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Dec 01, 2019

SERMON: Failed Expectations

SERMON: Failed Expectations

Speaker: James Gallaher

Category: Sunday Morning

Jesus' delay led to Lazarus' death, which led to Jesus' miracle, which led to faith, which always leads to God's glory.

John 11:1-5 Now a certain man was sick, 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 sick. So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.

When Lazarus becomes sick, Martha and Mary know to call Jesus to come and heal him. Their request came back unanswered. Like us, it is not too much to ask that Jesus would do the very things we are asking because we know that He is capable. We cannot even fathom the things He is capable of so why wouldn't He do the things that I can fathom? We often rely on our understanding of a situation and rely more on His doing for us what we ask Him to do rather than relying on Him doing in us what we need Him to do. 

John 11:5-6 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was.

The word "so" connects these two verses and offers insight as to why Jesus delayed His coming. 

Have we ever considered that Jesus' delay might have to do more with His love than your performance?

John 11:4 But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” Jesus wanted Mary, Martha, Lazarus, and His disciples to experience something that would completely change them from that day forward. They had seen healings. Jesus wanted them to see that He has power over death because they would need to know this about Him when they would see His lifeless body in a tomb not long after this. 

John 11:20-22 Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him, but Mary stayed at the house. Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”

Do we also run to Jesus to give Him our perspective on His choices? Like 1 Peter 5:7 Cast your cares upon Him because He cares for you. So often when our expectations aren't met we not only question our perspective, we also question His sovereignty.

Verse 33 When Jesus, therefore, saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled. He is with us even in our pain and disappointment.

Verse 35 Jesus wept. Before Jesus shows up with authority, He shows up with compassion. If Jesus wept over the pain and the condition of his friends then shouldn't we?

John 11:38-40 So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, “Remove the stone.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” Is God waiting past the point of our expectation so that He can do a new thing? Can our own fears of what was keep His promises and His power hidden behind a stone? Unless we are willing to roll away the stone protecting that which I believe has died, there can be no great miracle. Sometimes, even in the presence of a miracle worker, we would rather leave the dead things dead than chance having people see what's behind the stone. Why did Jesus ask for help to remove the stone? Perhaps, Jesus will not go beyond our willingness to restore that which we declare dead. It is so hard to trust when we don't have the outcome written out for us. Sometimes, it's the unexpected outcome that proves the most powerful in convincing us that He Has A Plan.

Verse 42 "I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me.” 

Verse 43 "...Lazarus come forth." Have faith to believe.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 

James 1:2-4 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Sometimes the delayed response is exactly the response that we need - not the one we want!

How often do we allow failure in the physical to affect the plans that our Heavenly Father is preparing in the spiritual? We have assumptions like: I am the problem; I missed God; There is no way to redeem this. 

Jesus' delay led to Lazarus' death, which led to Jesus' miracle, which led to faith, which always leads to God's glory!


Have you ever considered that Jesus' delay might have to do more with His love than your performance? Explain.

Have you experienced Jesus' compassion for a loss in your life?

Can our own fears keep His promises and His power hidden behind a stone?

Why did Jesus ask for help to remove the stone?