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The Son of God Goes Forth to War: The Hidden Warrior


A Sermon based on John 11:33-37 for Midweek Lent Worship, March 18, 2020.

It started out as a normal day at the high end car dealership. People wandered in dressed in designer suits looking at all the vehicles. The sales people took care of those customers hoping to hit it big on the commission. All of a sudden the eyes of everyone turned to one customer in particular. He looked out of his element. He came dressed in jeans and a T-shirt. He wore a dusty baseball cap. The sales team looked with suspicion as he went from car to car. They wanted to make sure he did not smudge or damage the pristine vehicles. When this person came with questions, no one paid attention to him. He wanted a test drive, but no one would him the keys. The sales team did not want to waste their time. Then the man made himself known. He was a multi-millionaire, a CEO of a local business. He could easily afford any of these cars with the writing of one check. This CEO wanted his identity to remain hidden because he wanted people to help him for him and not his money.


We need to be careful not to judge a book by its cover. Looks can be very deceiving. We let a perfectly fine opportunity pass us by because we only look on the outside passing quick judgment. Do we, or others, do the same thing with Jesus? Do we sometimes only look on the surface failing to see the whole story? Today, we see our Hidden Warrior who goes off to war for us.


Jesus’ timing, at least to human eyes, stunk. Word came to Jesus that Lazarus was sick. Jesus knew the family well. He stayed at their house in Bethany. Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha, entertained Jesus in their home. As soon as Jesus heard that his good friend was sick, he should have left to help.


Jesus stalled. He did not go right away. Even though he loved this family, Jesus did not seem that concerned about the illness. Jesus went on with his business seemingly having no worries. Then news reached Jesus that Lazarus lost his battle with the illness. He had died.


Now, Jesus would go to visit Mary and Martha in Bethany. Jesus came during a time of great sorrow not only for Mary and Martha but friends of the family who had come to support Mary and Martha in their sorrow. Mary and Martha greeted Jesus, but they also had questions. If only he had arrived here sooner, if only he spoke words of healing, their brother would still be with them. Yet, even in their distress they still clung to Jesus and his promises.


Jesus took in the entire scene. The sisters shed their tears during this difficult time. Friends from the area came and wept with the sisters. All of this was not lost on Jesus. “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and troubled” (John 11:33). At this time of sorrow, Jesus’ emotions started to bubble to the surface.


This might seem strange to us. Jesus is the Son of God. He is the Almighty God, who created the heavens and the earth. He is the one who watches over all creation. He does not change like we do. How can he be so moved at this scene? How can Jesus be deeply moved in spirit and troubled?


This description of Jesus shows us that Jesus is not just the divine but also true man. Jesus took on human flesh to be 100% God and 100% man. We confess this important truth in our Christian faith. This serves an important truth for us. Jesus had to be true man in order to be under the law, just as we are. He had to be tempted. However, he is also true God. He would keep those commands perfectly and die the innocent death to count for all sin.


We cannot judge a book by its cover. Here is the hidden Warrior who came to this world for us. He showed his care and concern for the entire world by living a perfect life in our place and going to the cross to save us from our sins. This was the Mighty Warrior, Jesus Christ.


Jesus wanted to see the place where Lazarus lie. Mary brought Jesus to the tomb. The crowds followed. At the tomb Jesus again became emotional. “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). A simple verse summed up the great love Jesus had for this man.


We cannot blame Jesus for shedding a tear. We have been to a funeral. We tell ourselves to be strong, but then we cry. We weep at the fact that we will no longer be seeing our loved one here upon this earth.


There is another reason we weep. We weep over our sins. Sin is the root cause of all our troubles. Sin brings about death. Sin breaks the perfect relationship God wants us to have with him. We shed a tear for sin separates us from God.


It does not matter whether the sins are great or small. Each and every sin has the same consequence. We will die. Sin makes us guilty before our Lord and Savior so that we not deserve heaven. We cry over our sins. The little lies we tell others to escape trouble bring sorrow to our heart. The hateful words we speak cause great sorrow. The impure thoughts rip our consciences to shreds. All the sins that keep us up at night cause us to shed a tear in humble repentance.


However, we do not need to shed tears for too long for we look to the hidden Warrior who comes to save us.


The people standing by the tomb of Lazarus had their doubts about Jesus. “See how he loved him!”…Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying” (John 11:36-37)? The people had two different reactions. The love Jesus felt for his friend was evident. The raw emotion showed it.


Other people had questions about Jesus. They knew he gave a man born blind his sight. Jesus had performed many other miracles which these people had heard about. If he could do all of those things, why couldn’t he save Lazarus? If he had all power, how could he let his good friend die?


We know the rest of the story. The hidden Warrior would show his power and might. He would call out to Lazarus, who would walk out of his tomb. This God-man, Jesus Christ, was indeed the Warrior who would held all power, yes even power over death.


He would battle sin, death, and the devil on our behalf. He went to the cross so that we like Lazarus could walk out of our graves on the Last Day. We cannot let the looks deceive us. Even the bloodied and beaten Savior would overcome all for us. He is the hidden Warrior going to war for us. Amen.

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