When life did not work out as we expected

John 11:1-44

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. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, 15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 So Thomas, called the Twin,said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house.21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”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. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”

28 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31 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. 32 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.” 33 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. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”

38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 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.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 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.” 43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 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.”

What do you do when you worked as hard as you could and did everything right, only to get the unwanted outcome? All of us believe in natural consequences. We believe in cause and effect. We know that if we do not study for our exam, then most likely we will flunk the test. We understand that if we do not work, we won’t have income and won’t survive. It’s safe to say that all of us operate in cause and effect mode. It’s the unbreakable law of physics. For every effect, there need to be a cause. So if you are hungry and you don’t want to be hungry, you eat. If you are tired and want to be fresh, you rest. If you are out of shape and want to be in shape in order to impress him or her, you work out. Guys and girls, if you are broken hearted and want to feel better about yourself you get a new haircut and go shopping. So we understand that for every effect there need to be a cause. It is an unbreakable law. However, you and I understand that in life, not every cause leads to desirable effect. Life is not a set of formula where E will always equal to MC square. It works in the law of physics but not in life.

Let me give you an example. Let’s say there is a guy named Bob and a girl named Barbie. Bob likes Barbie. Bob desires Barbie’s heart. So Bob starts to work out to get in shape. He hopes by doing that he will be able to attract Barbie’s attention. Then what else does he need to do? He needs to know what Barbie like and dislike. Barbie happens to be a strong Christian woman who loves God and very involved in church’s ministry. So Bob joins a ministry. In order for Barbie to take notice of him, Bob joins the one ministry that is impossible for Barbie not to notice and give him the freedom to talk to Barbie without any particular reason – Ushers. Single guys, take note. Now that Barbie is aware of Bob’s existence, Bob begins to make his move. He begins to pursue her. He starts texting her, calls her, takes her out to eat, buys her flower and expresses his interests on her. Slowly Bob begins to win Barbie’s heart and before too long, they are together.

Now Andy, sees what happened between Bob and Barbie. Andy happens to like Andrea and Andrea is very similar to Barbie. She is a devoted Christian who loves God and highly involved in church’s ministry. Now my question to you is this. Will what work for Bob and Barbie certainly work for Andy and Andrea? The answer has to be no. Why? Because girls are complicated. Okay that’s a joke. Because we know life does not work that way. Relationship does not work based on formula. There is no one absolute formula on how to win girls’ hearts. Andy can do everything that Bob did and even surpass Bob in every area. But it does not guarantee that he will win Andrea’s heart.

The thing about Christian’s life is a lot of times we turn God into a formula. We live with this assumption that if we obey God (cause) then he will give us what we want (effect). We understand that it is impossible for us to control the outcome when we are dealing with another human being. Yet a lot of time we think we can control the outcome with God. The truth is God is infinitely wiser and greater than anyone in the universe. He created the universe. We can’t even begin to fathom what is in his mind. If we can’t even understand the complexity of our relationship with one another, what makes us think that we can understand and control God? But if we can be honest tonight, this is what we do isn’t? We believe that we can control the outcome of our relationship with God. So when things do not turn out the way we expected, we get disappointed with God.

It’s not that you stop believing in God. You still believe that God is good, loving, all-wise and all-powerful. He can do whatever he wants. Yet why didn’t he come through for you? If what you asked is for selfish gain, then you probably can understand why he didn’t give it to you. But a lot of time, what you asked is actually a good thing. You pray every day, read the Bible diligently, serve in the church every week, give generously, work hard in your job and honour your boss, study hard and refuse to cheat when all your friends are cheating, and you obey your parents gladly. And the only thing you expect in return is for your family to be restored; for your dad to come to know Christ; for your family member to be healed; for PR to be granted; for you to be promoted at work; for your relationship to work out; for you have a happy family. But what happen is the opposite. Your parents got divorced; your boyfriend/girlfriend cheated on you; your family member is still sick and maybe even in a worse condition; your application for PR got rejected; your dad refuses to know Christ; you get laid off from your job; and you are still child-less. And you find yourself wondering where did things went wrong. Anyone with me? So, what do you do when life did not work out as expected?

I believe John 11 will give us the answer. John 11 is one of the most famous story in the Bible. It is the story of resurrection. It is the story of death into life. It is probably the second most-well known miracle of Jesus after the feeding of 5000 men. However, I think we often misinterpreted this text. We read this text and concluded that if God can raise Lazarus from the dead, the he can also bring life to our dead hopeless situation. And I believe he can. He is all-powerful God and I believe he still performs miracles today. But that is not the purpose of this story. The resurrection of Lazarus is not so much about us but about Christ. Listen to how John describes the purpose of this book. John 20:30-31 – Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. The purpose of this book is that we may believe that Jesus is the Christ and that by believing we may have life in his name. And it is interesting that John calls the miracles as signs. What is the purpose of a sign? Sign tells you what you are looking at. If I walk into this building and see the sign that says “ROCK Sydney”, it tells me that I am looking at ROCK Sydney church. Correct? John calls the miracles of Jesus as signs. Signs to show us who Jesus is that we may believe that he is the Christ and we may have life in his name. And the resurrection of Lazarus is the last of 7 signs that we see in the gospel of John. It is the turning point of the book. From chapter 12 onward, John zooms in on the week leading to Jesus’ death. The resurrection of Lazarus is the most crucial and climatic sign that reveal the identity of Jesus.

Tonight, my goal is not to give you lists of steps on what to do when life did not turn out as expected. Tonight, my goal is simply one. I want to give you a new perspective on how you see life. I want you to see life not from your perspective but from God’s perspective. I want you to see that Jesus is the Christ and that by believing in him you may have life in his name. Four things that we can see about Christ from this story. The wisdom of Christ; the divinity of Christ; the humanity of Christ; the glory of Christ.

The wisdom of Christ (V.1-6)

In the beginning of the story, John told us that Lazarus was sick. And I believe he was not just sick but he was very sick, to the point that his sisters, Mary and Martha, had to send a messenger to Jesus to let him know that Lazarus was very sick. This was not having a cold while you were in Japan, thought that you were dying and spent lots of money on doctor. This was real sickness with death just around the corner. And Lazarus was not a stranger to Jesus. John was clear that Jesus had a special bond with this family. And when his sisters told Jesus about Lazarus’ condition, what they expected was for Jesus to come and heal Lazarus. They knew Jesus well enough to know that Jesus can heal Lazarus. And not only that, John clearly told us that Jesus loved Lazarus. So, the sisters sent a special request for Jesus to quickly come to Bethany and heal Lazarus. And when Jesus received the message, he said in John 11:4 – 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.” So far so good. Jesus declared that Lazarus would not die because of his sickness. This sickness was for the glory of God. People would see who Jesus was and glorify God through this sickness. The expectation was that Jesus would heal Lazarus and God would be glorified through it. But then John wrote two of the strangest verses in the Bible.

John 11:5-6 – 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. How many of you realize the inconsistency of these two verses? Verse 5 tells us that Jesus loved this family. So what we have so far is three truths. First, Jesus said that the sickness would not end in death. Second, Son of God was going to be glorified. Third, Jesus loved this family. So I expect verse 6 to say something like this: “So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, Jesus book a first class ticket to Bethany immediately.” Or, “Jesus quickly called for his white horse and began galloping to Bethany as fast as he could.” Right? Yet verse 6 tells us that Jesus stayed where he was for two more days. In fact, the word “SO” in verse 6 tells us that it was precisely because Jesus loved Martha, Mary and Lazarus that he chose to stay for another two days. He did not choose to stay behind because he did not care about them but because he loved this family. And finally after two days, Jesus told his disciples that it was time for them to make way to Bethany because Lazarus had died. And here goes another very strange verses. John 11:14-15 – 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, 15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” “Wait. What? Jesus was glad that Lazarus died? I thought Jesus loved Lazarus. This does not make any logical sense. And I thought Jesus said that Lazarus sickness was not going to lead to death. But he died. What happen?” What do you do when life did not work out as expected?

Here is what happen. Jesus had a plan and he was working out his plan but his plan did not match Mary and Martha’s plan. Have you realise that God almost never work things out according to our plan and expectation? Sometime he intentionally delay his coming. Sometime he intentionally did not show up when we think we needed him the most. Anyone been there? Why? It was not because he did not loved us. It is precisely because he loves us. The delays of God are delays of love. Jesus intentionally delayed coming to Bethany because he had a greater purpose in mind. What Mary, Martha and the disciples expected was a healing from sickness. What Jesus had in mind was resurrection from death. Jesus wanted to use Lazarus’ death to strengthen the faith of his disciples. That was why he was glad that he was not there when Lazarus needed him. Do you see what happen? It was not cruelty but love that moved Jesus to let Lazarus die. It was love that delayed Jesus from coming to Lazarus’ aid. Because it was through the death of Lazarus that the glory of God will be seen.

This something that we need to be comfortable with. The wisdom of Christ is often very different from the wisdom of men. The wisdom of men says, “Hurry up and heal Lazarus now.” The wisdom of Christ says, “I’m going to stay for another two days and let Lazarus die.” God almost never works according to our expectations and schedules. If you’ve been a Christian for a while then you would know that there are many times where it seems like God has disappointed you. Where life did not work out as you expected. But here is what we need to remember. When life did not turn out as we expected, it is exactly how God expected it to turn out. He is writing a story that is bigger than our individual story. He is writing his story. We want Jesus to heal us from sickness but Jesus wants to raise us from the death. Jesus wants to show us the glory of God. Because what we need most in life is not healing but to see the glory of Christ. Jesus loves us more than we want him to love us. He wants us to believe in him and see the glory of God.

The divinity of Christ (V.17-27)

When Jesus arrived, Lazarus was already dead for four days. This is an important detail because the Jews believed that when a person died, their spirit would hover around the body for three days to see if some miracle might re-join the soul to the body. By the fourth day, the spirit would have given up and left. Therefore, death after four days was considered the ultimate death. So now Jesus showed up at the time where Lazarus was dead long enough for everyone to know that he was in fact, dead. There was no more hope for Lazarus. It was too late. And when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she ran to Jesus and said, “Lord, where were you? If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Remember that they sent messenger to tell Jesus of Lazarus’ condition. And they received Jesus’ reply that this illness would not lead to death but it was for the glory of God. So, Martha and Mary must have waited for Jesus to come. They waited for days but Jesus did not show up. Finally Lazarus died and Jesus was still not there. They probably hoped that Jesus would come before the fourth day of Lazarus’ death but he didn’t. And then, when all hope was lost, when it was impossible for Lazarus to live again, Jesus showed up. And Martha asked, “Lord, where were you?” And this is the same question we asked him again and again, “Lord, where were you? If you had been here just a bit sooner, my life would be different.”

Jesus looked at Martha and said, “Your brother will rise again.” And Martha replied, “Yes Lord, he will rise again in the resurrection of the last days.” With another word, Martha knew her theology. She knew that one day there will be a future resurrection for the people of God. She believed it and she had faith on it. She knew that one day that everything that was wrong will be made right. There will be no more death, tears and pain. She will be reunited with her brother. She got it but at the same time she did not get it. What Jesus was saying to her was not about future resurrection but the immediate resurrection of Lazarus. Then comes the grandest of Jesus’ “I AM” statement. John 11:25-26 – 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” Jesus is not saying that he had the power to resurrect Lazarus. He is not saying I have the access to resurrection. He is also not saying that there will be resurrection in the future. Jesus is saying that he is the resurrection. “I am the resurrection and the life.” With another word, he was saying to Martha, “Martha, I am what you need. I am what Lazarus need. Lazarus might have died, but he will live. And you Martha, who lives and believe in me, you will never die. No one who believe in me will die. Because I am the resurrection and life. And that resurrection is already here. It is standing in front of you right now. Do you believe this?” This is God-talk. Only God can talk like this. And Martha replied, “Yes Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God.” And Jesus would have smiled. Martha in all her limitations believed in the claim that Jesus made. But she had absolutely no idea what was about to unfold in front of her very own eyes.

The humanity of Christ (V.28-37)

After this conversation, Martha went and told Mary that Jesus had come. Mary quickly rose and ran to where Jesus was and said the exact same thing as her sister. “Lord, where were you? If you had been here, Lazarus would still be alive.” John 11:33-35 – 33 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. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. I want to draw your attention to two crucial things that happened in these verses. First, the shortest verse in the whole Bible, Jesus wept. Now, this is strange. Why did Jesus wept? Did Jesus know he was about to raise Lazarus from the death? Of course he knew. That was the plan from the beginning. If Jesus knew that he was about to raise Lazarus from the death, why did he cried? If I was Jesus, I’ll be super excited. I’ll be like, “Don’t cry girl. You are about to see the greatest miracle in your life. I am about to show you what you thought was not possible. Resurrection.”

I love Manchester United. I’m a super big fan and I watch every single game of theirs. It doesn’t matter if they are playing good or bad, I watch every single game. However, I also love you guys. And I want to be sure that when I am here preaching to you guys, I am in a good condition. That means that sometime I have to record Manchester United games and watch it later because if I watch the game live, I will be tired when I am preaching to you guys. And if I do that, I try to stay away from social media so that I won’t know the result. But in my phone, I have this WhatsApp group consists of older men who have lots of free time at work and nothing to do on weekend called “soccer talk.” Few days ago, I was busy at work and I did not check my WhatsApp for 2 hours and I was shocked when I saw 400 new message notification from this group. I envy them. Most of them have nothing to do at work. Some of them are in RSI. And sometime, I found out the result of the game from the chat notification on my phone lock screen. It’s annoying. So if Manchester lost, then I could not be bothered to watch the game. It hurts me a lot every time Manchester United lost. But if they won, then I would be excited to watch the game. And here is the thing. In the game, Manchester United might be behind and concede few goals. But who cares? It doesn’t matter how many goals the opposition scores because I know that Manchester United win in the end. I don’t need to get angry and sad when I watch the game. So why did Jesus wept when he knew that he was about to raise Lazarus?

Here is the answer. When your heart is closely tied with someone else’s, their pain causes you pain. Isn’t that right? If you are parents, you know it very well. Even if you know that the pain that your child is going through is just temporary, you heart still bleed with them. This is what happened. Jesus is not stoic. Jesus has tied his heart to our hearts that he feels our pain. That is why he weeps. Jesus knows the pain and the suffering we are going through and he weeps. The fact that Jesus knows what he is about to do does not stop him from weeping with us. Jesus is not late because he is indifferent but he is late because he loves us enough to show us something greater.

The second thing that I want you to see is the word “deeply moved.” On the surface reading, we think that this word means that Jesus was moved with compassion because he saw the tears of the people. But that’s not it. The Greek word for this is actually ‘embrimaomai’ which conveys the idea of being angry and outraged. And this same word is used again when Jesus walked to the tomb. Why was Jesus angry? Was he angry because the people were weeping at Lazarus’ death? That could not be because Jesus himself wept at Lazarus’ death. Was he angry at himself for being late? That is also not the reason because Jesus was late intentionally. So why did Jesus get angry? There is only one answer. Jesus was angry at sin and death. He knew that death was not part of God’s original design. He knew that sin has caused enormous pain on God’s good creation and he was angered by it. In this one brief moment, Jesus looked at the corridor of history and saw the devastating effect of sin and death on God’s creation. So, Jesus was angered and outraged in his spirit and he was greatly troubled at the same time. Why he was greatly troubled? Because he knew, in order for him to reverse the curse of sin and death, in order for him to give resurrection and life, someone had to die. Someone else had to absorb the curse of sin and death in order for us to have resurrection and life.

The glory of Christ (V.38-44)

After his interaction with Mary, Jesus was angered again and came to Lazarus’ tomb. John Calvin said that we should see this passage like a wrestler preparing for a fight. Jesus was about to wrestle with death. Imagine that WWE scene. Jesus walked into the tomb with the Undertaker background song. So now, Jesus is standing in front of the tomb. And he says, “Remove the stone that covers the tomb.” Everyone is shock when they hear it. “Remove the stone? Is he crazy?” Martha approaches Jesus and says, “Lord, I don’t think that is a good idea. Lazarus has been dead for four days. There is nothing we can do. Plus, it’s going to smell really bad. I don’t think you should remove the stone.” Jesus replies, “Martha, I know what I am doing. Did not I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” John 11:41-42 – 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 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.” With another word, Jesus is saying that what he is about to do is not for his sake but for the sake of those that are there. What they are about to witness is in order for them to believe that Jesus is Christ, the Son of God whom God has sent. Then Jesus looks at the tomb of Lazarus. He takes a deep breath and he yells out three words. Three words that turns death into life. Three words that turns funeral into party. Jesus cries out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” And at his words, life invades Lazarus’ dead body. Lazarus body begins to move and Lazarus opens his eyes and he walks out of the tomb. This is the walking dead before the walking dead. But the difference is that Lazarus is not a zombie but he is fully alive. The man who had died is now walking out of the tomb. I love the way D.A. Carson puts it. He writes, “The authority of Jesus is so great that had he not specified Lazarus, all the tombs would have given up their dead to resurrection life.” This is the glory of Christ. Mary and Martha was expecting a healing but they witnessed a resurrection. And then the next verse tells us that many of the Jews who saw what Jesus did, believed in Jesus. It tells us that ultimately this story is not about Mary, Martha and Lazarus. It is about God. God was using their story to draw many people to him.

Two lessons that we can learn from this passage. First, embrace God’s disappointment. The love of Jesus may often include disappointment for us. God will disappoint us. We cannot control God. His way and his thought are higher than our way and our thought. We will experience many days where we do not understand why God allow this and that into our life. There will be many days where we will cry out, “Lord, where were you?” But God’s delay is a delay of love. Jesus often disappoints us not because he does not care but because he loves us. And it is a painful process. Just think about what Mary and Martha experienced for a moment. Lazarus did not have a flu. He was dying. Lazarus death was a real death. Have you ever see someone dying? It is not a pretty sight. And they did not have a hospital back then. Lazarus was probably struggling to breathe, vomited again and again, coughed blood continuously, and getting weaker and weaker every day. It was painful to watch.

There was an ancient tribe in Japan that was renowned for its pottery. What they would do is that after they created magnificent, beautifully painted vessel, they would smash it against a rock into hundreds of pieces. Then they would join the hundreds of pieces back together with melted gold sealing the seams. The restored pottery was so much more precious than it was before it had been broken. And this is what God is doing in our lives. He allows circumstances to smash us to pieces sometimes so that he can fill the broken places in our lives with himself. God knows that what we need more than what we want is him. And he uses our pains to give us himself. I know this to be true from scripture and my own experience. It is in the days of pain and suffering that I experienced the tender sweetness of Christ’s love toward me. Can God healed me from Leukaemia without chemotherapy? Of course he can. But it was during the times where I was in so much pain and felt extremely weak where I sensed his love the most. Jesus’s love for us is not about sparing us from pain but giving us more of himself through our pain. This is the wisdom of Christ.

Second, believe in the resurrection and life. When life did not work out as we expected, it is very easy to think that God does not love us. But that cannot be true. We might not fully understand why God allows this and that but one thing we can know for sure that it is not because he does not love you. Look at the end of the story of Lazarus. John 11:53 – So from that day on they made plans to put him to death. Did you see that? It is because Jesus resurrected Lazarus that the Pharisees and religious leaders decided to kill Jesus. This is why Jesus was greatly troubled. When Jesus cried out, “Lazarus, came out,” Jesus was signing his own death warrant. Jesus knew that if he raised Lazarus then he would have to die. He is looking at the tomb of Lazarus and thinking, “The only way for me to interrupt Lazarus’ funeral is to cause my own funeral.” It is the last sign and the final straw that decided the Pharisees to kill him. And that is exactly what happen. Jesus have to pay for Lazarus’ life with his own life. But the good news of the gospel is that even death cannot hold Jesus. Jesus was crucified and died but on the third day, he rose again. By raising Lazarus, Jesus signed his own death warrant. By killing Jesus, death signed its own death warrant. Jesus overcame the power of sin and death once and for all. And now whoever believed in him, they shall never die.

And Jesus was not referring to temporary death. Lazarus died again after he was resurrected. But yet death does not have the last word. A day is coming where whoever believed in Jesus will never taste death again. Therefore, those who believed in Jesus no longer need to fear death. The good news for us tonight is that no matter what you face in life, no matter what sort of disappointment you are in, it does not have the last word over you. In Christ, we can say confidently, “God, I might not understand what you are doing right now but I know that you are for me and not against me. You give your one and only Son to die so that I might live. The cross tells me that you love me so much to weep with me in my pain and you took the penalties of sin upon yourself. Therefore, I may not understand what you are doing in my story but I know that you are using me as part of a greater story, your story! You are drawing many people to you through my story. So today, I embrace your disappointment and I believe in the resurrection and life.” RSI, do you believe this?


  1. What is the purpose of the book of John? How does knowing the purpose of the book helps us to understand the story of Lazarus?
  2. Explain the difference between the wisdom of Christ and the wisdom of men in the story of Lazarus. What does it tell us about God’s delay?
  3. Have you ever felt disappointed with God? Share your story
  4. How does the humanity of Christ gives us comfort in our daily life?
  5. Why was Jesus greatly troubled on his way to Lazarus’ tomb? What does it tell us about his love that he chose to resurrect Lazarus?
  6. “Jesus’ love for us is not about sparing us from pain but giving us more of himself through our pain.” Is this true of your experience? Tell your story
  7. What does it mean to believe that Jesus is the resurrection and life? Give daily examples
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