“The God Story: Soundtrack”                                                           April 6, 2014

John 11:1-45                                                                                       Stephens City UMC

 

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

I.                   Jacob Armstrong in his book The God Story says it is something you don’t usually think about as you watch a movie (p. 75).

A.    But without it something would be notably missing.

1.     There are some who would say that the soundtrack is as vital as what you see.

2.     “Not often noticed, it keeps the movie moving and connects the beginning to the end.” (Armstrong, The God Story, p. 75)

B.     If you were a teenager in the 1970’s all you need to hear is a couple of notes to identify the theme song to Jaws.

1.     In the 1980’s the best known theme song was John Williams’ Star Wars.

2.     And in the 1990’s it was Celine Dion belting out the theme for the movie Titanic.

3.     I suspicion that you can hum the theme song to your favorite movie.

II.                 For the past few weeks we have been considering The God Story and I would put forth that as we near Holy Week there is a soundtrack that is playing in the background of all that was going on with Jesus and the music in the background shouts out “Lazarus.”

A.    Lazarus who lived in the tiny village of Bethany just a few miles from Jerusalem.

1.     Lazarus who lived with his two sisters – Mary and Martha.

2.     Lazarus who had been dead for four days in the tomb of a cave.

3.     Lazarus whom Jesus called forth with the words, “Lazarus, come out.”

4.     Lazarus who was wrapped in bandages like a mummy appeared for all to see and to complete the job Jesus instructed others to, “Unbind him and let him go.”

5.     Lazarus who didn’t mean to become a troublemaker but he did.

B.     In particular the Gospel of John clues us in that primarily the religious authorities were bothered by the increased notoriety Jesus achieved from raising Lazarus from the dead.

1.     Jesus was already popular and had a significant following, but after what he did for Lazarus Jesus was on the cover of Newsweek, the New York Times and The Rolling Stone.

2.     People were flocking to Jesus, wanting to be informed of his every word and movement and the soundtrack, it was getting louder and louder and louder.

3.     This Jesus must be from God if he could raise a man from the dead. 

4.     What would Jesus do next the people wondered?

5.     What would Jesus do next the authorities wondered?

6.     If he was powerful enough to raise Lazarus from the dead he might be powerful enough to move us important people out of our positions of power and that was unacceptable.

7.     Plus that confounded soundtrack, “Lazarus, come out” was playing everywhere.

8.     The way Jesus said it along with the results might get people to believe that this man from Galilee was the Lord of heaven and earth.

9.     To silence the soundtrack, the authorities would have to silence Jesus, and so they began to plot how to get rid of him.

C.     In contrast with the authorities I would urge you to keep playing this soundtrack.

1.     In fact, I hope you can’t get enough of it because as you listen to that soundtrack in your head instead of hearing Lazarus’s name, I hope you hear your name and Jesus calling you to “come out.”

2.     Come out to life because that’s what Jesus wants for you.

3.     He doesn’t want you to stay in some stone cold tomb all wrapped up like a dead mummy.

4.     He wants you to be unbound from your sin, your pain, your disappointments, your grief and even your fear of the future.

5.     Jesus knows that it is dangerous for him for you to listen to this soundtrack, because the more often it was played for Lazarus the closer Jesus came to the cross where he would die.

6.     So the one who set Lazarus free would be bound himself first with nails and then with burial clothes, but he would do that out of love for Lazarus and for you and for me and because he believed that God would vindicate him by calling him out and raising him from the dead.

7.     However, unlike Lazarus whose experience can most accurately be described as resuscitation for Lazarus will still have to die, Jesus was resurrected and will never die again and by faith in Jesus we like Lazarus will die but will come to live for eternity with Jesus as we will never die again.

III.              We’ve been working our way through the God story and this morning you can take your place in God’s story by simply accepting Christ’s invitation to come to this Communion Table as did Lazarus who accepted the Lord’s invitation to “come out.”

A.    Through these elements of Christ’s body and blood there is the power to remove all that is binding you and hindering you from living an abundant life.

1.     So as you walk down the aisle I hope that the Lazarus soundtrack is playing in your head and your heart and your soul and may that soundtrack continue as we approach what for us Christians is the holiest of weeks.