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         John 11:1-45 - Lent 5 - "It's Time to Get Up"
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Sermon for John 11: There is a lot of good news being reported around the world, a kind of resurrection. I don’t mean a Christian resurrection; I mean a democratic resurrection from the tomb of political oppression. No doubt you have heard some of things that have happened these last two weeks. The citizens of Lebanon have taken to the streets and driven out Syria who has long oppressed their country. Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, told Syrian President Assad to end his nation's three-decade occupation of Lebanon. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, abruptly announced plans to hold the first free, multiparty election in his country's history. President Abbas of the Palestinians wants peace with Israel and is fighting for it against the terrorists groups of Islamic Jihad and Hamas.

 

And certainly we can’t forget the brave peoples of Iraq, of Afghanistan, of Georgia, of Ukraine, who have raised loud their voices for freedom, often at peril to their lives. Each day, there are new tremors signaling the emergence of freedom and democracy. If it can hold, it will be the fall of the Berlin Wall in the Middle East. Hey folks, that’s a resurrection worth noting in my book, that’s good news.

 

Good News all around us and I have good news for you: God has a resurrection for you!  He wants to bring you out into the light again.  He wants to bring you out of that tomb of oppression and give you a new start.  And listen!  He has the power to do it.  He can bring you back to life.

 

This powerful story in John 11 speaks to this.  Remember it with me.  Mary and Martha who live in Bethany are some of Jesus’ closest friends… They send word to him that their brother, whose name is Lazarus, is desperately ill.  “Please come.  We need your help.  Hurry.  He is sinking fast.”  But by the time Jesus gets there, Lazarus has died… and has been in his grave for four days.  Mary and Martha come out to meet Jesus and they express their grief:  “He’s gone.  We’ve lost him.  O Lord, if only you have been here, our brother would not have died.”

 

The family and friends have gathered and in their deep sorrow, they begin to weep over the loss of their loved one, Lazarus.  The heart of Jesus goes out to them… and Jesus weeps with them.  He loved Lazarus, too… and he loves them… and he shares their pain.  Jesus goes out to the cave-like tomb and he says to them: “Roll back the stone!”  Martha, always the realist and ever ready to speak out, protests: “But Lord, we can’t do that.  He has been in the grave for 4 days.  By now there will be a terrible odor.”  Jesus says to her: “Martha, only believe and you will see the power of God.”

 

So they roll the stone away… and Jesus cries out in a loud voice: “Lazarus, come forth!”  And incredibly, miraculously, amazingly, before their very eyes… Lazarus is resurrected!  He comes out of the tomb.  He still has on his grave clothes.  His head and feet are still wrapped with mummy-like bandages.  Jesus then turns to the friends and family and says to them, “Unbind him and let him go.  Unwrap him and set him free.”

 

In this graphic and dramatic story, three awesome lessons jump out at us.  Three great truths emerge which can be so helpful to us today.  Let me list them for us: Jesus wept with those he loved and he still does.  Jesus raised people up and he still does.  Jesus included others in the healing process… and he still does.

 

1. First, Jesus wept with those he loved...and he still does.

2. Second, Jesus raised people up…and he still does.

3. Third, he included others in the healing process…and he still does.

 
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Sermon Series for Lent:

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Lenten: A Sight For Blind Eyes
David E. Leininger

1. Lent - Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

2. The Devil Made Me Do It - Matthew 4:1-11

3. Nicodemus - John 3:1-15

4. Excuses (Alternate Lent 2) - Luke 14:16-23

5. Unexpected Evangelists - John 4:5-42

6. Sight for Blind Eyes - John 9:

7. The Grief Grinch - John 11:17-36

8. Sometimes Youve Got to Shout! - John 12:12-16
9. The Imperatives of the Resurrection - Matthew 28:1-10


Lenten: They Heard Him Gladly
James W. Moore

1. The Common People Heard Him Gladly - Mark 12:35-37

2. Jesus and Andrew - John 1:35-42

3. Jesus and Zacchaeus - Luke 19:1-10

4. Jesus and Bartimaeus - Mark 10:46-52

5. Jesus and Mary and Martha - Luke 10:38-42

6. Jesus and Mary Magdalene - John 20:11-18

7. When The Risen Christ Comes Looking For Us - John 21:15-19


Lenten: The Passion Of The Christ
Brett Blair

1. His Triumphal Entry - Luke 19:28-40

2. His Cleansing Of The Temple - Luke 19:45-48

3. His Teachings - Luke 20:27-38
4. His Last Supper - Luke 22:14-23

5. His Trial - Luke 23:13-25

6. His Death - Luke 23:33-43

7. His Resurrection - John 20:1-18 or Luke 24:1-10

Lenten: The Healing Power Of The Christ
James W. Moore

1. The Healing Of Simons Mother-in-Law - Mark 1:21-28

2. The Healing of the Man with the Withered Hand - Mark 3:1-6

3. The Healing of the Gerasene Demoniac

4. The Healing of Jairus Daughter and the Hemorrhaging Woman - Mark 5:21-43

5. The Healing of Blind Bartimaeus - Mark 10:46-52

6. The Healing Power of the Cross - Mark 15:33-41

7. The Healing Power of the Resurrection - John 20:1-18 or Luke 24:1-10


Lenten: Encounters With Christ
James W. Moore

1. Jesus & the Man Born Blind - John 9:1-12

2. Jesus and Mary and Martha - Luke 10:38-42

3. Jesus and Nicodemus - John 3:1-10

4. Jesus and the Woman at the Well - John 4:7-15

5. Jesus and James and John - Matthew 20:20-28

6. Jesus and Caiaphas - Matthew 26:58-68

7. Jesus & Mary Magdalene - Mark 16:1-7


Lenten: Journey To The Cross
James W. Moore

1. Jesus And The Demon-Possessed Man - Mark 5:1-20

2. Jesus And The Hemorrhaging Woman - Mark 5:21-43

3. Jesus And The Extravagant Woman - Mark 14:1-9

4. Jesus and Judas - Mark 14:43-51

5. Jesus and Simon Peter - Mark 14:66-72

6. Jesus And Pontius Pilate - Matthew 27:15-26

7. Jesus And The Women At The Tomb - Mark 16:1-8


Lenten: The Man From Galilee
Thomas A. Pilgrim

1. The Temptation Of His Life - Matthew 4:1-11

2. The Transformation Of His Call - Matthew 4:18-22

3. The Touch Of His Hand - Matthew 8:14-17

4. The Treasure Of His Kingdom - Matthew 13:44

5. The Test Of His Courage - Matthew 20:17-19

6. The Tragedy Of His Victory - Luke 19:28-40

7. The Triumph Of His Defeat - Matthew 28:1-10

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What Is Unique About Christianity?

The story of Jesus sitting and debating the Law with rabbis reminds me of another debate that took place in a comparative religions conference, the wise and the scholarly were in a spirited debate about what is unique about Christianity. Someone suggested what set Christianity apart from other religions was the concept of incarnation, the idea that God became incarnate in human form. But someone quickly said, “Well, actually, other faiths believe that God appears in human form.” Another suggestion was offered: what about resurrection? The belief that death is not the final word. That the tomb was found empty. Someone slowly shook his head. Other religions have accounts of people returning from the dead.

Then, as the story is told, C.S. Lewis walked into the room, tweed jacket, pipe, armful of papers, a little early for his presentation. He sat down and took in the conversation, which had by now evolved into a fierce debate. Finally during a lull, he spoke saying, “what's all this rumpus about?” Everyone turned in his direction. Trying to explain themselves they said, “We're debating what's unique about Christianity.” “Oh, that's easy,” answered Lewis, “it's....

 

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