Sunday Services 9:30 and 11:00 am
Grace Summit Community Church is a nondenominational church which focuses on authentically living out what the Bible teaches. It’s also a church with a big heart—toward its members, guests, and those in our community.
Grace Summit leadership and members desire to make a difference in our world by demonstrating through our lives that God is real, that He loves people and that He wants a relationship with each person. The mindset of “making room for more” underlies the plans and activities of Grace Summit as we strive to include and connect with more people in all we do. We’d love to have you be a part of what God is doing here at Grace Summit!
This Week's Message
Heavenly Father, thank You that You are present with us. Thank You for the opportunity to take communion and remember what You have done for us – Your body was broken and blood shed that we might have life and we thank You for that. We know, without You we would not have life – it has been granted from You. Thank you, as we come close to begin celebrating the process of Easter, You gained us life – through the resurrection – and we know that one day we will live again. Speak to us through Your word, help us to be attentive to what You would say.
John 10:39 Therefore, they were seeking again to seize Him, and He eluded their grasp. And he went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was first baptizing, and He was staying there.
Jesus knew it was not yet His time – so He withdrew to the countryside – staying away from Jerusalem – and this sets up John 11.
Jesus has work to do before the cross.
11 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 3 So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.”
He whom You love is sick… this seems odd – Jesus loves everyone! But the ones Jesus was specifically said to love were Mary and Martha and Lazarus, and the writer of the gospel – John.
We have heard nothing of these until this point – and yet He obviously has an intimate relationship with them. The relationship is such that this is mentioned about them. It just goes to show – John 21:25 – I wrote SOME of the things Jesus did – but if I were to write it all, all the books in the world could not contain it.
We tend to focus on The Twelve. The gospels primarily focus on them. But there are many other disciples who are following Jesus – and these – Martha, Mary, and Lazarus – are 3 of them.
At the time of the Great Commission – there are 500 disciples there. In Acts 1, there were 120 who were regularly meeting in the upper room.
Mary and Martha are mentioned in Luke as well.
4 But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”
This brings us back to Chapter 9, with the blind man – displayed that God may be glorified. The purpose, Jesus is saying, and John is writing, is to demonstrate that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God. Lazarus’ sickness will demonstrate to everyone that Jesus is Who He says He is.
5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was.
Now, let’s put ourselves there. You are a disciple – and they come to Jesus and say that His dear friend is sick. You’ve been healing all these others – come and heal him! Jesus’ response is typical – often the opposite of what you would expect. Instead of hurrying, he delays two days!
The disciples are thinking – we just left Jerusalem – and we can’t go back there – it would be over if we went back. That has nothing to do with it. In some ways – God tends to wait. God delays. I think it is typical of us. We have all been through that – there is something we want from God and God just waits and delays. It is reality, isn’t it? There is a purpose behind the delay. The purpose in this story is that His power will be revealed in this sickness.
7 Then after this He *said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8 The disciples *said to Him, “Rabbi (HELLO!!!), the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and are You going there again?”
9 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. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”
Okay – it is time to go back – and they say – whoa! Wait a minute! Their fear is legitimate. This return to Lazarus sends Him to the cross.
Jesus talks about the day and the night – like He did in the story of the blind man.
Two points – He is stressing the urgency of Kingdom work. Kingdom work cannot wait! What Kingdom work has God given us? Discipleship/Evangelism/works of justice – these are the things God gives us in the Time of Light. Do we have an urgency to do those? Do we take the attitude that night is coming when we can’t do it anymore? We think we will engage later – but you won’t be able to engage in them later! It might be at your job – there is a person God is calling you to – there is some mercy that needs to be done – NOW is the time. There is an urgency.
Second, He is saying – there is a reality – Kingdom work is costly. He knows what it will cost – the disciples know what it will cost – in order to engage in the work of God, it will cost us.
11 This He said, and after that He *said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep.” 12 The disciples then said to Him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will [a]recover.”
Jesus says one thing – being born again, or a temple destroyed – or sleep – and Jesus does not mean sleep…
13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of [b]literal sleep. 14 So Jesus then said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.”
Now – what He is doing – He knows what He is going to do – but the disciples have no idea what He is about to do. There is something greater to accomplish – He has a greater purpose behind this tragedy. The ultimate result of this purpose is that people would believe in Him and would trust Him. God is much more concerned about our faith and ability to trust Him than we even know. He can bring about good in our lives. For us, oftentimes, when God waits, the greater work that He is going to do tends to be the transformation of our character and of our faith.
God is interested in changing us from the inside. He wants to bring about changes within us. Romans, with Abraham – how he had to wait for a child – it was in the waiting that his faith was strengthened and his character was changed.
16 Therefore Thomas, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, so that we may die with Him.”
Thomas – he is mentioned several times in John – in the other gospels, he is just in the list – but here – he is being bold – proclaiming his loyalty – but when push comes to shove – they all scatter. They proclaim that they will die with him. Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, but who can find a trustworthy man?
We are quick to say – I’ll do what You want! And then He says, I want you to do THIS – and we say – I wanted to do THAT! Like the parable of the seeds – the sun comes out and the faith withers. Or weeds come up and choke it out. There are so many whose faith has been choked or withered. They started okay – they swore allegiance – they made commitments – and proclaimed their loyalty – but God is looking for faith that lasts forever. Don’t be quick to proclaim loyalty, but learn to live your faith out over time.
17 So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about [d]two miles off; 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother. 20 Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him, but Mary [e]stayed at the house.
Martha and Mary are great. There are two stories about them – and they are totally opposite in how they respond to everything! We are so different.
There are three themes in this section.
First, she expresses her disappointment.
21 Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”
She is not saying that she believe He will bring him back to life. But she is very theological – she is expressing her disappointment and qualifying it with her faith. Why didn’t this happen – but I still believe in you. I understand that Your thoughts are not mine… she is accepting God’s will in this circumstance.
23 Jesus *said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
This is a resurrection passage. What is Jesus saying? He is going to pop out of that grave in just a minute and we are going to have a party – but look at Martha’s response – she is looking at a future eschatological event…
24 Martha *said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”
The RESURRECTION is not an event. It is not a theological position – it is a person – and I am that person! It is only through that person that there can be a resurrection! The only reason there will be a resurrection is because I am going to die for your sins! Good Friday and Easter solve the world’s issues and problems – and without them, there is no hope!
Do you believe this? 27 She *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are [f]the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.”
Martha’s response is amazing. We look down on her because of her response with Mary. BUT - She is proclaiming an understanding that few have!
The second theme – what faith looks like when it matures – Martha’s faith is continually growing.
Faith matures when faith is tested – and not until then. Until faith is tested – and faith is disappointed – it does not mature.
“Even now I know that God grants You what You ask!”
We think we believe – and then nothing goes the way we think it should happen – it is at tat testing point we need to fight for it.
She digs in and says I am going to believe through this.
What she is saying here? God is good. This is not good, but God is.
Often we are called to that. Our experience is not good – it is painful – it creates deep sorrow – but we fight for our faith and say that God is still good. And then we have this amazing confession –
The third theme – it also demonstrates the process of grief.
True grief must always express disappointment and questioning God’s role. That is always the example of grief in the Bible – even to Jesus – My God my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? There MUST be the questioning and disappointment and question of God’s role and abilities.
We must be honest with God.
The way Martha’s grief – “Even now I know” – Her experience tells her one thing and her theology tells her something else – and we do that too – and need to learn to reconcile the two.
Martha goes back to Mary –
28 When she had said this, she went away and called Mary her sister, saying secretly, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she *got up quickly and was coming to Him.
30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha met Him. 31 Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and consoling her, when they saw that Mary got up quickly and went out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”
She says the exact same thing! And she is often found at the feet of Jesus – it must mean something, go and do a study!
What we see with Mary – Martha has a need for deep understanding – Mary has deep emotions and she is weeping – WAILING even! It is just different ways of dealing. Their personalities are so different.
33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and [h]was troubled,
We have two women – coming to Him over a devastating situation – and these two women of differing personalities – and JESUS RESPONDS IN KIND.
34 and said, “Where have you laid him?” They *said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept.
He weeps with us. I don’t think He is weeping because Lazarus is dead. He knows in about ten minutes He is going to raise him and there is going to be a party. But I think He weeps because He sees what evil and sin and pain do to people – it gives a sense of anger – and He is here to destroy – to completely eliminate- that.
He bears our sorrows. He carries it for us. He is carrying Mary’s sorrow.
36 So the Jews were saying, “See how He loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have kept this man also from dying?”
38 So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, *came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39 Jesus *said, “Remove the stone.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, *said to Him, “Lord, by this time [j]there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.”
Four days is significant – The Jews believed that for three days the spirit would hover for three days and might come back to him. After 3 days – they were no longer mostly dead – they were all dead. Like when Jesus was on the cross – they wanted to make sure He was dead – completely. This was for their faith’s sake – He is dead.
40 Jesus *said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41 So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the [k]people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43 When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” 44 The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus *said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
45 Therefore many of the Jews who came to Mary, and saw what He had done, believed in Him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them the things which Jesus had done.
Lord, thank You that You are the resurrection and the life – because we believe in You we will not die, we will have life. We will not die in this world – but it will be life into the next world – it will not be the end, it will be the beginning of what You have always meant for us to experience.