It’s truly amazing when you zoom out on the plan of God’s salvation for the world through the cross and see exactly what He was up to. Join us this week as we explore the cross in a unique way and learn the depth of God’s love for YOU! Tune in to learn how. Help us advance the Kingdom, support our online ministry (harmonychurch.cc/give). Got kids? Check out Harmony Kids online (updated weekly) https://www.harmonychurch.cc/harmony-kids-online/!
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—————————–OPENING: [Have jeopardy type music to play when the questions come up:
Invite a man and a woman on stage to play this game….
give them a $25 gift card for playing
Give it up for our great contestants! Sometimes you can zoom in on something so much that you miss the bigger picture…
I think a lot of people miss some of the bigger picture of what Jesus was up to in the last few weeks of his life…
There is beauty in the detail, but there is power in the whole picture. I want to take you into a story that normally we stay zoomed in on, but today, I want to show you the up close and then zoom out for you to see the whole picture of what Jesus is up to.
This comes towards the end of Jesus’ life.
John, the apostle is writing and he shares this story…
John 11:1-3Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
Lazarus, this friend of Jesus’ isn’t just sick, what we are about to find out is that he’s actually dying…
This is where Pastors normally zoom in.
See, Jesus says this next: John 11:4-74 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
Here’s what Pastors normally tell you – you’ve heard these sermons a million times if you are in church.
Jesus seems crazy – he waits two day? By the time He gets there we find out that Lazarus is actually dead, not just a little dead, but stinky bad dead-4 days dead – the Jewish people believed the spirit hung around for 3 days, so this is past the point of return for them
and Jesus shows up. Jesus does something incredible. He raises Lazarus from the dead. If you are not a Christian or new to church, you just heard me right…The eye witness account was that Jesus rose Lazarus from the dead
Pastors will make all kinds of points about this, I’ve preached this a bunch myself…
But, There is something bigger going on here… Let’s tie some things together.
Did you hear what Jesus said when He found out Lazarus was sick? This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.
John uses the the word “glorified” 9 times in his gospel…Here’s the interesting thing
The closer Jesus gets the cross, the more He defines what He means by: glorified
He will say in John 12:23-2423 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
for Jesus, Him being glorified was for Him to go to the cross
What He is saying about Lazarus’ sickness and ultimate death is that He is not just going to raise Lazarus from the dead to bring him back, as good as that is…
He is going to raise Him from the dead because it will lead to His own death.
This is the big picture, the zoomed out view…
Don’t believe me? Watch what happened, I’ll bet you’ve never seen it because of our propensity to zoom in.
John 11:45-5345 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. 53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life.
It was the fact that Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead that would lead to His own death… And When Jesus talked about His death He said it would be His glorification
I looked up what the word glorified meant. You know what it means don’t you? Glorified means to show off your greatness
How is Jesus’ greatness showed off in the cross? Seriously? Isn’t this weakness? Isn’t this the ultimate letdown? Jesus seems to have lost…
The cross shows off God’s greatness because it highlights His goodness. did you hear me?
It highlights the ultimate sacrifice…Do you know what the cross was like for Jesus? He was scourged with a whip, his hands and feet, nails driven into them, thorns beaten onto His head, death swirling around Him. It was such a blow to the order of things that when He died the earth cracked open, the sky went dark because the unthinkable had happened…
CLOSING ILLUSTRATION:A while back our dogs were going crazy to be outside, they were chasing something under our shed… We were yelling at them and my daughter was standing in the door way. All of the sudden we saw something dart out from under the shed, then it darted straight for the doorway my daughter was in… She started freaking out, Jenni started yelling that whatever it was was in the house…
We started looking for it and we found it in the corner. Huddled, scared, alone. It was a little rabbit. I didn’t know what else to do, but to put a blanket over it, wrap it up, and take it out to the front yard where there were no dogs…
John says this early on in His eye witness account of the glory of Jesus:
John 3:16-1816 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
So many people have a mixed up view of God – they think because He doesn’t intervene in every moment of their life that He doesn’t love them. Can I tell you something, Jesus intervened in Lazarus’ life and raised Him from the dead, you know what, He died again – the scripture even says that the same people who killed Jesus were looking for ways to kill him (get rid of the evidence John 12:10).
God’s plan was to not come and fix our circumstances, His plan was to come and give us an entirely new life
To take us into the front yard and set us free. The cross is beautiful as the glory of God, because in the cross we see the greatest sacrifice the world has ever known. b God coming to rescue us… To rescue me… To rescue You…