Love, Death, and the Glory of God
John 11:1-26

Introduction:
A. The Beginning – John 1:1, 14, 16
1. In the beginning was the Word.
2. And the Word was with God and the Word was God. . . and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father full of grace and truth. . . and from His fullness we have received grace upon grace (John 1:1, 14, 16).

B. Our Lord Jesus Whom We Worship
1. He is fully Divine and in absolute control.
a) Because He was in the beginning, and He is God, and He is therefore infinitely greater beyond all our powers, He the most important reality in the entire world today.
b) God is able in Himself to encompass, explain, and put right all the horrors of the persecution of His people in the world and every other loss or disaster that we have in our lives.
2. He is fully human and able to comfort us in all things.
a) Because He became flesh and lived a human life and suffered and died and rose again, God is able in Himself to encompass, explain, put right, and comfort personally, intimately, and tenderly the loss of every individual life.
3. He is Jesus Christ – The Word of God Who speaks to us
a) He is Jesus Christ, infinite in His divine majesty, and closer and more caring than we can ever know.
b) We are “a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession” and we need to hear a word from Him about suffering and death, and love, and about His own glory.
c) We need to see how these three in God relate to each other— love, death, and the glory of Christ.

C. The Setting
1. Our text is John 11:1–26.
2. Just before John 11 begins, the crowds in Jerusalem had picked up stones to kill Jesus (John 10:31).
a) I John 10:38 they tried to arrest him, but he escaped.
b) He travelled east and north and crossed the Jordan River.
c) Soon after Mary and Martha, his friends from Bethany near Jerusalem, sent word to Jesus that their brother Lazarus was very sick.
3. That’s the setting for Jesus’ amazing words about love and death and the glory of God.
a) In verses 1–6 listen for those three. Love, death, glory.
b) Listen for their relationship.
1 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
2 It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill.
3 So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.”
4 But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
6 So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.

I. Love and God’s Glory
A. An Unusual Love – vv. 1-3
1. John 11:1-2 “Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill.”
2. What’s remarkable about verse 2 is that this anointing hasn’t happened yet.
a) It happens in John 12:3.
b) John is showing the clearest evidence of the extraordinary relationship that exists between Mary and Jesus, even though that evidence is yet to come.
c) There is an unusual love between this family, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, and Jesus Christ.
3. Verse 3: “So the sisters sent to him, saying, ‘Lord, he whom you love is ill.’”
a) John wants us to see and feel the love that Jesus has for this family.
b) This request for help is coming from the closest circle of Jesus’ friends.

B. All About the Glory of God – v. 4
1. Verse 4: “But when Jesus heard it he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’”
a) The first thing Jesus does when he hears the news of Lazarus’ illness is put it in relation to the glory of God and his own glory.
b) This illness is about God’s glory.
c) It is about the glory of the Son of God.
d) It is not mainly about death, though Lazarus will die (and Jesus knows he will die).
e) It is mainly about God, about the Son of God, and about how glorious God and his Son are.
2. Just like chapter 9 where the man was born blind not because he sinned or his parents sinned, but so that the works of God might be manifest (John 9:3–4).
a) Only here the issue is going to be death, not just blindness or illness.
b) Lazarus is going to die and Jesus knows this.
c) In fact, Jesus waits for Lazarus to die – Why?
d) Because He loves Lazarus and his family.

C. Emphasizing Jesus’ Love – v. 5
1. Now, John underlines for the third time the love that Jesus has for this family – verse 5: “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.”
a) John really wants us to see this and feel this.
b) Three times he says it:
(1) Verse 2: This is the woman who anointed Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair.
(2) Verse 3: “The one whom you love is ill.”
(3) Verse 5: “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.”
2. John is stressing Jesus’ love for this family because he knows that what Jesus is about to do does not feel like love to most people.
a) Nobody thinks of love this way—apart from the Spirit of God changing our hearts to see what love really is in this text.
b) It is “agape” love, God’s love – a love that wants only the very best for them.

II. Love and Death
A. Against Our Human Experience – vv. 5-6
1. John knows that what he is about to say in verse 6 goes against all ordinary human experience where God is not supreme.
a) The key word that unlocks this is the word “so” at the beginning of verse 6.
b) It’s there in the original Greek and it means “therefore.”
c) So verses 5 and 6 read like this: “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So [therefore], when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.”
2. Jesus knew what this delay would mean.
a) It would mean the certainty of Lazarus’ death.
b) We know this because of verse 14. When Jesus decides to go to Bethany he knows Lazarus is dead: “Then Jesus told them plainly, ‘Lazarus has died’.”

B. It Was Real Death
1. Jesus is choosing to let Lazarus die and he is very dead when he gets there (four days dead).
a) “Well, it wasn’t really so bad because he knew he would raise him. It wasn’t as bad as our death.”
b) Consider two things:
(1) Lazarus really died.
(a) It is not an easy thing to die.
(b) As far as Lazarus knew, Jesus didn’t come.
(c) His sisters saw him die.
(d) They buried him.
(e) They wondered where Jesus was.
(2) This was real death and real loss.
(3) Jesus really didn’t show up to stop it.
2. John means for us to see the resurrection of Lazarus as a picture of our resurrection — the resurrection of all who believe in Jesus.
3. Listen to Jesus in verses 23–26:
a) Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again 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.”
b) Jesus is saying, “My raising your brother is just what will happen to everyone who believes in me.”
c) The way to think about Lazarus’ death is this
(1) The death of Lazarus was real and terrible, just as terrible as your own death or the death of your loved ones.
(2) The truth is your death will not be any more terrible than Lazarus’ because you too will be raised by Jesus.
(3) It is only a difference of time.

C. Love Moved Jesus to Let Lazarus Die
1. And now we are prepared to see and feel the main point.
2. It was love that moved Jesus to let Lazarus die!
a) It was the love of Jesus for this family and for his disciples.
b) It was love for you and for me reading this text, that caused him to choose to let Lazarus die.
3. Look again at the connection between verse 5 and 6:
a) “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Therefore [because of this love], when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.”
b) Jesus did not hurry to his side.

D. How Is This Love?
1. John has gone out of his way to set this up.
a) Jesus loves them. He loves them. He loves them.
b) Therefore, he does not heal him but lets him die.
c) Why is this love?
2. Jesus has given the answer and will give it again in verse 15.
a) He said in verse 4: “This illness does not lead to death [in other words, the point is not death]. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
b) This illness will turn out for the glory of God, and the glory of the Son of God.
c) This illness will put the glory of God on display.
d) This illness will make Jesus look so amazing that everyone will say that He is the Messiah!
3. Love lets Lazarus die because his death will help them see the glory of God in ways they did not know.

E. What Is Love?
1. What does it mean to be loved by Jesus?
a) Love means giving us what we need most.
b) What we need most is not healing, but a full and endless experience of the glory of God.
c) Love means giving us what will bring us the fullest and longest joy.
2. What is it that will give you full and eternal joy?
a) A revelation to your soul of the glory of God.
b) Seeing and marveling at and longing for the glory God in Jesus Christ.
c) When someone is willing to die—or let your brother die—to give you (and your brother) the full and eternal joy of a revelation of the glory of God, then He loves you.
3. Love is doing whatever you have to do to help people see and treasure the glory of God.
a) That is their supreme joy – to see and be satisfied with the glory of God.
4. Look at the way Jesus says it in verses 14–15: “Then Jesus told them plainly, ‘Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe.’”
a) The result of the revelation of God’s glory is believing – faith.
b) Believing is coming to Jesus to be satisfied with all that God is for us in Jesus.
c) We come to Him that way only when we see His glory — “we beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son of the Father full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

III. God’s Glory and Our Joy—Together
A. The Purpose of All Things
1. These are the two great purposes of all things:
a) God’s demonstration of his glory in Christ.
b) Human beings treasuring that glory above all things.
2. That is the meaning of life and of all creation.
3. These two great purposes are really one:
a) Because our treasuring God’s glory above all things—even life itself—is the way we join God in demonstrating his glory.
b) God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in him.
4. So Jesus lets Lazarus die to show the glory of God and to grow the faith of his disciples.
a) The Gospel of John was written for these two great aims—to reveal the glory of the only Son from the Father, and to awaken and deepen our faith in him.
b) Through this faith we can receive Him as the supreme treasure that He is.

B. Jesus Died for This
1. And the main point of today’s text is:
a) This is love.
b) The aim of love is to bring people to the fullest knowledge and the fullest enjoyment of the glory of God.
2. Jesus didn’t just let Lazarus die for this.
3. He also died Himself for this.
a) “Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).
b) Jesus prayed that on the other side of his death his redeemed people would see his glory: “I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory” (John 17:24).

C. It Will Be Revealed at the Resurrection
1. Between the death of Lazarus and his resurrection four days later, his family could not see how God would be glorified in it.
2. That would be revealed at his resurrection.
3. All of us stand today in some sense, not seeing clearly how God is glorified in the death of our loved one.
4. But we should not judge before the resurrection.
5. God is doing more than we can know.
6. And the resurrection will bring it all to light.
7. In the mean time trust Him and treasure Him and His glory above all things.