Updated: Oct 16, 2020
Sermon Text: John 11:33-37
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
The passengers all boarded the plane at the same time. The flight attendant scanned all the boarding passes, and everyone walked down the Jetway. If you looked at the people, they all looked normal. But, of course, they were different: men, women, children, old, young, and from different ethnic backgrounds. When the passengers were comfortable in their seats, the attendant welcomed them all on board and welcomed one special passenger. When she announced his name, most did not know who he was, but then she said that he was a veteran who had earned the Medal of Honor for his valor on the battlefield. Everyone was surprised and clapped their appreciation.
Our theme for this Lenten season is about “The Son of God Going Forth to War” that would change the whole world. But Jesus did not look like a warrior any more than the passenger on the plane did. Jesus as our great warrior walked among the people like anyone else. You could say that he was a . . .Hidden Warrior
1. He wept like one of us!
We are told that Jesus was like all of us. He got tired, hungry, and thirsty. When he was a child, he grew up like every other child. “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people.” (Luke 2:52).
But there was one difference. He had no sinful nature and was completely without sin. When he was a child, it must have felt unusual to be his parents. He was always respectful, smart, and obedient.
Peter tells us that we were redeemed (ransomed, purchased) from sin, death, and the devil with “the precious blood of Christ, like a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Peter 1:19). He goes on to tell us, “he did commit a sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth” (1 Peter 2:22).
As true God, Jesus remained without sin all his life. When he gave himself for us on the cross, we know for certain that his was the absolutely perfect sacrifice!
As true man, there has never been a human being like Jesus! Again, you couldn’t tell he was sinless by looking at him.
· Jesus felt compassion for others, he wept,
· and he even got angry when his Father’s house was turned into a market.
But if someone had paid really close attention, they might have seen that he was different. As a 12-year-old, Jesus went with his family just as they always had every year to Jerusalem for the Passover (Luke 2:41). But Jesus showed he had come for the battle to come. As he engaged the temple teachers in truth discussions, they could see that from all outward appearances Jesus looked like your average sixth grader. But the words that came from his mouth gave evidence that he was much more! These temple teachers were getting the first recorded peek at the hidden side of Jesus.
Jesus’ greatness and his power were evident at others times. On one occasion, Jesus arrived at the home of his friends: Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha, in Bethany (about 2 miles outside Jerusalem). Lazarus had died and been buried for four days when Jesus arrived. Mary was crying: “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” (John 11:33-36).
Our Savior’s caring heart caused him to cry real tears when he saw the grave of his very good friend Lazarus. Even the people who were there to support the family of Mary and Martha could tell that those tears rolling down his face were real. They knew that Jesus had spent time with that family—they had eaten, laughed, and now cried together. Jesus felt their pain. It was a completely human thing. Jesus’ heart was as broken as yours or mine has ever been.
John said that Jesus “was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.” At what? àAt the misery which sin had caused.
· Do that when you see sickness, violence, crime, divorce, death, and war.
· Hate sin. And hate sin especially because it nailed your Savior to the cross.
· How can a Christian consider it okay to curse / neglect going to church / living together and having sex outside of marriage / get drunk or gossip / when all such sins cause all the misery and woe in the world?
Lent is a really good time to consider the pain we have caused others in our lives—How many regrets do each of us have because of our sins?
Like a warrior, Jesus “was troubled,” that is, he stirred himself up. That brings to mind the prophecy from Isaiah, “The Lord will set out like a hero. Like a warrior, he will work himself into a frenzy. He will shout. Yes, he will raise a war cry. He will be heroic against his enemies” (42:13).
2. Great unimaginable power lies just beneath the surface
of our warrior!
Those in Bethany at the death of Lazarus had questions: “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” (John 11:37). Jesus grieved because of the damage sin had done. Death wasn’t part of God’s plan for this world. It was introduced by Satan from outside our earth. And we hate it.
The friends of Mary and Martha hated it too. They probably had heard—perhaps even seen—the recent miracle of restoring sight to the blind man in Jerusalem and they naturally wondered why Jesus had not used some of that healing power on Lazarus, his good friend? It’s the same question that was on Martha’s mind.
They asked because they knew there was something special about Jesus. We know that Jesus made the universe (Hebrews 1:2). Think of the awesome power he has!
· Astronomers estimate that there are one hundred trillion galaxies in the universe, a number so big we can’t even imagine it, much less design it.
· Zoologists say there are more than ten million different species of animals on earth!
· Think of the unlimited creativity, brilliance, and power it took to make all that! None of this was an accident.
St. Paul writes, “Though he [Christ Jesus] was by nature God, he did not consider equality with God as a prize to be displayed, but he emptied himself by taking the nature of a servant. When he was born in human likeness, and his appearance was like that of any other man” (Philippians 2:5-7).
The man Jesus is the Son of God, the second person of the triune God. He’s NOT 50 percent human and 50 percent God. He is what the Bible describes as the God-man, 100 percent fully human and 100 percent fully God. Martin Luther said that trying to understand this is “like trying to illuminate the sun with a candle!”
This is the astounding truth: The eternal Son of God, when he was born in Bethlehem, added a second nature to his perfect, holy, almighty self. God also became a human being! The Apostle Paul said “He emptied himself.” In other words, he set aside and put on the shelf much of his God nature. He hid his glory. But once in a while he peeled back the veil and let it show.
And this was one of those times. He told Martha that she would see the glory of God (John 11:40). You know the rest of this miraculous event.
· When Jesus called the dead Lazarus out of the grave, he showed a glimpse of the power at his disposal.
· He smacked death in the face and forced it to yield.
· Like a warrior practicing his skills before a great conflict, Jesus was getting ready for the final battle with Satan just a week or so away.
Look at the damage Satan has done and is still doing. His personal goal is to rob you of your faith, take away your hope, and see you burn in hell while he laughs in your face. He’s bigger than any human being can handle. That’s why God’s plan to save this world was so perfect. We have our sinless human Jesus as the perfect sacrifice for our sin.
But if Jesus were just a perfect human, his life would only count as a sacrifice for himself alone, not for the rest of the world. He’d have to keep coming back and go through hell billions of times, once for each of us. But he is the all-powerful Son of God. His death was more precious than the death of one human. He is our substitute and the substitute of all humanity. His suffering and death was complete for each one of us!
3. As both God and man, he fights for us.
Jesus called Lazarus his friend (John 11:11). His friend Lazarus was important to him. Jesus also calls you his friend and has made you his friend by Baptism. What a comfort to know that when all our earthly friends fail us, Jesus ALWAYS has your back.
We know that as long as we’re still breathing air, you and I will continue to struggle in our lives.
· It may be physical pain.
· Maybe your heart is aching.
· Maybe you struggle with doubts about your faith.
· Sometimes God seems far away, doesn’t he? You pray, but it seems as if he’s not listening.
· You read the Bible, but it doesn’t seem to speak to you. It’s almost as if he is hiding.
· You’re fully aware of the fact that the devil and his evil angels are circling your life, looking for an opportunity to pounce.
At times like those, my friends, remember God has made this promise to each of us: “The one in you is greater than the one in the world” (1 John 4:4). Remember these words as well, “See how he loved him!”
So picture this: With one hand the God-man Jesus is controlling our universe, and his other hand is wrapped around you. You can’t see it yet, because our risen Jesus, who fills the entire world with his presence, has chosen to remain hidden from our vision right now. But he’s there—always has been there. He’s working out his plan for you because you matter to him. The cross proves that!
He’s fighting for you each and every day.
· The Bible tells us that he is making all things in our lives work together for our good (Ro 8:28)!
· Every prayer you have uttered as a believer has been picked up by him and personally delivered to our heavenly Father.
· He has assigned angels to protect us as the spiritual battles are waged for our souls.
The tears of Jesus over the death of his good friend show that he cares deeply. The cross proves it. And our risen Jesus assures it. You’re in the best and most powerful hands in the universe! Though for now he remains hidden, his power remains through all eternity—for us now.
My friends, you are in our mighty warrior’s hands! And thank God! Amen.