John 12:9-11 A Sacred Enticement WC McCarter
What in this world really grabs your attention and entices you to follow after it? Are you enticed by nice cars, beautiful clothes, or the latest technological device? I guess we all have our weaknesses and some are worse than others.
Just as we said last week about extravagance, the same can be said this week about enticements. An enticement is normally thought of in a negative sense in the Christian’s mind. We do not want to be enticed with anything or anyone other than Christ. Should we enjoy the things of this world? Sure, we should enjoy all of the blessings that have come from God, but none of them should ever draw our attention away from the things of God. I would like to share with you today about a sacred enticement. An enticement that is not Christ Himself, but points you to Him.
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Lazarus’ Influence because of Jesus: His Story (9)
A large crowd had gathered from Judea at the house of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary in Bethany. Many were probably from Jerusalem, and the time was so close to the Passover that many who gathered to see Jesus were probably pilgrims from all over the world. The occasion was a dinner, and Jesus was the honored guest. Lazarus was one who reclined at the table with Him, Martha worked hard at serving, and Mary was ready to show great devotion. The more I think about it, the more I believe that the three siblings might have agreed together beforehand for Mary to anoint the Lord with the precious and costly perfume that may have been a family possession.
This great multitude knew that Jesus was there, so they wanted to go see Him and be around Him. He was the one who had been teaching with great authority, no one taught like Him. He was the one who was healing all kinds of diseases, casting out demons, and performing all kinds of miracles. He was the one who had raised the dead back to life (even after four days)! Why wouldn’t you want to be around this man?
The Apostle John tells us that the large crowd not only wanted to see Jesus, but they wanted to see Lazarus who was a real-life, breathing, and walking witness to the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. Lazarus now had great influence because of Jesus. His story would be a great witness to the things of Christ. Let’s look at his story together in the eleventh chapter (read together).
Human beings are curious creatures. We want to see things, hear things, and experience things. If we get wind of something, we want to check it out for ourselves. This is not a bad thing. In fact, I think it is good and godly on many occasions. It is the crowds’ curiosity that drew them there and then to faith.
Lazarus’ Vulnerability because of Jesus (10)
How ironic is it that Lazarus’ new life may cost him his life? It is almost laughable, from a Christian perspective, but it was a very real possibility. Lazarus was now vulnerable to the chief priests who were powerful. They thought that they had authority over the entire situation. Thus, they now plotted to not only get rid of Jesus, but also the one who was a great witness to the supernatural power of their enemy. The religious leaders planned to put Lazarus back in his rightful place: the grave.
Although Lazarus was now vulnerable to the evil plots of the chief priests, they really meant nothing. Lazarus had now experienced resurrection power. He now knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that Jesus is the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Christ, though he may die, he will live! I imagine that Lazarus would have no fear of the folks who could harm his body because he trusted the one who could raise both his body and soul from the dead!
Lazarus’ Influence because of Jesus: His Evangelism (11)
Why did the chief priests ate Lazarus so much? First, because he hung out with Jesus. Second, because many Jews left their allegiance to Jerusalem and believed in Jesus. Lazarus’ influence was now great in the realm of evangelism. What Christ had done in his life was more than a great story, it was a story that could change other people’s lives as well. It was a story that could draw the attention of others away from the worldly systems and to the Christ who Himself was the resurrection and the life.
Conclusion and Christian Application
(1) Do you realize that you have a story to tell? If you are a born-again believer, then Jesus Christ has done something marvelous in your life. You are a walking witness to the power and love of God.
(2) Following Christ leaves you vulnerable to this world. You are not exempt from the fallenness of the world around you. You are not immune to sickness, sorrow, persecution, or death. If you live long enough, you will suffer in this life. If you trust in the Lord, to one degree or another you will face persecution. But take courage, Christ has overcome the world. Although you may die, you will live because your Savior and Lord is the great I Am, the Resurrection and the Life. He has already conquered sin and death. You are free from its curse.
(3) Evangelism is never ultimately about what you do, but it is all about what Christ has done. He is the one who creates things out of nothing. He is the one who shines light into darkness. He is the one who brings life out of death. He makes something of nothing. Evangelism points people to Christ where they can then experience His love and power for themselves. In addition to the primary mode of evangelism, the spoken word, you can also greatly influence people in other ways. You can, like Mary, do something sacredly extravagant to point people to the Lord; or you can, like Lazarus, be a sacred enticement that points people to Christ. Sometimes evangelism can be simply who you are as a blood-bought, born-again believer.