John Series | The Plan

In John 11 will see a plan of two sisters (Mary and Martha) to save their brother (Lazarus), but Jesus doesn’t follow their plan and it leads to pain and grief.  How do we wrestle with the fact that sometimes God’s Plan doesn’t line up with ours and we must suffer?  How can we worship a Savior who would allow pain and grief when he has the power to stop it?  These are all questions and some answers that are uncovered in the story of Lazarus – John 11:1-40.
Mary and Martha’s plan was to put Lazarus on the prayer list and let Jesus know.  Their family was close to Jesus and figured, once Jesus hears Lazarus is on the prayer list then he would come down and fix him.  But as many of us have figured along the way that you can’t really put Jesus in a box because he always seems to break out to do something greater, and this is no different here.  Jesus doesn’t come immediately to Bethany and waits two days before He and his disciples begin their journey to check on Lazarus.  But as they come over the hill they realize they are too late as they hear weeping and see everyone in their mourning attire.  Lazarus had died.  Mary gets word that Jesus is at the edge of town and runs to meet him.  Her words are strong for Jesus: ““Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” John 11:21
John’s Gospel says that Jesus cared, even loved, this family, but Mary and Martha didn’t feel loved but betrayed. Their feelings blamed Jesus for not coming with urgency to save their brother.  Word of advice: Don’t trust your feelings.  Let the truth set your emotions not your emotions set the truth.   Remember what Jesus told us John 8, he was the truth and the truth will set you free.  Jesus hears the pain in Mary’s voice and Martha confronts Jesus in the same manner.  In these moments we see Jesus enter into the suffering of this family. He joins them in their loss, grief and suffering.  He says he weeps not because Lazarus is dead, but because of the pain of his friends.  
In John 11:40-44 Jesus says, "take me to Lazarus’ tomb."  They are thinking that Jesus wants to  pay his respects, but then he says – "remove the stone over the grave."  Martha says: "Jesus, he has been in there 4 days.  He 'stinketh!'"  Jesus smiled and looks up to pray to his heavenly Father for what he is about to do is for His glory.  And he says “Lazarus, come out!” John 11:42.  And Lazarus comes walking out still wrapped in his grave clothes.  Jesus says "take those off -- I want to give my brother Lazarus a hug to welcome him back."  
Big Idea: The grief and sorrow of losing Lazarus four days revealed the demise of death through the power of Jesus.  
Jesus tells the crowd that Lazarus was just a sleep and he would simply be waking him up. That is the power Jesus has over death.  That he just had to call his name, give him a shake, and wake him from his slumber.  Jesus shows the crowd, us, and the devil that death doesn’t have power over him.  This is a foreshadow of what Jesus will do three days after paying our debt for our sins on the cross.  Another stone will be rolled away.  Another tomb will be found empty.  Jesus will show his power over Satan, sin and death through his actions: I am the resurrection.