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John 11:35

John 11:35


Sermon: Death and Jesus
Bible Passage: John 11:35

I. Background Information:

1. Jesus loved the family of Lazarus (verse 5)
2. Lazarus fell ill and his sisters, Martha and Mary, sent word to Jesus (verse 3)
3. But yet, Jesus did not respond to their call (verse 6)
4. Subsequently Lazarus died (verse 14)
5. Both the sisters and villagers believed if Jesus had been there Lazarus would not have died (verses 21, 32)
6. Both sisters would have probably thought that Jesus failed them
7. Jesus viewed Lazarus’ death differently! (verse 11)
8. Jesus did not rush to Bethany, but viewed illness and death differently!
9. Jesus’ coming to Bethany after four days appeared useless because Lazarus had already died (verse 17)
10. Martha met Jesus on His way and apparently protested, probably upset at Jesus (verses 20)
11. With grief, Martha expressed her feeling and human assessment of the situation (verses 21-22)—it’s normal
12. Mary, on the other hand, was home-bound, mourning or depressed, or feeling frustrated with Jesus not showing up in time (verse 28)
13. Mary broke down at Jesus and shared her assessment of the situation (verse 32)

II. Jesus responded to the sisters in two different ways (let’s look at Mary first):

1. To Mary:

a. Jesus was moved in His spirit and was greatly distressed at Mary’s grief (verse 33)

i. Jesus was not angry at Mary and her friends for grieving
ii. We need to take verse 33 and 35 together
iii. Jesus identifies Himself with the grieving family
iv. Jesus probably was angry at the enemy “Death” and the devastation it brings to relationships
v. Mary, as a disciple of Jesus, could have demonstrated faith
vi. Mary’s cry probably demonstrated a cry of hopeless (cultural) despite her closeness to Jesus

b. Jesus teared up as He was talking to Mary (verse 35)

i. Jesus’ tearing up was not out of hopelessness
ii. Death hurts everyone, particularly the immediate families
iii. Jesus demonstrated what is needed to a grieving person—“empathy”
iv. Jesus shows His empathy to Mary, Martha, and the onlookers

2. To Martha:

a. I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even if he dies (verse 25)
b. The one who lives and believes in me will never die (verse 25)
c. Jesus asked Martha if she believed this truth (verse 26b)
d. Martha answered more than the required answer (verse 27)

i. She addressed Jesus “Lord” as opposed to “teacher”
ii. She said, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God who comes into the world”

e. From His conversation with Martha, Jesus draws attention away from those who are dead to those who are alive
f. Jesus’ focus is not necessarily the life on earth, but eternal life
g. Martha and Mary were mourning for the physical death of their brother
h. But Jesus is helping them to understand how one can live beyond death—“believe in me” is the important expression of this chapter

III. Observations:

1. Just because a person is a believer, it does not mean that God is obligated to answer all their prayers—He continues to be the Sovereign One
2. When believers do not receive answers to their prayers does not mean that God has not heard their prayer
3. If believers have not received the answer they wanted, it does not mean that God rejected them—He emphathizes with them
4. Two things are important in any human situation: God’s glory and exaltation of the Son (verse 4)
5. Prayer delayed is not prayer denied
6. Believers in Christ do not have death because they are already in the eternity
7. Believers, who are now dead physically, continue to live

Take Away: 

In our grief, seek God’s glory and Son’s exaltation

Speaker: William J. Subash

Born and raised in south India, William J. Subash became a follower of Jesus Christ in 1983 at the age of nineteen. After a brief career in a tea and coffee plantation, Subash decided to spend rest of his life to preach about Jesus and his life-transforming message of God, which is popularly known as “the Gospel.” Subash teaches New Testament Studies at two institutions: SAIACS in India and Liberty University Online, VA, USA. Currently, Subash serves as the chief point person for GROW Gospel Initiatives and the Lead Pastor of the Crossroad Church, Bangalore. Write to him at