Sunday, March 28, 2010

Jesus, Lazarus and Judas

Pastor Reuben of the Randers Free Church with Gary Sweeten

My sermon for Palm Sunday

Here is a terrific story. Jesus and his pals come back to the small town of Bethany located just outside Jerusalem to visit with His old friends Mary and Martha and their brother Lazarus. The story is found in the Gospel of John Chapter 12 and it has some real characters in it.

Here is how it begins: "Martha was serving and Lazarus was reclining at table with Jesus. Mary took a jar of precious, very expensive ointment and began to anoint the feet of Jesus with it." Not much seems to have changed in this family. Martha is still serving while Mary is forgetting to work so Jesus can eat with Lazarus.

Oh, wait a minute. something has changed. Lazarus is not dead any longer. He is sitting there at the table as big as life and twice as active. "But," you say, "he was dead as a door nail. What happened?"

Lazarus, Mary and Martha lived in a rather small town so everybody knew everybody's business. Not a soul in Bethany was ignorant about the death of Lazarus and that it was a tragic death for a man so young. Everybody talked about it for days. This must be why so many of the people of the village were gathered outside the house to see if they could get a glimpse of Jesus and Lazarus.

They also knew that Lazarus was so dead for so long that his soul had already ascended out of his body. Every Jew knew that one's soul stayed in a dead body for no longer than three days, yet Jesus had called Lazarus forth from the tomb of death after he had been dead for four days. IMPOSSIBLE!

As an observer from modern times, it seems to me that everyone present would be overjoyed with the situation. what could anyone find to criticize in this situation. Well, some people found a great deal to disloike and even hate.

More later. I must have some tea with Peder Poulsen, my current Danish host, and Galina Chentsova, head of our ministry in Russia .

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