Sermon – Do you really believe the Queen, and The King? (John 11:38 – 11:57) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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The Book of John was authored by one of Jesus’ twelve disciples, John, who features in the gospel. John makes his mission for writing the book plain in 20:31; “that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” He details the many words and claims of Jesus, as well as the various responses from those listening; in either faith, amazement, caution or rejection. Listen as Cornerstone preachers unpack the narrative and invite us to reflect on our own response to Jesus.

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Sermon 38 of 58

Do you really believe the Queen, and The King?

Pete Woodcock, John 11:38 - 11:57, 18 September 2022

On the eve of Queen’s funeral, Pete continues our series in John’s gospel, preaching from John 11:38-57. In this passage we see different people’s responses to Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, and it’s significance for those who hear Jesus’ words today.

John 11:38 - 11:57

38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 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 four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 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.” 43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, 46 but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” 49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. 50 Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. 53 So from that day on they made plans to put him to death.

54 Jesus therefore no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there to the region near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim, and there he stayed with the disciples.

55 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves. 56 They were looking for Jesus and saying to one another as they stood in the temple, “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast at all?” 57 Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where he was, he should let them know, so that they might arrest him.


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

John chapter 11 verse 38.

Jesus once more deeply moved came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance, Take away the stone, he said. But lord, said Martha, the sister of the dead man. By this time, there is a bad odor for he has been there 4 days. Then Jesus said, did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me But I said this for the benefit of the people standing here that they may believe that you sent me. When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, lazarus come out. The dead man came out.

His hands and feet wrapped in strips of linen and a cloth round his face. Jesus said to them take off the gray clothes and let him go. Therefore, many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary and had seen what Jesus did believed in him. But some of them went to the pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and the pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedron.

What are we accomplishing? They asked, here is this man performing many signs. 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. Then 1 of them named Kyaphas, who was the high priest that year.

Spoke up. You know nothing at all. You do not realize that it is better for you that 1 man die for the people. Than that the whole nation perish. He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation, but also for the scattered children of God to bring them together and make them 1.

So from that day on, they plotted to take his life. Therefore, Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the people of Judea. Instead, he withdrew to a region near the wilderness to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples. When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, many went up from the country to Jerusalem for their ceremonial cleansing before the Passover. They kept looking for Jesus.

And as they stood in the temple courts, they asked 1 another, what do you think? Isn't he coming to the festival at all? But the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders at anyone who found out where Jesus was should report it so that they might arrest him. Pete? Well, my name's Pete Woodcock.

I'm 1 of the pastors of the church. And we've been going through John's gospel, what an amazing book John's gospel is. And we're all saying as as preachers that gosh, it it gets harder and harder to preach John because there is so much in every verse. There's, you know, references to old testament and all kinds of things. He said, where do where do we start?

There's so much there. And yet, we wanna keep the story as well and what's going on. It is a fantastic book. Let's pray. For the help us now, there are so many things you've given us, so many treasures, so many sweet, so many good things, help us to take some of these, and at least digest them we pray into our very soul.

We pray in Jesus' name, amen. There is a a fantastic little verse in the book of Ecclesiastes in in the bible. Ecclesiastes chapter 7 verse 2. It's very appropriate for today. It says this.

It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting. For death is the destiny of everyone, The living should take this to heart. It's better to go to the house of a morn the morning than to a house of feasting. It's better to go to a funeral, it's saying, than to a party. It's an amazing statement.

It's better to spend 10 days as a nation morning than to spend 10 days celebrating a platinum Jubilee. It's better. And when you listen to the testimonies of the people that have been queuing up and passing the queen that's lying in state, many are actually saying this, and it's quite extraordinary. They're saying that the quiet and the reflective atmosphere The lack of noise and glitter is a profound experience. They're saying that it's worth queuing up for 12, 14 hours to go into a funeral than to a party.

It's an extraordinary thing. And I've wondered about that, and I've listened a lot to that, and watched it a lot, and went up to see the queue yesterday just to to see what was going on. And and I think because we so much suppress death and our own mortality, that it seems to me that in a time of mourning, when that suppression is allowed to come to the surface and we're not holding it down, there's a sort of release, almost a euphoria, enabled to being able to sort of think about death even though we actually push that down, and even though it's death that we're thinking about. The suppression and the removal of the suppression in its self is sort of moving people. And then, of course, when you face death of a parent or someone like the queen that spin around all our lives is she's been a constant or parents that have been a constant.

And then suddenly that anchor goes, And there's a there's a chain that's broken from keeping us into this world. The anchor's gone, the constant's gone, and we sort of feel adrift, and I I wonder if people are feeling that sort of strange sense. Why it's better to be at a funeral than a party. It's better to be at a funeral or in the house of mourning than a party. It's good because it awakens us to our own mortality.

It makes us ask important questions. What is my life really gonna be about? It makes us look at a life and say, what was good about that life? It makes us ask the question What happens after death? Even though, as I say, we're used to suppressing that, perhaps there's something in allowing that to the surface that people are saying, hey, there's something deeply profound here.

And the grief is actually very helpful to me. Now as far as I can see, the queen herself faced her own mortality. And she didn't do it stoically or in some kind of traditional ceremonial way, because she was a traditional British person with a stiff upper lip. It seems to me that she faced her own mortality because she knew of a greater 1 than herself. And a greater 1 than the grave.

And so therefore, she could face her own mortality and write her own funeral service. There's a lot of talk, isn't there? Lots and lots of talk about the Queen's faith. And even sort of non faith people have had to sort of recognize that, and it's quite interesting, isn't it? It was her faith that was so important to her.

It was her faith that made her the person she was. We love her because of who she was, but it was her faith that was producing that. But the trouble is with that word faith is it it it it sort of sounds sort of religious and you can stop there, but it actually doesn't make sense, because faith means trust. If you kept saying it was her trust that helped her along, you would have to ask, trust in what, trust in whom, what was she trusting in? In her 2000 Christmas broadcast, the queen states, in his early thirties, he was arrested, tortured crucified between 2 criminals.

His death might have been the end of the story, but then came the resurrection. And with it, the foundation of the Christian faith. In her Easter message of 20 20, the first Easter message, she did. Right in the middle of the corona pandemic, when everybody was wondering what's going on, she said the discovery of the risen Christ on the first Easter gave his followers new hope and a fresh purpose and we can all take heart from this. Now, we're in this chapter in in John, and it's an amazing chapter in an amazing book.

And we're in the house of mourning. People have been queuing up to to come to the tomb of lazarus. We're in the house of mourning. And we're in the house of mourning, and in the queue, we happen to be with Jesus. And as Jesus stands in front of the tomb, then he gives clear evidence that he is God's anointed 1.

As he stands in front of the tomb, He gives evidence that he is the Messiah, the Christ, the sent 1 of God. Because he comes to the grave of a dead man who is stinking, who is rotting, who's been in there for 4 days. Everybody knows that. People put him in there. Jesus comes to this man who was called lazarus and he calls him lazarus and says lazarus come out, and immediately he comes out.

It's an amazing event And as as we saw last week, the before and after picture, if you weren't here, have a listen to that, the before and after picture, his lazarus dead before Jesus came to the grave. And let's see the after picture is is staggering. Amazing. That if you saw that event, it would be hard to forget, wouldn't it? People were passing the queen, and they they're all coming out saying, I'll I'll remember this all my life.

You think it's well, really? You know? But if the man that tried to touch the coffin, which they cut, was really annoying because everybody wanted to see that clip, who tried to touch the coffin and lift the lid of a coffin of the queen. If you haven't heard that, that's what happened. The man that tried to do that, if that was Jesus and the queen came out, That would be something, wouldn't it?

That even the BBC couldn't cut and pretend it didn't happen. This is an unforgettable experience. People saw it. Now it's at this scene or just before that scene that these most famous words of Jesus were said by Jesus. They'll be read tomorrow at the funeral.

I am the resurrection said Jesus and the life. The 1 who believes in me will live and even though they die. The 1 who believes in me and will live, even though they die, and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this? They're staggering words.

We had a look at them a little bit last week, and you can go back to that. But the that's the question I want to ask you tonight. Do you believe this Do you really believe this? And if you really believe this, don't you think it's going to make a difference in your life? Isn't it going to be a day to remember?

You might think, well, who couldn't believe this when you've just seen a dead man raised to life? But this is why John is so helpful, and this is the kindness of the infinite God. He's infinitely kind, he's full of mercy, because he wants to show us that even here there's unbelievers. And he wants to show us that to test us here. Are you an unbeliever or a believer?

And so that's why it's kind of him to show us these unbelievers are really, are we in that camp. Are we going to believe that he's the resurrection and the life? So let's get into it then. Here's my first point. Those who believe Those who believe.

There are those who believe and those who don't believe, even though both saw them, by the way. And it's worth saying this, you know, because people say today, oh, you know, you still don't believe that stuff about Jesus, do you? As if being a modern person could make you an unbeliever, and that back then in those days, everyone was duped and everyone believed. But even here, there are unbelievers and believers. So it's got nothing to do with the passage of time or how intelligent we are.

So let's just knock that 1 on the head. There are believers and unbelievers even though they both saw the same thing. So here we go then. First of all, those who believe First reaction of people, we're told that many believe, look at verse 45. Therefore, many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary and had seen what Jesus did believed.

They believed. And then if you go into chapter 12, and I don't want to take the preachers away from the preacher there, you'll see that others saw lazarus walking around, obviously giving testimony of what it was like. I mean, what was it like for him? I'm sure he wasn't that happy. He'd just been in the presence of God and Elijah and Moses and he'd been walking around listening to them, and now he's drawn back here to talk to these people that aren't believing.

It's unbelievable. He must have been dead. Give what the fuck? I don't know. I don't know how a good evangelist he was.

But many believed because of his witness, we're told many believed. And that's was that was the purpose of the miracle. Throughout this, Jesus says that he's gonna do this miracle so that the son of God may be glorified through it. He says in verse 15 of chapter 11, that you may believe. Just before he raised Lazarus to life, he prayed that prayer in verse 41, Father, I thank you, that you have heard me.

I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of those people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me. It's all about belief. He's doing this that you may believe in him. That's the purpose of the sign. That you may glorify Jesus, glorify the Father, and believe that he is the sent 1 from the Father.

He is who he claims to be. But Jesus doesn't just want people to believe that lazarus was raised from the dead, Everybody in 1 sense believe that, everyone who saw that, Believe that, it rose from the dead. Everyone saw that. No, he wants much more than that. He wants us to take the great truths behind this miracle.

He wants us to see that Jesus is none other sent from an almighty God. He wants us to believe what Martha believed. I believe that you are the Messiah The son of God who has come into the world. You are the resurrection and the life. And if you really believe that, then then your life is going to take a completely new direction, isn't it?

It's not just believing a, oh, yeah, yeah, lazarus rose from the dead. Yes, I saw it. It's a completely changed thing. It's it's not just, oh, yes. Yeah.

You know, I love the queen. I love her dignity. I love her, you know, sacrificial life. I love her humility. She got it from faith in Jesus.

Yeah, when I don't care about him. It's weird, isn't it? If you really honor the queen, then surely you would honor the 1 she honors. It's not just coming out with words. I believe Jesus is the resurrection of course, If you believe that God has sent 1 to speak to you, Who is resurrection and life?

Who brings life? Then it's madness. Not to give your life to that, and be his follower, and have what John said why I wrote the book, life in his name. So they believed, and I presume they believed in the way I've just said. But the second 1, and this 1 I wanna focus in on, are those who stayed in unbelief.

First of all, some went to the pharisees. Look at verse 46, So but some of them went to the Pharaces and told them that what Jesus had done. So on the surface, they're believers. They told the Farices what Jesus had done. Yeah?

They're not putting their faith in him, and they're not trusting him. And I think the way John writes here is that the these aren't people that think, oh, let's go to the Farices and evangelize I don't think John actually means that. I think he's playing here. He's saying, the many believed but some went, many believed but some went, and in the gospel usually when people believe they want to stay with Jesus. Sometimes he sends them, but they want to stay with him.

But these don't want to stay with Jesus. They went to the Farices. So I take it that these are the sort of people that are afraid to make up their own minds, actually. About Jesus. They saw this event, but what does it mean?

They they know it happened, but what does it mean? Will I trust him as the Messiah as God's word to us? What do the cultural gatekeepers tell us? So you got to remember that. We're living in a culture, and there are gatekeepers that let things in and let things out.

Now things in and let things out. Want you to hear certain things and don't want you to hear other things. That's our culture, and it's getting more and more like that. What do the cultural gatekeepers tell us? What am I meant to do with Jesus?

What am I meant to do with this resurrection and life claim? How am I to interpret it? What would it really mean if if I follow Jesus anyway? I saw what he did. I get that.

I saw Lazarus come to life again, but do I want that radical power in my life? And what if I did and the leaders didn't and the cultural gate gatekeepers didn't like it? What what what what do they believe? So That's where they are. So they then come to the chief priests and the Pharaces, and you've got this Sanhedron stuff.

Let's come to them. Look at verse 47. Then the chief priests and the pharisees called a meeting of the San Hedrine. That's like 70 elders that rule over the Jews at that time. What are we accomplishing, they asked?

Here is a I mean, this is so ridiculous. Here is this here is this man performing many signs. So you've got these chief priests. They're mostly a group of religious leaders called the sadducees. There were sadducees, pharisees, and they made up the Sanhedron.

Got it? The sadducees, They rejected anything really spiritual. They rejected angels, miracles, and the resurrection of the dead. They didn't believe in the resurrection of dead people. They thought when you're dead, you're dead, they didn't believe in angels, didn't believe in miracles, all that stuff.

Yeah? And unlike the pharisees, they were happy to work with the Romans to keep their position. To work it. And here you've got the pharisees and sadducees that normally didn't get on But when you've got a common enemy, you can have people that hate each other, and then there's a common enemy, and we love each other. And in order to hate the common enemy, that's what very often happens.

And so the Farices would receive this news about lazarus resurrection, and they call a meeting. That's the first thing you do when you hear about someone raised from the dead. Let's have a meeting. Yeah? And they have a San Hedrine meeting, the ruling body of the Jews.

And it's an urgent meeting, and the topic is What are we accomplishing? That's the topic. Yeah. Yeah. It's the only thing on their agenda.

So they get together. Look, it's just gotta get this scene because it is laughable. They've just received news that Jesus had raised the man who had been dead for 4 days and was now walking around giving evidence of that. Yeah. They've just received that, and they call for a meeting and ask, what are we accomplishing?

What we do? I mean surely, seriously, that's the wrong question, isn't it? Back in chapter 9, when Jesus has healed a blind man who'd been blind from birth, at least they interviewed him and interviewed the mom and dad. Now they don't even do that. They just call a meeting.

What are we doing? Verse 47, then the chief priests and the pharisees called a meeting of the sound history. What are we accomplishing they asked? Here is this man performing many signs. They did they didn't deny the miracle.

No one's denying them. Here is a man performing many signs. They admit He's performing signs, but they won't follow where the sign points. They just stay at the sign post. And try to dig it up.

It's amazing. It's not that they can't believe. It's that they won't believe. Let's let's get that. It's not that they can't believe, it's that they won't believe.

They virtually admit the truth of the raising of lazarus. But they won't put their trust in Jesus even though they know he did this sign. Verse 47, what are we accomplishing? They changed the subject, you see. This is what people do, isn't it?

They changed the subject from the miracle to what they should be doing, to their responsibilities. To their job here. They change the subject. Yeah? They're very clever at doing that people, aren't they?

They change the subject. They tried to persuade evangelical individuals not to follow Jesus with threats and intimidation. They challenge his teaching in the public forum, Even on occasions, they tried to kill him stoning to death, push him over a cliff. They tried all of these things to stop his influence going, and they're absolutely frustrated straight it. And so they call for a meeting.

What are we accomplishing? And behind their words, is their hypocrisy. They're jealous of him. They're concerned that if he gets popular, doesn't matter whether he's true or not. If he gets popular, they'll lose their job.

That's what they're about. It's a unbelief, you see. It's not that they can't believe because some people did believe. They're choosing not to believe. But not to trust him.

It's a bit like, you know, when you see those particular I mean, you I'm sorry if you're American truly. But you get those when you get those sort of party things, I guess they're gonna come up again and why we have to see them. Where, you know, you've got political rallies, and and the, you know, the the leaders are all going around to political rallies, and who's got the biggest rally, and who can pull the numbers all that sort of stuff. And and then and then the votes are coming in or rather or rather the the polls are coming in, and 1 leader is just just going up the polls. He's getting all everybody's impressed with this leader.

And that the other party that are opposed to them They don't think about answering the policies. Policy don't matter. They just think about how can we get more votes. It's not about truth, or politics or right or left even. It's just how can we get a bigger rally with more votes.

And that's the type of thing that's going on here. It doesn't matter what the truth is in this. We're losing votes. We need to raise it up. And 1 of the ways we could do it is start shooting at them.

What would happen if he was in power? That's what we could do. Don't argue the policies. So what you got here is that someone comes up with the idea, Romans Roman's, what are the Romans gonna do if Jesus takes over? That's a good 1.

And then there's this whole argument about what the Romans would do. And we'll be threatened, wouldn't we all? Yes. But they're not really threatened by the Romans. It's all of those are made up stuff.

They're threatened by Jesus. Look at verse 48. If we let him go like this, go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans. Oh, yeah, Romans. Get the Romans in.

That stirs up the Jews in it. And then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation. It's what? Who made that up? We're miles away from Jesus raising lazarus from the dead.

Do you see what's going on? They're in their world discussing all of this and they're becoming more and more further away from believing and more and more stupid. The hour, as in our temple and hour, nation there is actually very it's a very personal word. It's our very own. It's not gods.

It's ours. That's what their religions are about. It's our temple, it's our nation, and we'll be the losers. Yeah? They're pretending to protect the Holy Temple.

But as we saw a few weeks ago, temple has left the building. They've got it completely wrong. They're just not asking the right question. And so they come up with false conclusions, and that's what happens. They should be asking, If Jesus is claiming to be the Messiah, that sent 1 from God, is there adequate evidence that he's telling the truth?

Why don't they go to him if they really want to know that and say, look, Jesus, look, we we we are here, as we were seeing this morning. We are here to protect people from false teachers, and there's lots of false teachers around. So can we go through the scriptures? Can you show us from the Scriptures that you are the Christ. Now, we see these miracles, but we're a little confused, and we need to know more stuff.

Can you there but there's no humility, there's no listening to the scriptures, there's nothing like that at all. It's just our plans are going to be messed up by Jesus. Our powers, our ambitions, we have vested interests in the system We are the gatekeepers, the cultural gatekeepers, and we let in who we wanna let in and don't let in who we wanna let don't wanna let in. Their entire focus is on this life. Therefore, their question is, what are we accomplishing?

What are we doing here? It's all about them in the end even though this miracle has happened. See how far away they are from it? And then in verse 49 to 50, we have their conclusion and their resolution. Then 1 of them named Kyophus, who was the high priest, he would have been I know.

Okay. If you go back to when I preached on the clearing of the temple, you'll see what these high priests were in, how much money they were in for it, but in this game for. Then 1 of them named Kyophus, who was the high priest that year, spoke up, you know nothing at all. You do not realize that it it do you not realize that it is better for for you that 1 man die for the people and the whole nation perish. Yeah.

Let's kill him. So do you see how their thinking goes? People come to the pharisees and say Jesus raised someone from the dead. Absolutely happened. He's walking around telling you that the the testimony is clear.

They say, oh, yeah, that's a sign. But we're not gonna listen to the sign. What should we do? We'll kill him. It's crazy, isn't it?

Cancer UK Cancer Research UK. What's Cancer Research UK about about? Well, they're about raising money to get research, to get rid of cancer. That's what they're about, I assume. I mean, I haven't looked them up, but that's what they're I would assume they're their whole point of being a company is that they research to discover a cure For cancer, that's what they're about, that's what they advertise, that's why they're raising money, isn't it?

That's surely right. Imagine a pharmaceutical company do make some kind of vaccine or a pill or something. And it does clear cancer. And the whole of king people in the cancer unit Kingston are all testifying. It's gone.

It's gone. And then Epsum Hospital, it's actually gone. And then people in cancer wards, it worked. And someone comes running to the director general of cancer research. And says that this pill is working.

The evidence is there. It's working. It's clearing cancer. And he says, right Let's have a meeting. What should we do?

And they then say, well, I know what we should do. Let's blow the factory up. Because we'll lose our jobs. And I won't be director general of cancer research. I won't have a job.

And that's not very good, is it? That's exactly what's going on here. There's no real care for the people. There's no really thinking through what they're really even about. As Faraces and sadducees and San Hedran.

So from that point on, we see in verse 53, they want to take his life. And if you go into to 12, you see they want to kill lazarus as well. That's the scene. Okay? Let's try and apply this, and here's my third point.

What do you do? You I'm talking to you. What do you do when confronted with these truths? What would it mean for you to really believe that Jesus is from God, and he is the resurrection and the life. It's obvious it's more than just believe that he did this miracle.

But but what what what what will it mean? How how are you going are you gonna be a believer or an unbeliever here? Let me just remind you just do a little bit of work, and then we'll apply it. What Jesus is claiming in raising lazarus? What that sign really means.

And I just want you quickly, very quickly, to go back to chapter 5. Chapter 5 verse 24 to 30. Because this really is the theological background to the miracle of raising lazarus. This is what Jesus is about, and this is why he did it. So it's John chapter 5, so you need to put your thinking head on a little bit.

And have a a listen to this. First 24. Very this is Jesus speaking. Very truly, I tell you. Whoever hears my words and believes him, who sent me, that's God, has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.

Very truly, I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the son of God, and those who hear it will live. For as the father has life in himself, so he has granted the son to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the son of man. Verse 28, look at it. Do not be amazed at this for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear this voice and come out So he's now in the future.

Those who have done done what is good will rise to life, and those who have done what is evil rise to condemnation. By myself, I can do nothing. I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just. For I seek not to please myself, but him who sent me. Now there's tons of stuff in there, but it's all about Jesus, isn't it?

And that's what Jesus means when he says I am the resurrection and the life. What he's claiming to be at lazarus' tomb is judgment day now. When all the dead are called out, and those who have done good will have eternal life, and those who have done bad will rise to condemnation, to hell. So are you have you done good? That's the question.

Have you done good? If you haven't done the good that Jesus means, then you will rise to hell to condemnation. And what Jesus is saying is, I am that day brought forward. Right now, you can know whether you're gonna have eternal life or eternal condemnation, and it's all to do with me, the resurrection and the life. I am the judge God has given me that position.

Those who have done good are those who believe in me, If you don't believe in me, you've done evil and you will rise to condemnation. The good that you do is in me. Your trust in me. If you really wanna know your future, if you want your sort your future sorted out, Then it's here with me, the resurrection and the life. If you've crossed over notice that phrase, crossed over from death to life, then you know Jesus.

And you can't stay the same. Did lazarus? Lazarus come out, and lazarus crawled out, take off the grave clothes. There was the stinking rotting lazarus, and people would say, oh my goodness, but he was barely alive. Walking out.

When Jesus, the life calls you, there is a life change. You'll do good. You'll change. You'll be transformed. You'll be as changed as lazarus was, physically.

Your attitudes will change. It's no longer about me and my plans and what I'm accomplishing. Your attitude will change. They're start to grow to be like, what does God want? How do I love?

How do I change? Your lifestyle will be altered. How can lazarus can't carry on saying, I'm alright in here Jesus, but I believe you're the resurrection and the life. And I loved it you're using my name, but I'm quite enjoying laying down on this crouch decomposing. Habets will be broken, won't they?

Will come to him and break these habits that are killing me. We'll have love for hate. We'll have a mind that's enlightened and beginning to grow in understanding of God and creation. We'll have a conscience that is renewed and therefore tender and will feel more guilty on 1 sense, but we'll also understand the cleansing of the conscience on the other side. Our characters will become to formulate and we'll stop being as weak as water and just doing what everybody says or what our desires say.

And when anyone gets in our way and we don't want to be upset and then we just go around and don't do anything, we'll have strength and character. We won't be as weak as water. I don't wanna do this. I'm just gonna lie in bed another duvet day. That's pathetic, isn't it?

How can a resurrected person have that attitude? I don't wanna serve anyone. I serve myself. I'm the 1 who needs to be happy. It's all about me.

How can a resurrected person that is following the Lord Jesus Christ, be like that. It'll mean that the cultural gatekeepers may not like you. But of course, you may not want to change. You like the idea that Jesus is in your life to some degree, but not lord of your life. You're like the people, look at the queen.

It's extraordinary there. Faithfulness. Humility, service, duty, commitment, stuck at the marriage for all those years. Stuck at duty for all those years. A humble servant.

We're more marvellous. We're more mar is it between marvellous? Oh, marvellous. Do you like the queen? Oh.

0. Isn't she wonderful? Oh, it's just wonderful. It was like my grandma. It's absolutely superb.

You know, I love the woman. I'm gonna queue up for 14 hours and just have a minute looking at her coffin, and I don't even see the coffin unless that bloke lifts it up. But, a marvelous, 1 marvelous woman. You know, do you know it was her faith that made her that? We need more people like that Well, would you like to believe in the Lord Jesus?

Oh, no. We admire, we bow, we curtsy, but we don't want the life. No. Thank you. I was listening to a pastor telling 2 stories about his congregation.

A a a a a lady had invited 1 of her friends to a gospel meeting where the Christian missed message was gonna be explained by this pastor. And she was telling the pastor this, The lady replied when she was invited. I'm afraid to go for fear that I might get converted. She said, I'm gonna change. And then another occasion, same pastor.

This husband of this woman used to come to church, and he hadn't seen lately. And he said, oh, I've not seen your husband today. Has he lost interest in the gospel? And she answered, well, he is afraid to come. For when he comes and hears the word, it takes him nearly 2 weeks to get over it.

So we adapt to mundane. It's amazing how camellias we are. We adapt to a mundane, safe status quo life. We adapt even to unfaithfulness and even applaud it. Except when we see faithfulness in a queen we love.

But with myself, unfaithfulness really is being faithful to myself. We adapt to the misery of an unfulfilled life. We just adapt to it. We ignore that sense that there's something missing in us. We try to suppress death, as I was saying.

We fill our lives up with little addictions, bad relationships, bad food, abusive life theories. We seem to cling on to them. Have you the courage to come to Jesus to change you. See, for the Christian we talk about, come to Jesus and he'll change you. I think for the unbelievers, I don't wanna be changed.

That's why I don't come. I like the mundane. I can respect you from afar. I love what the Christian Church does. What?

A queen, have wonderful work, wonderful. But I don't want that in my life. I don't wanna be faithful. I don't wanna be humble. I don't want to serve.

I want it all to be about me. So the unbelievers in John, they didn't listen to Jesus, they changed the subjects, they couldn't see how foolish they were, They were wrapped up in a worldview that is here and now, and they think they control their life by not believing. And here's my last point. You can't. It's the beauty of it.

God is in control. An unbelief doesn't show you're in control. Oh, look at me, I can choose not to believe. It's far from it. Go back to verse 49.

Then 1 of them, that's the 1 in the Sanhedron, named Kyophus. Who was the high priest that year? Spoke up. I mean, this is how rude he is. You know nothing at all.

You do not realize that it is You do not realize that it is better for you that 1 man die for the people and that the whole nation perish, kill Jesus, and we'll be alright. But look at verse 51. He didn't know this was going on. But he did not say this on his own. But as high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation, but also for the scattered children of God to bring them together and make them 1.

And This is extraordinary. In their unbelief, they're in control, no to Jesus, Let's kill God's plan, let's put our plan into action, and they have no idea that their unbelief is fulfilling God's plan. Here's caiaphas with his calculated plan to get rid of Jesus, and he's putting him on the throne. It's a glorious thing. It's incredible that caiaphas is a profit and it's even more incredible that he prophesied substitutionary atonement.

1 of the central pillars of the Christian faith, that 1 man will die in the place of a nation. That is substitutionary atonement. That's what we call it. Doesn't matter whether you remember that that or not. But that is the great sentence, 1 of the great doctrines, great teachings of the church.

You do not realize that it is better for 1 man to die for the people than the whole nation to perish, caiaphas. In your unbelief common sense, in your wink wink, knob nod, let's knock him off. Practical way of working out your plan. You are fulfilling God's plan. He's always in control.

You can't say no to God because saying no to God is saying, yes to his plan. It's extraordinary. You fool. You think you're sovereign. In your unbelief, strutting around, an unbeliever.

I'm an unbeliever. Amazing. And throughout the whole chapter, and this is where, as a preacher, it's disastrous. Because you see Jesus in control, and I can't take you through that. Right from the beginning, when he first heard, lazarus had died, he said, let's hang around for a few days.

Then he said, I will be glorified. And if you look at the phrase glorified in John's gospel, it always refers to the cross. I am the 1 that will go to the cross. He knew that raising lazarus to death from the dead would actually cause them to want to kill him and he knew that that's the place that he'll bring glory to God by dying on the cross in 1 man to save the world from its sins. It's crazy not to come to the 1 who's the resurrection and the life and be made new.

Psalm too, a song in the old testament. Why do the nations conspire and the people's plot in vain? The kings of the Earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord, and against his anointed saying, let us break their chains and throw off their shackles. The 1 enthroned in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them.

He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath. Saying, I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain. Their unbelief is not them in control saying, I've decided not to believe, and we don't believe for good reasons, and there's evidence, and I don't your unbelief shows God is on the throne in control. And he will be glorified, either through salvation of you or judgment of you. Let's have a moment of quiet and think through those things and think through where we are, and then I'll hand over to Chris.

Preached by Pete Woodcock
Pete Woodcock photo

Pete is Senior Pastor of Cornerstone and lives in Chessington with his wife Anne who helps oversee the women’s ministry in the church.

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