John chapter 11 Getting a life - Dead Man walking - Again!!! Introduction: Dead men don’t talk. No one has ever come back to tell us. It’s just a story so what’s the point? You know the sort of talk. If you heard a news bulletin from the Middle East, close to Jerusalem, people claim that a Prophet-like figure from the Galilee area raised a man who had been dead and buried for four days - what would you think? Not a lot probably. But what if a relative or friend was there and rang or emailed you about it? It becomes a different story then. But even then you might think it was amazing, maybe even a bit scary but would it actually mean anything to you? Maybe not a lot. Now in one sense it could be asked about the incident in this chapter, does it make any real difference if it happened? People will differ on the importance they might give to any apparent resurrection of the dead. But we have been studying John’s purpose in writing this book about Jesus. JN 20:30 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name We have learned that John says Jesus is the very source of life and that he gives life, that he speaks of eternal life which is not simply living for every but the opposite of perishing - living without God. And that means the ultimate depravation. He gives life with a capital L. It is life given through WORDS, it is life to the max and life through his death. With all this information behind us already (or if you have just heard it) we are in a position to appreciate and see the value of this miracle recorded for us by an eyewitness, a friend who intends good for us. He wants us to have life and is telling us how to have it. Now if we keep all this in mind and reflect on what we are hearing in this very chapter there is a lot to make us think and we can learn a lot. So follow some leading ideas with me. I have two propositions to put to you and a question to ask you. First: Here was a dead man who got a life - again! Second: What we might consider the ultimate - Jesus considered a part of something bigger. Question: Will you “take” Jesus life? First: Here was a dead man who got a life - again!! The details of the story are very plain and clear. There is nothing in the detail as it builds up that is other than normal, the illness, the geography, the family grief, the reactions and words that are spoken, Jesus tears and so on. I make that point because it emphasis the normality and reality of the situation. It is meant to be that way. John is not playing with us, he is not merely giving us an entertaining story a good weepy at this point. He wants us to get a life; the life and he is showing us how. Resurrection in the Bible is not mere resuscitation, it is not reincarnation, and it is not some trick or illusion. It is about dead people, buried people in this case getting up, getting out, getting dressed, getting something to eat, getting back with their loved ones, in short getting a life, again. It is as plain and clear as that. Now that may be too much for you. You might say, come on, we would love it to be true but we all know it does not happen. Well maybe the book is a fabrication, maybe the writer is a con man or a dreamer, or a poor deluded kind of soul. But I would say this to you - will you read this book, carefully, maybe even prayerfully and see if it comes across like that? Here’s something else to think about. As people who spend every day dying we are not really sure how to deal with issue and so we get all sorts of ideas and responses. Years ago a boss of mine said to me, “the only difference between us and animals is that we know we are going to die.” Two things to say about that; firstly it’s not the only significant difference and secondly it is a very significant difference. In fact it makes us ask why do we know, why are we interested and if we came from nothing where did we even get the idea of God and heaven and hell from anyway? People might think resurrections simply do not happen, fine. People might think the bible is untrue, fine. People might think we just couldn’t know about life after death because it is beyond the science we know etc, fine. BUT people should be clear that the Bible talks about real flesh and blood, heartbeat and bones dead people standing up and walking. Strangely enough the Greek word for resurrection, anastasia, means to stand up. A Reader’s Digest poll published this month says 7 out of 10 Europeans believe in God but only 5 our of ten believe in an after life. This poll talks about all kinds of religion. It also says that despite all the anti religious teaching over the last 20 years. The RD says its poll shows no universal shift towards atheism across Europe. (8000 people surveyed across 14 countries). Interesting enough but John is talking serious, real resurrections when he tells us of this event. As we listen to the chapter and think about it we come to my second proposition; Second: What we might consider the ultimate - Jesus considered part of something bigger. If we take John’s account at face value then we would consider it the ultimate, wouldn’t we? Well many people have heard of Jesus healing sick people but isn’t this the ultimate healing miracle. You and I cannot get anymore sick than dead. So in any situation we would consider this impressive, the number one of miracles, yes? Here is someone who seems beyond prayers; beyond any kind of help and so one of his sisters is already thinking only in terms of the after life. Thanks for your support but let us try and get on with our lives. We would expect that. But Jesus will take this real resurrection and use it to drive home a point, a truth. Jesus is confronting a variety of things in this whole incident. The unbelief of some, the faltering faith of others, the misunderstanding of many. The sisters have an extra sense of sorrow because they both know that Jesus could have saved their brother’s life, if he had been with them. I think this is a statement of faith not a hidden complaint. These sisters also belief in the religion of their own people that there will be a great day in the future when the dead will be raised. See v23-24. Jesus will teach them something they need to know. See v25-27. They need to know that the great resurrection they believe in comes about through Jesus. He IS the resurrection and the life. That is it comes about by him, as God, as the one who is the very source of all life. He will confirm this teaching by bringing their brother out of the grave. This will show two great things. It is through him. The life he is talking about is even greater than that which Lazarus will get. Recall my point here that which we would consider the ultimate, Jesus says and shows is a part or a picture of something bigger and greater. John will go on to record Jesus own resurrection later in this book. We know that resurrection was different because Jesus came out of the tomb on his own (humanly speaking). But it was different in another important way. Lazarus would die again. (It’s intriguing to wonder what he thought about that as the years went by). But Jesus would not die again. And in that final resurrection Jesus and Martha were talking about no one would die again. This is a whole new situation. So if you leave the church thinking, I find it difficult to believe Jesus raised this man form the dead; let me give you a much bigger problem! Jesus says he will raise millions from the dead and that they will never die again. Now that is big. If you leave this morning with another kind of problem, namely, if Jesus did raise this man from the dead, so what? They try and see the bigger issue Jesus is raising. Jesus wanted this family to have faith in him for now and for the future. John’s big purpose is to show us that we can trust this man Jesus, this Messiah, this Son of God to give us a new life now that will endure for ever. It will even transform our experience of death. See verses 25-26 once again. Let me give you a condensed Christianity. God is our creator and we belong to him. The human race rejected the way God wanted it to live. This brought dire results the worst being death physically and death spiritually. It also brought us face to face with a God who was entitled to judge us. We all have a sense of right and wrong, justice and injustice. God in his kindness sends his own son to face the ultimate consequences of rebellion against God. He faces death and he destroys our poor record by bearing it’s guilt and then is raised to life in order to give life to those who will “hold their hands up” in honest confession and trust him for forgiveness and a new life. You might well have questions about this but understand that what is going on in this incident here is all part of this bigger picture. Now for my question: some of you may not be able to answer it at the moment but you will need to come to a point of answering it. Third: Are you ready to “take” Jesus life? Chapter ten has the beautiful picture of Jesus as a shepherd loving his sheep, but he talks about dying for his sheep. The chapter ends with a failed attempt to stone Jesus to death and then it goes on to show they tried to arrest him but he escaped. This chapter ends with a clear resolution that Jesus is public enemy number one and should be put to death. Caiaphas and God spoke the same word at the same time with completely different meanings. Verse 50-52 Caiaphas speaks politically and God speaks, prophetically and spiritually. Jesus great work is to be the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world by his death on the cross. The reaction of the leaders certainly proves that miracles don’t automatically bring faith to those who see them with their own eyes. Let me show you some things about faith, what it means to believe in Jesus. Look one of the sisters of this man who was resurrected. She so trusted Jesus she believed he could have healed her brother verse 21. She so trusted Jesus that she new that even in the midst of her grief he could provide for her needs v22 (she did not know what was about to happen. She believed in the teaching of her nation that there would be a day of resurrection and she believed that Jesus was the anointed king and Saviour they had been looking for as a nation. v27 It is about a personal, intimate trust in Jesus himself, who he is, what he says and what he has done and can do; it is a commitment to him no matter what, that is the Bible’s idea of faith, of believing. Here is my play on words. Will you take Jesus life? Not will you kill him! But will you TAKE , accept on his terms the LIFE he offers and only he can give? This is John’s purpose. This is why he tells his story. Remember he was there. The story comes to us in Words but they are words of truth and life, words you can act on and depend on. Notice some of the emotion of Jesus in this incident. v32-37 He was troubled to the point of indignation, at unbelief, at rejection of God and it’s bitter consequences. Our human grief and helplessness grieve him, so he weeps. At the human level he has lost a good friend. At the divine level he is going to give an amazing sign that he is the one who can deal with our great problem and give us everlasting life. This is a news bulletin from the Middle East; it is a good news bulletin. It might be 2000 years old but that does not matter because it’s talking about a life that lasts forever. A life in friendship with the God we have offended but who knows how to forgive any person who trusts his Son Jesus. Some of you may need to think more but some of you it’s really time you took some action. A step of faith / commitment.