Teaching/Preaching John 11 - Lazarus' Resurrection

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by NateT, Jun 7, 2006.

  1. NateT

    NateT
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    I'm going to be teaching John 11 this Sunday in SS. We've been going through the miracles in the gospel of John for a few weeks with different people teaching different miracles.

    I thought I'd do an informal survey to find who's taught this passage before.

    If you have taught it, what was the main content of your message. What did you spend the bulk of your time on?

    If you haven't taught it, but would like to weigh in, what would be the bulk of your message if you were to teach/preach this passage?

    Thanks
     
  2. Joseph M. Smith

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    This is not going to respond to your inquiry ... though I may do so later. But I just wanted to share that one of the most exciting sermons I ever heard was given by a South African minister not long after that nation emerged from apartheid. He spoke of the South African people as having been "dead" from that system, but now alive again, but with restrictions of all sorts. His premise was that the Christians of South Africa have much to do to "unbind ... and let go" those whom God has raised to new life.
     
  3. Trotter

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    Two miracles involved: Jesus' knowledge of Lazarus' condition, and Jesus calling Lazarus from the grave.

    The Jews believed that a person's spirit stayed with the body for three days (based off of superstition, as many people were thought dead who were comatose). By waiting until the fourth day, Jesus showed His power over death by calling Lazarus forth AFTER his spirit had departed for Sheol.

    What is Jesus had not specified Lazarus by name? What if He had just said, "Come Forth"?

    The comfort that Jesus gives to Martha in verses 25-26 could take up a couple of Sundays! Those two verses can even be the basis for an entire preaching series.

    The words of Caiaphas, as well as the actions of Pharisees ("from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death.") shows the world's reaction to the words and deeds of Christ.

    The emotions of Jesus can be an entire study as well. His tears and His internal groaning show the depth of His compassion for Martha and Mary, as well as for His friend Lazarus.
     
  4. NateT

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    Trotter, all excellent points. As I've been preparing, I've been grieved over the fact that I have to condense it all into 1 30-45 minute lesson :( I was thinking I could spend a week on the first 16 verses, about how even though He knew what was going on, He still waited. And that He was glad (for the disciples sake) that Lazarus had died. And that the sickness would not end in death so that God's name might be glorified.

    Thanks for the input.

    What applications would you guys draw from this? What is the spiritual reality that John is signifying by this miracle?
     
  5. GraceAlone

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    When I preached from this passage several years ago the text and spirit of the message all seemed to point squarely at Jesus' declaration in the 25th verse "I am the resurrection and the life" The resurrection is not an event, it's a person. The follow-up was on "whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?" And Martha's reaction KNOWING that her brother WAS DEAD" in one sense. All powerful stuff. Thanks for reminding me! :praise:
     
  6. Tom Butler

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    I've always been fascinated by the sequence of Lazarus' raising. When Jesus called out "Lazarus, come forth," Lazarus obviously heard him. So does that mean that Lazarus was already alive to hear the call and respond? I think you can make a case that he was.

    Can we draw a parallell, then with the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration? That is, the HS quickens, makes alive, regenerates that soul dead in trespasses and sin, so that person may freely respond to the call of Christ.
     
  7. NateT

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    I was meditating on that part yesterday. I was struck by the fact that Jesus said "I am the resurrection." I started realizing, like you, that it isn't an event. It's a person. But it's more than that. Jesus is defining Himself as the resurrection. That is, part of His character is the work of resurrection. It wasn't just a couple people 2000 years ago were resurrected, but every resurrection (spiritual and physical) is from Jesus.

    I was thinking about that as I walked across campus yesterday. Then it hit me even more. He isn't just the resurrection, but also the life. He doesn't just resurrect us and say "There ya go." But rather resurrects us and sustains us by being the life.
     
  8. LeBuick

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    Our strong ties and beliefs to earthly, physical order, possibilities and understandings are blinders, a handicap if you will and a massive wall or obstacle to satisfactory faith. So much so John brilliantly summed it up in v35 with two words, "Jesus wept". What powerful words...

    I love to introduce the characters, the Jews I mean GODS chosen people, the ones waiting on the massiah (note the operative, waiting), who were said to be seeking Jesus (v8), they were there (this will contrast in v45). Not just any Mary, v2 says this was that same Mary that wiped his feet with her hair and believed so in HIM that she earned a place in biblical (MT 26:13) history with the contents of an alabaster box, she was there. His own diciples (v15) etc...

    I believe it's significant to note these were religeous and GOD fearing people of that time saying, "Jesus, if you had of been here etc..." We do this to this day.

    Sorry to Dribble but I love this passage, I do many series on this. Note the separation of the Jewish on lookers in vs 45 and 46. Some believed and some ran to the Pharisees....

    Note also v15, I'm glad for your sake... Or is this, I'm glad for our sake...
     
  9. LeBuick

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    True, but notice v25 has a paculiar word, "though here were dead, YET shall he live".
     
  10. LeBuick

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    I have always felt Lasarus spirit heard the call and went back to the grave and got the body. I will stew on your flavor a bit.

    Now this I love, I hope you don't mind if I use it?
     
  11. NateT

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    I just finished my outline for tomorrow morning.

    In my intro I talk about the themes that are in John 11 (like the Divinity of Jesus, Humanity of Jesus, role of faith) and then list two areas to talk about: 1. Glory of God in suffering and 2. Glory of God in resurrection.

    I took v4 to be the "Central Idea of the Text" - that is, the whole narrative was written so that God might be glorified and the son might be glorified by Lazrus' illness.

    Then under the Glory of God in suffering, I defined two types of suffering, passive, and active. Passive is when suffering happens because someone else was ignorant (like my son being scared because I didn't know he went downstairs in the dark.) Active suffering is when we suffer as a direct result of someone's deliberat action (like when my daughter has to come inside for a few minutes because she was naughty while playing outside - she suffers the pain of not playing outside because I make her suffer)

    I reminded my listeners, that the right posture before God when we're suffering is to see how He might be using it to glorify Himself. Instead of making statements like Mary and Martha which said "if you had been here, he wouldn't have died." (although Jesus didn't rebuke them for that thought.)

    I then talked about how Jesus is the resurrection. That is one of the ways He has defined Himself to us. (Similar to me defining myself as a student.) It isn't just something He does from time to time, but it is a constant practice of His.

    I also talked about how He isn't just the resurrection, but also the life. That is, He will sustain us. That we didn't resurrect ourselves from our spiritual death, and so we shouldn't think we can just buckle down and try harder in our sanctification.

    I also talked about how our resurrection is not the end of the gospel, but the beginning. THat Jesus promises to be our life shows that the good news continues beyond our initial slavation experience.

    If you notice, I didn't spend hardly any time discussing the historical facts of the narrative. In the class I'm leading, I would honestly be surprised if there was anyone there who doubts that Lazarus was really dead and that Jesus really did resurrect him. Further, there aren't any that I know of who would doubt either Jesus divinty or humanity. As a result, I decided to try and focus this lesson to see how John 11 can impact our lives.

    Thanks for all yall's input. I did appreciate it.
     
  12. LeBuick

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    Bro Nate, how did it go? If you're like me you didn't use half the material you brought. I have brought 5 and 6 page manuscripts to the pulpit and never got past the first paragraph. The LORD sure is good!
     
  13. NateT

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    It went well. I typically use everything that I bring. But the most I ever bring right now is a 2 page outline. That is typically enough for me.

    I'm not sure how anyone else profited from it, but the regular Sunday school teacher thought it was good job.

    I was nervous, it had been 2.5 years since I'd taught a SS or preached. I thought it showed, but my wife told me afterwards, she didn't notice any dropoff from the last time I preached.

    Thanks
     
  14. webdog

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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tom Butler
    Can we draw a parallell, then with the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration? That is, the HS quickens, makes alive, regenerates that soul dead in trespasses and sin, so that person may freely respond to the call of Christ.


    One thing I was thinking about reading this thread and Tom Butler's response: The "Word" is all that is needed to be heard in order for man to respond, meaning the act of the Holy Spirit is not done first, but rather coincides (if not follows) with the hearing of Christ's words.
     
  15. mima

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    Why did Jesus weep?

    Did Jesus weep because of his love for Lazarus? I think hardly likely for at least two reasons, one he apparently was glad that Lazarus was dead. And he could He have been sad because Lazarus was dead when he knew for a certainty that he would be alive within moments after His calling him forth.
    May I suggest that Jesus weeping was brought about because of the unbelief of the Jews standing nearby and Lazarus's sisters who also did not really believe. Are not many of us at this very hour in this condition of unbelief?
     
  16. LeBuick

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    I don't see where anyone said he did??? Can you point me to the quote?
     
  17. LeBuick

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    Something to consider, Jesus was still in the flesh when this miracle was performed. The Holy Spirit or the comforter is the portion of the GOD head currently residing with us. Are you implying you can speak the word without the support and power of the Spirit???
     
  18. webdog

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    No, the Spirit and the Word work together. The point I was getting at was the fact that the reformed view in this thread stated the Holy Spirit must have regenerated Lazarus SO THAT he could respond to Christ. This is bologna, as this would put the power of the Holy Spirit above Christ (as is widely taught in reformed theology), meaning one cannot respond to Christ UNLESS the Holy Spirit allows. This is not biblical. Lazarus (physically dead) responded to Christ (who is the resurrection and the life) the same way that a spiritually dead person can respond to the Word.
     
  19. Brother Bob

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    Lazarus must of been both physical and Spiritual dead even though he was in Hell. He was spiritual dead when he went in hell and don't know where he was ever made alive do you? That is a good point webdog, I will have to remember that one.
     
  20. Tom Butler

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    I thought this thread was dead until it was "resurrected" (groan) today. I want to correct one part of your statement, webdog. I did not say that the Holy Spirit regenerated Lazarus. Jesus did, just as he raised others from the dead through His own power. I simply pointed to Lazarus resurrection as a parallel to the work of the HS in salvation.

    Further, you have followed the example of so many anti-reformed folks by misrepresenting what reformed folks believe. The Holy Spirit is not above Christ and I have never heard any Calvinist say so. And contrary to what you said, the Holy Spirit doesn't "allow" a lost person to respond to the gospel--He actually enables such a response (willingly, by the way) by regenerating them.

    The point is that a dead Lazarus was empowered by Jesus to walk out of that tomb. Without the exercise of that power by God, Lazarus could not have responded to a call to come forth. Had Jesus not called him out, Lazarus have remained there.

    That's the parallel I think exists with regard to salvation. Divine action precedes salvation.
     

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