enough
but the weight and value of these interactions should be
Let’s look at Martha here in vs. 17-27
Initially, in vs. 21 cries out to Jesus that “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
First of all, that is very likely true
Likewise, in our lives, when we experience loss, if only Christ would have returned sooner it would not happen
but at the end of that line of thinking, the what-if’s stop and the reality of the situation still remains
So, instead of grasping to the what-if’s, Jesus reassures with the reality of what-is
That Lazarus will rise again
Martha’s initial response in vs. 24, that she knows he will rise in the last day points to her faith and understanding of
Daniel 12:2 ESV
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Again, Martha is communicating a truth many of us can relate to
God, I know that you will return one day and wipe away every tear from my eye and put an end to suffering and death
But that doesn’t get rid of the fact that I am hurting right now, today, at this very moment
and again, Jesus doesn’t allow Martha to stay there
He proclaims the “I Am” statement on which all other “I Am” statements hinge on
“I Am the Resurrection and the Life.” Jesus says
Ed Welch comments;
“Of all of Jesus’ ‘I am’ disclosures, ‘I am the resurrection and life’ is the one on which all other statements depend. if death is not defeated, Jesus-as-good-shepherd will be with us only until we die. If death is not defeated, Satan is not defeated. So Jesus’ revelation of himself to Martha was intimate and glorious.”
and at the end of His teaching, Jesus asks Martha, the question that is before us all today, “Do you believe this?”
What faith we see from Martha! Her brother dead, Jesus was dragging his feet, in the midst of her grief and loss she, without wavering, proclaims
“Yes, Lord! I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world!”
This faithful proclamation echoes the Apostle Peter from
Matthew 16:16 ESV
Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
but nowhere else in the gospel of John do we see anyone make such a proclamation about Jesus
than we see this woman make here about Jesus
Ed Welch continues;
“In response, as a woman who represents all those who would ever follow Jesus, she makes a confident, clear assertion to him and about him: ‘Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.’”
The reason that the Christian faith is believed to be sexist in our society today is not because of the gospel
Jesus clearly values men and women equally
it is from our failure, especially us Christian men
If we want our culture to rightly value women then we need to rightly value women
We need to treat women the way Jesus treats women
and if we want our world to understand the equality between men and women in the gospel
we must not treat the roles of women as lesser roles
and likewise, ladies, you have value, Jesus has gospel purposes for you
don’t believe the lies that the roles God has for you are lesser
Well done my good and faithful servant is the prize available to women and men
whether we work in the home or outside the home
whether we work in front of the church or behind the scenes
whether we work with children or adults
whatever role God gives us, it has a gospel purpose, and it is not lesser than someone else’s role
so don’t view your role as lesser or greater, and don’t treat other’s roles as lesser or greater
God gives us each a role and each of us are of equal worth
the key is to demonstrate the faithfulness demonstrated by Martha here
despite the hardship of her circumstance she could still demonstrate her belief
And Ed Welch, ever the counselor, shifts our focus with a final comment on this passage;
“And here is one final thought for those who have experienced the loss of a loved one. This story offers a special invitation to you. For you, Martha’s words might be a liturgical lifeline each day. Your heroine’s words bring you into the middle of a conversation with Jesus, in which he is asking you the question, ‘Do you believe this?’”
“Belief then leads to life: Martha confesses her faith that Jesus is the Messiah, and Jesus call
But Martha isn’t the only example for us here
in vs. 28-37, we also saw Jesus interact with Mary
Mary demonstrates tender-heartedness as a mourner
and we see Jesus enter into her tender-hearted grief
but initially, her response is the same as her sisters
in vs. 32, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
and just like with Martha, Jesus doesn’t seek to correct her thinking
or convince her not to feel the way she feels
it says in vs. 33, he saw her weeping, he saw the Jews who were consoling her weeping
and He was deeply moved
ἐμβριμάομαι (embrinmaomai) - deeply moved; moved with anger; to speak or act with deep feeling.
it’s interesting, the word translated to deeply moved can also be translated as moved with anger or to speak or act with deep feeling.
God is an emotional God
We are made in God’s image, that is why we have emotions
but you see, God’s emotions are not tainted by sin
His emotions are trustworthy and His emotions never control Him
Jesus is feeling deeply here
it is a mixture of emotions, sadness and anger
it is difficult to even put into words what Jesus is feeling here
despite the fact He knows what He is about to do
He loves Lazarus and Mary and Martha
He loves us all
and death was not suppose to happen!
We are not suppose to experience this type of pain, hurt, sadness, anger, and loss
it is because of our rebellion that we experience it
and it grieves our God who loves us
did you realize how similar the pain you experience at the loss of a loved one is to what Jesus is feeling here
like Jesus, we have this mixture of sadness and anger
it is hard to put into words what we are feeling but we are feeling it deeply
despite the fact that we know Jesus promises to return
the fact that we are still experiencing death and loss hurts
so anyone who tries to tell you don’t be sad, don’t cry, count it all joy when you suffer isn’t understanding the example our Savior is setting before us here
vs. 35, the shortest vs. in the Bible shows us Jesus wept
and this wasn’t just Jesus was choking back tears
δακρύω (dakryo): weep, cry out, groaning, gush forth tears because of sadness, rage, or pain.
this is the only time the word for wept here is used in the entire NT
all the other times we see weep in this passage it is a different word
the word used to explain Jesus’ weeping is understood as tears are pouring out of his eyes because of sadness, rage, or pain.
also translated as crying out, groaning, or having tears gush forth.
This short simple verse is so mighty so powerful
to know that as tears pour out over the deaths of those we love
we are weeping because of great sadness, rage, or pain
we are groaining
we are being like Jesus!
we are grieving over the pain caused by death just as Jesus did
please, don’t hide your pain at the loss of a loved one
as if it is this false sense of faithfulness
cry, cry your eyes out, grieve like Jesus grieves
but, praise be to God this is not where this account ends!
Jesus continues from His grief and calls Lazarus
follow along to see Jesus calling Lazarus in ;
John 11:38–44 ESV
Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
vs. 38 starts with Jesus again being deeply moved
same word used to describe the deep emotions he was feeling back in vs. 33
So Jesus, still in the midst of grief has the stone moved
then prays in vs. 41-42
tying in the truths He showed in vs. 4 and vs. 14
That everything that has been happening is for our sake, to the glory of God
so that we may believe the truth Martha proclaimed in vs. 27
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world
So as we are grieving like Jesus grieved, we must cling tightly to this truth and through our tears cry out to God that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world
Because Jesus has the last word over death
and He shows His last word when he calls Lazarus by name, to come out!
and Jesus calls Lazarus by name, to come out!
Jesus is calling you by name as well
You see Jesus didn’t even go in and do any act of healing
He conquered death and gave Lazarus life by His Word
that is why Jesus’s Word is so powerful to us today
It is by His word that we have victory over death
Jesus’ Word is the Last Word
by displaying that He has the Last Word over death
some of the Jews there to console Martha and Mary believed
but the remainder of this chapter shifts John’s gospel, marching Jesus toward the cross
Let’s read how Jesus is targeted in closing this morning
follow along in ;
John 11:45–57 ESV
Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. So from that day on they made plans to put him to death. Jesus therefore no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there to the region near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim, and there he stayed with the disciples. Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves. They were looking for Jesus and saying to one another as they stood in the temple, “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast at all?” Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where he was, he should let them know, so that they might arrest him.
Jesus has the Last Word over death
but it requires Him to pay the price for our sins so that though we may die physically, yet shall we live for eternity
and that takes place on the cross
Pastor Matt Carter comments on Christ’s death;
“We sing and preach and meditate on the death of Jesus, not to bask in the gory details but to celebrate the glorious victory. ‘Bearing shame and scoffing rude, in my place condemned he stood; sealed my pardon with his blood. Hallelujah! What a Savior!’ (Philip Bliss, ‘Hallelujah! What a Savior!’).”
We saw in this passage that not all the Jews believed
and those who didn’t believe ran to tell the Pharisees
where we are introduced to the high priest, Caiaphas
If you remember last week, Eric shared with us archaeological records that show Caiaphas as the high priest during the same time as Jesus’ ministry
which is greatly ironic because Caiaphas also pops up in , threatening Peter and John to stop preaching Jesus
here we see him threatened by the miracles Jesus is doing
in vs. 48, the Pharisees are no longer denying Jesus’ miracles, they see more and more are believing Him
and they fear that the Romans will come and take away their place
What do they mean by their place?
Another way of understanding this is their privileged status
so they are afraid of losing their privileged status
their ability to hold influence over the people
and what do we see Caiaphas do?
Let’s plan to kill Him! He says
See, here Caiaphas wants to stop the name of Christ, so he plans to kill Jesus.
after killing Jesus didn’t work, Caiaphas does everything in his power to stop the apostles from preaching the name of Christ.
and here we are a couple thousand years later, still preaching the name of Christ
and thank you Caiaphas, because his name being found in the Bible and outside of the Bible has served to reinforce the validity of the Bible
in a display of God’s unstoppable power
God used a person who was desperately trying to stop Christ to support the trustworthiness His Word.
Jesus is the hero we need
He has the Last Word over every villain and enemy
Jesus shows hope in the midst of grief and loss
that as the resurrection and life
He even has the last word over death
let us celebrate that Jesus has the Last Word
will you join me in prayer
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