TEXT: John 11:1-6
1 Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.
2 (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)
3 Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.
4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.
5 Now Jesus loved Martha, andqq her sister, and Lazarus.
6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.
Today, I am continuing the daily Just Jesus Evangelistic Campaign sermon series, which is aimed at sharing the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with unbelievers and reminding Christians, in this important election year, to keep the main thing the main thing — and that is reaching unbelievers with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and praying for their salvation, for the problem in America is not only disobedient presidents, politicians, and people, but disobedient pastors, preachers, and parishioners who have refused to obey the Lord’s Great Commission which is to, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” and who have refused to obey God’s repeated commands to “pray without ceasing” for unbelievers, believers, and political leaders. Yes, you should pray for the right candidate to win; yes, you should vote for the candidate that the Lord gives you peace about voting for. But, don’t get caught up in it like the world does. Nothing much is going to change until people get saved and get their hearts right with the Lord.
This campaign is inspired by the following three verses: 1 Corinthians 2:2 which says, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Acts 5:42 which says, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” And 2 Timothy 2:4 which says, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”
This series is not for Christians necessarily. However, I do hope you are one of those saints who still loves to hear the “Old, old story of Jesus and His love” — As another hymn says, “For those who know it best Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.” This series is primarily for unbelievers, so they can hear and understand the Gospel and be saved from sin and the punishment of sin which is hell. This is message number 155.
Tim Keller said, “Christianity teaches that, contrary to fatalism, suffering is overwhelming; contrary to Buddhism, suffering is real; contrary to karma, suffering is often unfair; but contrary to secularism, suffering is meaningful. There is a purpose to it, and if faced rightly, it can drive us like a nail deep into the love of God and into more stability and spiritual power than you can imagine.”
When we have a desperate situation on our hands, we want people to jump at our beck and call. We want the ambulance here five minutes ago. We want the prescription filled yesterday. We want the doctor to see us now. We even treat God the same way, expecting Him to answer our prayers according to our whims. But, sometimes, we are forced to wait, and that is what we see happening in this story.
Mary and Martha have sent a message to Jesus telling Him that their brother Lazarus, whom Jesus loves, is sick unto death. No doubt, they want Jesus to come quickly or to speak the word of healing instantly. We might think that, since Jesus loved this man so much, He would rush to do either of those things. But He does not. The Bible says, “When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.”
God’s answer in this situation was not ‘yes’, or ‘no’, or ‘maybe’. It was wait. And, why did Jesus wait? The reason why is because God was working out a much bigger plan than either Mary, Martha, or Lazarus could perceive. Jesus said, “This sickness is not unto death…” It sounds like Jesus is saying that Lazarus will not die, but we know that that is not the case. Lazarus will indeed die, but Jesus is looking beyond death — something that nobody else was able to do. He knew that He would raise Lazarus from the dead. That is why He said it is ‘not UNTO death’; that is, ‘this sickness will not ultimately and permanently end in death.’
Charles Spurgeon said, “We should have said that the sickness was unto death, but, ultimately, to the glory of God. But he who sees the end from the beginning speaks with a grandeur of style which could not be imitated by us. So the Lord speaks of things, not as they seem to be, nor even as they are in the present moment, but as they shall be in the long run.”
What will Lazarus’ sickness result in in the long run? It will end in God being glorified and the Son of God being glorified. We must remember that in the previous chapter, Jesus had just been dealing with people who doubted His power over life. He had told them, ‘I have power to lay down my life and take it up again.’ So, surely if He could raise Himself from the dead, He could raise someone else from the dead. In a way, Jesus had decided to give them a demonstration. It was to be another irrefutable proof that He was the Son of God — another reason for them to believe on Him.
Make no mistake: Lazarus’ sickness and death was bad. But this did not mean that Jesus had turned His back on His friends by allowing them to suffer through this pain. In fact, the Gospel writer saw fit to re-emphasize in verse 5, “Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.”
Jesus, being God, could see the end from the beginning. He knew the kind of power raising a man from the dead would represent to the minds of his audience. Lazarus’ sickness and death served God’s purpose.
This is important to remember when we face what appear to be terminal situations in our lives. Illness, death, divorce, depression, failures of many kinds. We may wonder why God is allowing us to suffer instead of delivering us from our troubles. We must determine to keep in mind that God sees the outcomes of such situations that we cannot imagine. He has a much larger purpose that will bring glory to Him when all is said and done. As the song says, He “makes beautiful things out of the dust.”
God wants to make something beautiful out of the dust of your life — your past, your present, your personality, your goals, and, yes, even your suffering and pain. He has a purpose for it all, and finding out that purpose begins with a relationship with God through Jesus Christ — just like Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. Will you receive Jesus Christ as your Savior, and become His friend today? Here is how.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Dear friend, if you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me this simple prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.