Sunday Morning | June 11, 2023 | John C. Majors | Louisville, KY
In this sermon based on John 11:17-44, Pastor John explores the responses of four individuals to Jesus' delay in raising Lazarus from the dead. Martha, known for her practicality, takes the initiative and expresses a mix of rebuke, belief, and disappointment, followed by a statement of faith. Jesus responds by revealing his identity as the Resurrection and the Life. Mary, on the other hand, initially remains seated in despair but eventually goes to Jesus with a posture of worship. Jesus is deeply moved and troubled, possibly by the grief, the extravagant display of mourning, the anger at death and sin, or the unbelief present. He weeps, showing his humanity and divinity combined, and engages with Martha and the Jews in both logical and emotional ways. Jesus asks Martha if she believes, and she demonstrates her practical nature by agreeing to roll the stone away. Jesus prays, thanking God, and calls Lazarus by name, modeling the perfect response to Jesus' call. Pastor John concludes the sermon by offering four ways to grieve in a God-honoring way: avoiding isolation, moving toward Jesus, walking by faith, and speaking truth to oneself while acknowledging grief.
At Valley View Church we are currently studying through the entire gospel of John, verse by verse. You can join us on Sunday mornings at 11 AM for worship. We are located at 8911 3rd Street Road, Louisville KY 40272.
Well, good morning, Valley View. It's great to be with you Today. I received an article this week from my personal research assistant, Dick Clark. He's one of our members here. It's not a paid position. Don't worry, Dick. Especially take note of that. But he sends me information from time to time that I'm able to utilize, and it helps keep me sharp. And one of the stories I got this week was of a guy, construction worker. He was at work on a construction site. Somehow they didn't share all the details. He ended up with a six inch nail through his boot. Bad situation to be in, of course. He's in just agony, you know, tears, pain, difficulties. So they get him, rush him to the emergency room, get him there. They immediately start giving him pain medication to help calm him down, get him under control so they can work on his foot, get him calmed down, and they start cutting away the boot. And lo and behold, the nail never passed through his foot. It went between two of his toes. Now, the author of this article made the observation that a lot of times in life our responses are determined by our expectation. That's what we think will happen is what inevitably we convince ourself has happened. And we've been working through the book and John together. We're in John Chapter 11 today. In fact, we're going to be on page 844. If you have one of our church Bibles, we have those in the connection corner. Grab one any time. But we've been working through the book of John. And today, as we continue in the story of Lazarus and Chapter 11, we're going to see four different people and their responses to Jesus's delay. Last week, we looked at the story of Jesus Lazarus. It's not going to turn out well for him. Are you going to go? I'm going to wait. Well, how did people respond to him? Some of that is determined by their expectations about Jesus. And we're going to see four different people and how they encounter Jesus, how they respond to him and how that relates to their expectations. So turn to John, Chapter 11, and we're going to start with verse 17 through 19 to get our setting, to get the bearings here for the passage. Look at verse 17. Now, when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. So the first bit of detail we get here for the setting is that Lazarus has been dead for days, and that means he's not just a little dead, he's really dead. He's not coming back at this point. All hope is gone from anyone there. And we also it also mentions that the number of the Jews had come to console Mary and Martha. That points to a couple of different things. One, they weren't very far from Jerusalem, but also if people were going to take the time to come from Jerusalem to visit with them, they probably had some standing, some prominence in the culture. Otherwise, why would you go? We also get some hints, too, just in some of the cultural practice here and some of the sample and just for more historical documents in terms of how we know they approached morning in this age, it was tradition that you would bury the person who died the same day they passed because they didn't have a lot of the same techniques we use now to preserve bodies. And in the warmer climate, bodies would start to deteriorate very rapidly. So we had to get them in the ground quick. But then there would be a period of six days of mourning and they would do a couple of different things. One is tradition required that you would hire at least two flute players to play all your morning dirges, which I guess flutes are especially adept at that don't have anything against flutes if you're a flute player. But that was part of the practice. Also, you would hire a professional wailing woman, at least one to be there as a part of the whole experience of mourning. So it ended up being very different than how we experienced funerals. When I go to a funeral home, no matter how many people are there, it's very quiet, It's very reserved. Soft music, settling, calming music, playing in the background. Maybe if anyone is crying, it's under control. We're going to keep it calm for the most part. In general, that's kind of more of our cultural experience. This would have been as far the opposite from that as possible. Let me show how much I cared about this person I love How loud I am. By the more wailing we have, the more chaos almost in terms of let's just put it all out there. Very different from how we experience it. It'd be quite the experience at this time. And so here they are. They're mourning there in Bethany. Many Jews are there to console them. But then now Jesus begins to enter the scene and we get the first interaction with the first of the four that we're going to see here. Responses to Jesus's DeLay. And this happens with Martha. Let's look at Martha verse 20. So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. Martha said to Jesus, Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you. So our first person that responds to Jesus is DeLay is Martha. And notice her. What happens here. There's one couple of different things. One is the contrast between Martha and Mary. They come and report that Jesus is on the outside of town or nearby waiting. Martha goes and it says very clearly, Mary stayed seated. And I'm reading between the lines here, some based on some of our other interactions we know about Martha and Mary and their interactions with Jesus in particular. It seems like Martha in particular is our our doer. In fact, the word I'm going to give each of these responses one word to sum up this person and their response. With Martha, it's the word direct and she's the one she's I'm going to go right ahead. I'm going to be the problem solver. I'm going to go ahead of my sister and interact with Jesus before she has to figure out how we should relate to him. She's the one who back in Luke ten, we saw that Jesus said, Martha, Martha, you're busy and bothered with so many things. While Mary's chosen, the better to sit at my feet. You know, she's the one in the kitchen making sure everything's prepared and making sure everyone's fed. She was clearly Baptist and would likely serve on Wednesday night suppers to help with meals. Whenever those come along, Martha would be there. She's the doer. In fact, I think people tend to lean one way or the other. People tend to be do first, then think about it later or think first, then do later. I don't know which way you fall personally, but let's just see your hands. If you're the if something needs to be done, I'm going after it. We'll figure out what it means later. Who's the doers in the room? Let me see. Is your hands okay? You're the ones who caused all the trouble in the world. By the way, I've hinted at where I might fall. Then we have our. You know what? I've got to think about it for as long as it takes before I can take any action. I've been thinking about it since 1989, and I'm getting close to coming up with a plan. Who are my thinkers out here? My overthinker sometimes right? Yeah. Okay. We're the ones that make sure things are done right. Okay, So look, it's not right or wrong mostly, but we're wired differently towards that regard. And here we have Martha. She's like, I'm going first. Mary. She doesn't move. I'm going. I'm the direct one. And notice what she says to Jesus. The first first words she says to him, Lord, if if you had been here, my brother would not have died. Now there's debate about her tone in that. Was that disrespectful? Was it a mild kind of subtle rebuke? Was it disappointment? Was it a statement of faith? There's different ways to take that we weren't there. We can't know exactly how she said it. One thing's for sure, it's it's not the first word you would expect to say to someone who traveled many miles to help you in your grief. Hey, why weren't you here sooner? It's kind of direct. Going back to her personality, you might expect a little bit of. You know what? Thank you for making the trip. Thank you for coming. I'm so grateful you're here. I know that Lazarus meant a lot to you, too. How are you doing? But no, she was right to. Why weren't you here? Where were you? Lord? Which a lot of us can relate to in times of difficulty. That's going to be our initial response. Where were you? I might look past all the great things you have done in the moment. Where where were you? So she's direct in the moment, but Jesus isn't surprised by that. In fact, in the midst of her grieving or rebuking or whatever, she also makes a theological statement. Look back at verse 22. Even now, I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you in the midst of her questioning, in the midst of whatever was going on, she still is going to proclaim truth and Jesus engages with her on this. And even though she's direct with him and even though sometimes the ways we're going to see the way he responds might come across like that's not the way I would do it. He knows who he's interacting with. Look at how he responds. Verse 23 Jesus says to her, Your brother will rise again. Martha said to him, I know, I know that he will rise in the resurrection. On the last day, Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though He die yet shall he live and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this? She said to him, Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God who is coming into the world. So Jesus, if her response to him seem a little bit rude and uncaring, Jesus's response, I have to tell you, would be rude in our culture for me to show up at a funeral. And the first words I say, You know what? It's okay. He's going to rise again. God's going to get the glory through this. That that wouldn't be the first thing I would say, even though I deeply believe it to be true and the person I'm talking to, if they're Christian, does as well, it's still it's it's too soon. It's not the right timing for that. But again, Jesus knows Martha. He knows who she is. He knows these are the words she needs to hear in this moment. And so he says to her, Your brother or wise again, she says, I know he will. And her response is perfect in that moment. But what begins to happen here is what we're seeing in the Book of John all throughout. We've seen this over and over again. Jesus is talking about one thing and the listener here's another. And there's maybe a little bit of confusion about which is meant to that person and maybe it can be taken both ways. We see that here. And so he gives clarification by giving one of the I am statements we've seen in the book of John seven key AM statements. This is number five of seven. He says I am the resurrection in the life. Verse 25, I am the resurrect in the life two words and both can be taking to different ways in the moment. Both are pointing to the physical reality, but also to a higher spiritual. He He unpacks both of those words when to look at those in two parts. First, the word resurrection. Look at verse 25, the latter part of verse 25 on the resurrection in the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die yet shall he live two meanings to this reality of resurrection he's pointing to? Yes, you're right. He will rise again in the greater resurrection. But also she doesn't know what's about to happen is that he is literally about to rise again in that moment. She doesn't know yet that he's speaking to both realities with the resurrection. Now, with the life, look at how he addresses with verse 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. And the reality of this for Christians is there's two dynamics going on. Lazarus has physically died, but he's more alive than he's ever been. He is truly alive for the first time ever. And as Christians, even though we're grieving in the moment of loss, we can hang on to that truth, that great truth. And we can all now as we live, know that even though this is life, it's not life at its fullest. And there will be a day when we have life in its fullest. In fact, one commentator said it this way It's not just the degree of life he's talking about when he says in verse 26 shall never die, not just the degree of life or amount of life, meaning it's not just that you get a few more years in eternal life, but life of a different kind, a different life altogether, which anyone who knows Christ. You know this when you think of your life, you think back to what life was like before him. And when I think back about my life, when I even kind of watch myself as a movie, in my mind, it's like, who was that guy? Was that life? It's a completely different person. It just feels like a whole new chapter ended. A whole new person began. Some of those habits and characteristics crossed over that not always happy about, but you can look back and see that's a different that's a different life. This new life is an altogether different life. That's true. And the age to come and it's true now as well at both levels. And Jesus is speaking to both of this when he speaks to Martha, and then he asks her a question. Looking back at verse 27, at the end of verse 26, do you believe she said to him, Yes, Lord, I believe that you're the Christ, the Son of God who is coming into the world again, even in the midst of her disappointment, even in the midst of the grief, even in the midst of the confusion or whatever all was going on with her, she still speaks truth. She still speaks the truth of who she knows Jesus to be in that moment, which is a powerful example. She doesn't even fully know who he is, but she's speaking truth of who he is. She's the direct one. She's the doer. She goes and paves the way for her sister. So that's Martha. Now let's look at our second person who he interacts with, who has been expecting him to come, who has expectations about him. That's going to be Mary. Let's look at this next set of verses here, verse 28 through 32, when she had said this, she went called her sister Mary, saying in private, the teacher is here and is calling for you. And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. Now, Jesus had not yet come into the village. He was still in the place where Martha had met him. And 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 tune to weep there. Now Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him. She fell at his feet, saying to him, Lord, this verse is very familiar. We've already heard this line, Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. We get this contrast again. The reminder that at first when Jesus came toward them, it was Martha who went first and Mary didn't. She stayed. But then she goes and she goes in this moment and it's so abrupt that everyone notices. And if you were in a funeral home and suddenly the main family member who was caring for everything, the family member closest to the one who passed, if they suddenly got up and ran out, everyone would take notice. They would wonder what's going wrong? What's happening? She must need help. We must need to come alongside her. And so that's what happens. All the Jews who were there with her, consoling her, run out with her, part of that may have been, well, we've got to be alongside her to keep all the public display, the display of weeping and mourning going, but can't let her go off without us. We're pretty important to this whole process, which culturally would have been true. Part of it may just have been a curiosity of wondering where she could go into. It doesn't seem that they really announced, Hey, I'm going to meet Jesus, y'all take care while I'm gone. You know, none of that really as well. She she just goes. And then when she gets to him, I love what we see here about Mary. When you see Mary in Scripture, most of the time, you see her in one particular place and it's at the feet of Jesus. I mean, what a powerful thing to be said of someone. They spent their time at the feet of Jesus. She was there washing his feet. She was sitting at his feet listening. And here when she gets to him, it says she falls at his feet and she says one statement, it's the same one. Her sister said, Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But her posture is so different from Martha's. In fact, Mary, I think the word I would use for her in this moment is despaired, despairing. And I don't mean that as in a despair of without hope. But there's certainly a deeper angst here, a deeper pain. In fact, Jesus, he doesn't even respond directly to her. With Martha, he enters into a theological discussion, and with Mary he just lets her weep. Mary Despair. Martha Direct. And now we're going to see another group that he interacts with. In fact, look at verse 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. So we've him interact with Martha, the direct one, Mary, the one in despair. Now we get a third audience, the Jews. And I've said all throughout the book of John often that is speaking of the Jews, not just the whole population of the Jewish world, but usually it's referring to Jewish leaders. But there are times where it's not clear, and this is one they've not been spoken of negatively yet in terms of the Pharisees, the religious leaders who think they have it all figured out. Often the word Jews is synonymous with that. But here it just seems to be not totally clear. But we're going to get a glimpse here as to who they are, by the way they respond to Jesus about what they expected of Jesus and what they said. First, we noted that the Jews, where we are Jews, saw Jesus weeping, and he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. It's going to take us some time to unpack that. What was going on with Jesus in the midst of being around the Jews and them observing what he was doing, how he felt. There's a lot of debate about what this means. He was deeply moved in his spirit, greatly troubled. We're just going to talk about that phrase deeply move for a minute, because I think it's it's difficult to discern exactly what was going on, but it's way too vague of a translation. At least I'm I'm teaching from the ESV. I know there's other translations. A lot of them translated that way too deeply moved. The interesting thing of that word is originally when it was first used, it was used of animals, not humans specifically of horses, and how they flare their nose in anger and rear up in anger. And then it shifted to be used of humans in particular as well. And when used used of humans that often carried still carried the desire of anger. And it also carried and you see this with Jesus in other places of of scolding or rebuke and so greatly troubled in his spirit. When I read that in English, I tend to think, well, that's something that was stirring deep inside him. But the meaning of that word there was also a very outward element that involved anger. We can't avoid that, that reality. In fact, a couple of different guys translated this as outraged Jesus, outraged about what he saw. And of course, if Jesus is outraged, it's perfect outrage. It's not human outrage and anger, which is often full of sin. So what was he outraged about? I ran across a bunch of different options. Let me just share with you the top four that I saw of things that he may have been outraged about, things that deeply moved him. Number one, grief. It may have been that he saw the grief of Mary and the Jews and you identified with their grief. He was deeply stirred in because of their grief and he felt their grief as well. Number two, he may have just been upset by the display of their grief. And what I mean by that is the over-the-top display, this show they made over their grief. I could really just be a turn off of going. You guys are totally missing it. You're making a bigger deal out of this. You're trying to make it all about you. He could have been reacting to that. Number three, he could have been angry at death and soon. I mean, here we have it's not supposed to be this way. Death was not a part of the original plan. Death was brought about by sin. And it could have been the anger, the outrage toward that reality. And then number four, unbelief, Unbelief all around him. And there could have been anger and outrage at the reality of here you have Jesus himself standing before them, the one who will conquer sin and death, standing there, and there's all this overwhelming, over-the-top grief. Which of those four was it? Let's look first at how the Jews respond to get a hint, a better idea of which one of those four we might lean toward. So when they saw him deeply moved in his spirit, he said to them, verse 34, Where have you laid him? They said, Lord, come and see. And Jesus wept. So the Jews said, See how he loved him. But some of this said, Could not He who opened the eyes of the blind man, also have kept this man from dying. And what I want you to see before we unpack the section is just that last phrase. They say the same thing. Mary, Martha, the Jews, all three. Their responses are basically the same. This guy could have done something about it in the words, but we know that their response, that was part of the crowd. He could have done something. Another part of the crowd said, Look how moved he was. He must have loved him because it says in verse 35, probably the second most famous verse in the Bible. All of our Bible memory experts out there run to verse 35 when they need a quick verse to say, Yeah, I memorized Bible verse today. Jesus wept. It's well, well-known for that. What does that mean? It's certainly appropriate to weep at a funeral at the death of a loved one. I remember when I drove back here in a rush to be at the funeral of a a girl I grew up with here in the church. Her dad had meant a lot to me, her dad and another man, Phil King, Jim, Jim meant so much to me. We'll just call him Jim Clark. Thank you. My other research assistant, Phil and Jim, now feel like I've destroyed this sweet moment of talking about weeping. Okay, Phil and Jim. Phil had meant a lot to me. Jim as well. Jim had passed the year before, and I didn't make it up for his funeral. I was in Little Rock 8 hours away. Some lame reason. You know, you can always find a reason. There's a lot. Everyone has a ton on their plate, and I regret it after that. I didn't come. I wasn't going to miss her funeral. I came for it and it was difficult. She was 36. She had died of brain cancer. We the same age that was difficult to sit through, but I was fine through the funeral. But at the end and it was here in the church, they played a slideshow of her life on the screen and that just was too much. They hit me so hard because it was just all the realities of pictures of moments when I knew her. We grew up together, and you. Oh, this didn't make any sense. Why did this happen? I mean, I had to leave the room and I. I went looking for a room as soon as I could. Just. I needed a place to cry alone. I go down the hall from the first open door occurred, and lo and behold, it's the crab room, all right? It's where all the little babies go to cry. And that's how I cried for it seemed like forever. Just wept and wept. And I couldn't. I tried to stop it and couldn't over and over again. Some of you have been there in that moment of just weeping. Interesting thing about this word, weeping. It's different than the words used of the professional criers in that moment. It's more of a tender weeping, a sincere weeping. And their response to seeing this in that moment, he must have really loved him. He must have really cared about him. And the skeptics said, wow, he could have done something. How do we know how he what he was really feeling in this moment? I heard Tommy Nelson point out that here we have in English the shortest verse in the Bible. Jesus wept. That's not the shortest verse in the Bible in Greek for all you trivia nerds out there, rejoice always. First Thessalonians 516 is shorter in Greek than Jesus wept and the contrast of those two verses, I think this points out a little bit of what's going on with Jesus here. Jesus wept, rejoice, always Jesus wept, rejoice always, You know, Jesus was both man and God, human and divine. And which of those four exactly was he experiencing in that moment? But we don't know exactly. We can't know his mind and heart fully. But he wept. But also he knows how this is going to end up whatever his weeping was. It wasn't at a place of utter despair. It wasn't at a place of questioning God to the point of not trusting. Jesus wept, but also rejoice always the Jews respond in this moment. And now we get a hint at this phrase being a state of unbelief. There's one more response, though. So the Jews were divided. That's the word for them. We had Martha, the one who was direct Mary, the one in despair. The Jews were divided about who Jesus was. We have one more audience. Look at verse 38. Then Jesus deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave and a stone lay against it. 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 for days. Here's our practical one, Lord, I kind of have a sensitive nose here. Do we really need to open this thing up? You know, there will be an odor. And Jesus said to her, Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God? So they took away the stone. Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 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. When he had said these things. He cried out with a loud voice. Lazarus, come out. The man who had died came out his hands and feet, bound with linen strips and his face wrapped with cloth. Jesus said to them, Unbind him and let him go. There was a fourth response to Jesus's delay, and his name was Lazarus, and I tried hard to find a good word that would go because the other three start with the. And I think the best option is not did Lazarus response was to be not dead meaning he rose I mean you wonder did he have a hand in that or not. Did he have a say in that? You know, Lord, I'd rather not follow you right now. I just kind of want to stay where I am, whatever that went down. Like he responded immediately and there were no words. Hey, Lord, how you doing? Let's talk a little bit about what just happened. No, he just responded, obeyed, came to the forefront. And Jesus, I love how he went about this. He started by praying a prayer. The prayer he prayed was prayed as if it had already happened. Thank you, Lord, that you have heard me. Thank you, Lord, for what you have all ready done. It was a prayer of hope. It was a prayer of expectation. He knew that God was still at work, even though there might be an odor. But I also love how Martha responded in this moment. So he asked earlier, Do you believe. Yeah, Lord, I believe. Okay, well, when I come for days after the funeral and ask, Do you mind if we dig up the coffin? Is that okay now? Do you believe her response would show? Do you really believe that's a tall order? She's probably not just only concerned about the odor. It just seems really strange and inappropriate. But they took away the stone showing their faith, and Lazarus raised. I think when we look at this passage, it ends pretty abruptly. And what we're going to see next week in the next section is this response. That is mind blowing a response to Jesus. Raising someone from the dead is to want to kill him, is want to get rid of him. It's want to be done with him. So we know some of these Jews were here to keep an eye on what he might do. But I think as I read this, I think there are four key takeaways for us in terms of grieving in light of some of what we saw in these responses. In fact, let's look at four of these. The first is don't go it alone for lessons on grieving. Don't go it alone. Martha and Mary, in the midst of their grieving, they were with each other. They allowed the community to come around them. They didn't abandon their community practices, but they stayed in community. They stayed connected. They didn't try to go it alone. I know many times when we're grieving, the temptation is to pull away from others. But don't go it alone. Staying connected and I can't say this enough. I've said it feels like 100 times. I'll probably say it. 1 million more is if you take the time to be building community is is now because it won't be there when you need it if it's not already built. And I know, I know we all have different challenges. I've heard from some you know, I struggle to get along with others, but stay with it, keep after it. It's worth it. You are going to mess up. You're going to say things you regret. You're going to offend people. You will. I will. You're going to have to apologize. I do Sometimes. I hope most of the time you're going to have to receive apologies. We're going to have to work together through the messiness of community. But it's worth it. And if you're watching online and I know people have different situations, okay. I know some people can't can't make it out. I get that. I'm not talking to you. I'm talking to those who have just gone, oh, this is just easier. I'm just gonna stay home, watch it online. Will be good. I'm grateful for that, By the way. I'm not saying that's the worst thing. I can't say enough. We need you here. We need you as much as you need. We need each other. Don't stay stuck in the apathy that was created for. For so many of us. I felt it too, and it was hard for us to get going back to church. I wasn't preaching at the time. Don't worry. That was hard for us too. It's like, Oh yeah, that was that. That's the thing we used to do. We used to go to that building with other people. There's some kind of apathy that is settled in so many, and I think the enemy is rejoicing at that. But we need to fight for community, build it now, because when you need it, it won't automatically appear and you will need it. There will be moments when you desperately need others to come around you. That's number one. Don't go it alone. Number two, move towards Jesus. Move toward Jesus. Mary and Martha both move toward Jesus. He didn't come to where they were. He got closer and then just stayed back and waited for them. Martha goes first. And you know what? Sometimes we're in a place where you don't feel like you can go toward him, Mary said. Not yet. We don't know exactly all the reasons why. Sometimes you got to send someone else for you. Please go for me. Go meet him for me. I'm going to get there by faith. I'm going to get there. But don't move into isolation physically from others. Don't move into isolation away from Jesus. In fact, in the midst of grieving, move toward him. He can handle the questions. He can handle the grief. I love it that he interacts with two very different women. Martha, the logical Martha, the doer. He doesn't beat her up. He engages with her where he is. And mary, he doesn't put her down for being the one overwhelmed with grief, the emotional. We can't even enter into a conversation. But he meets them both where they are, and they moved toward him. Number three walk by faith, Martha, in the midst of Jesus saying, Hey, let's open the tomb. Doesn't make any sense. It's not how we would do it. Walk by faith. I'm going to trust you, Lord, in moment. I don't get it. I'm going to trust you. And then lastly, number four, speak truth to yourself. In the midst of the anguish, in the midst of the grieving. And it's okay to grieve, keep speaking truth to yourself. Look back at verse 22. Look at how Martha did this. Jesus, If you had been here, my brother would have been okay. There's grieving in that. Whatever else is going on, there's a bit of we don't want to be without him. And in the midst of that, she speaks it out loud. But even now, I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give to you. It's okay to grieve, but keep speaking truth to yourself in the midst of grieving. In fact, I think one of the ways I'd say it is grieve by faith. We don't grieve as those without hope. We don't grieve as those who were to the point of despair. I've mentioned over the last month a number of different times. Tim Keller, he was a well-known pastor, teacher writer. A lot of his books had meant a lot to me, and I know to a number of other people here. He passed away recently. That's why his name has come up more. And I ran across a story about him that I did not know. I've read a lot of his books, but I didn't know the story. Him. I ran across it this week as I was reading his biography, and it's the story of his relationship with his brother, his brother Billy, all of his adult life lived his life, an openly homosexual, rejecting God all along the way. His Billy, his brother Billy contracted AIDS and near the end of his life was taken into hospice. And Tim and his family and other church members and another local pastor all began to just pour out love on him. All began to just minister to him. All began to try to love on him and connect with him. I was friends were abandoning him. At this moment, none of his friends were around and were loving on him. And of course, Tim is telling him about the love of God in his life. And he said this about Billy's response. Billy had thought that being a Christian meant cleaning up his life and making him self-righteous. I got to clean it all up first to come to him. That's what he had thought. But Tim pointed to second Corinthians 521 for our sake. He made him to be sin. Who knew no sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. And it was through those conversations that Billy finally came to know the love of God. Tim, at the memorial service, related Billy's life to the story of the prodigal Son. So many parallels. And here's what he had to say about this. Commenting on that reality. The world isn't made up of good people and bad people, Keller explained. That's a really interesting statement to make. The world isn't made up of good people and bad people. Here's the contrast that he draws out. There's the humble and the proud. It's not good or bad. It's humble or proud. He said it this way Only the humble enter the kingdom of God. It's the proud who are left out, which sums up the story of the prodigal son. The humble prodigal comes back to the banquet. The father throws the banquet and accepts him in. He comes in. He takes on the robe of righteousness. The robe of acceptance. But it's the proud older son who's left out who doesn't go in the humble and the proud. Tim spoke at the memorial service, and this is what he had to say about his own brother's passing. Billy took the robe, and when you attend a memorial service for someone who took the robe, the robe of Christ's righteousness, the robe of acceptance, the robe of the father's love, you're not, in the end grieving, but rejoicing. Is Billy dead today?? Tim asked. No, he's not. Billy was dead. But now he's alive. He took the robe. And when you take the. What happens to death? We laugh at death. Christians don't fall asleep when they die. That's when they finally wake up. Billy was more alive in that moment than he had ever been. We don't grieve of, though, as those without hope. We don't grieve to the point of despair. We grieve and we grieve. But we grieve by faith. Let's Pray. God, we thank you for your word. We thank you for this story. And John, Chapter 11 of Lazarus and the different responses to the delay of. Jesus. And I know in this room many have experienced deep grief and loss of loved ones. And even with Jesus weeping, we see that's okay to grieve. That's part of it. Lord, I pray as a church that when we lose loved ones, that in the midst of the grief, we would grieve by faith. We are not a has those who grieve without hope. Not to the point of despair. We know you are still near. Help us to move towards you. Help us to speak truth back to ourselves. Help us to walk by faith, to lean on others. To stay in community. I thank you for this body of believers. I thank you for so many. We don't do it perfectly, but who extend love to others in the midst of grief or to help us to keep in that. To keep getting stronger in that. And Lord, help us to be open with others about our losses, about our pains, so that we can love on one another. We love you, Jesus. We thank you for this morning. Amen.