“Did I not tell you that if you believe, you would see God’s Glory” (John 11:40)
I chose this verse for our midnight service because of two reasons. First of all, some of you have been face to face with death this year, you’ve stood by the graveside, attended thanksgiving services, been there at the Crematorium. Some of you have witnessed death metaphorically, you’ve suffered and grieved, you’ve let go. Here in John 11, Jesus arrives at Lazarus’ grave. Along the way he gets stopped by mourners ” If you had come sooner…” As he weeps, they comment “He opened the eyes of the blind, why didn’t he act here?” Maybe you identify with that sentiment. Why couldn’t Jesus have acted sooner, why if God is great didn’t he sort it?
Secondly, I chose it because both this world and worldly preacher’s twist it the other way. In effect the sceptical world says ” If we see God’s glory we will believe” and we are tempted into that aren’t we, at it’s most overt, some preachers will promise miracles in order to get people to believe.
Jesus says “Believe and you will see.”
Jesus is standing at the grave and he promises believers that they will see his glory. How do they see it? Well they see it here in his power to raise Lazarus but this is just a foretaste. A short while later and they will see Jesus’ glory. They will see it in his death because they will see his love ( remember God is simple so when we talk about his love, we also talk about his glory). They will see it in his resurrection.
As believers we look forward because one day we will see His glory. A resurrection day is coming. What has got you through the last year? As an enthusiastic graduate, I used to arrive on Monday go to my boss and ask him ” What is the plan this week?” He would look up from his computer with world weary eyes ” Just try and get through to Friday.” For many of us, the thing that keeps us going is just getting through to the next milestone, Friday, the end of the month Pay check, the summer, next New Year. We get through hoping that the milestone will some how magically change things.
Believers have a better hope. We look forward to the day when from our tombs we will hear the voice of Jesus calling “Come out to eternal life.” We will see him face to face.