Glory Near A Grave!

Bible Book: John  11
Subject: Vision; Dreams; Hope; Faith

Several weeks ago, I found myself preaching a graveside funeral in a cemetery I had never been in before. After saying the final condolences to the family, I left. At least I thought I was leaving. This cemetery was so large and winding, I got lost. In moments like this, you are so thankful the dark shadows of night have not yet fallen. But, even in the daylight, there is a sense of urgency to escape your setting when you're lost in a cemetery. It can be the stuff of a great horror movie. However, as I was searching for the right road out, I began to notice the many sayings carved into headstones and how people were remembered. My favorite one had to be, "in the worst of times, he did the best of things." Wow! What a way to be remembered.

Having had that experience, I began to think about the language of a cemetery. Few can discern its sounds and solace. If there was ever anyone who could understand the cemetery, it was Jesus. Have you ever thought about the fact Jesus was found on occasion in a cemetery? He could have sought the fame and popularity where the crowds who would flock to Him, but a lonely cemetery opened some choice opportunities for Him. Maybe today, you are standing amidst a graveyard abandoned and alone, holding lifeless dreams in your arms, broken with buried hope, and grasping for escaping air having had the breath of encouragement taken from you. Before you shovel the dirt and say the final condolences, take a look around and behind you.

Chances are, there is One pausing among the headstones of memorial ready to teach you the language of the cemetery.

I. Something Laid Down

The cemetery speaks of something laid down. In John 11, news arrives in the ears of Jesus that Lazarus is sick, but He delays and Lazarus dies. After four days in the grave, certainly there was no way a miracle could happen now. It was over and in the hearts of the friends and family, Jesus had failed them. Then He asks, "Where have ye laid him?" Are you still holding your dreams, vision, and hope or have you already laid them down?

Shamefully, as I look back over the early years of my ministry, I find the skeletal remains of unfinished projects, coffins of tasks I felt too hard to undertake, and the embalming fluid of a quitting spirit. Maybe all it would take today is getting Jesus to unwrap the wiggling Lazarus of your past for God to display His glory through you.

II. Something Left Behind

The cemetery speaks of something left behind. In Luke 7, a crowd is marching into a cemetery outside the gates of Nain, when Jesus discovers them. There is a woman who already has lost a husband, but now she loses her only child. Being a mother, I'm sure her mind was filled with all the joy and laughter he had brought her but, having lost him so young, she wondered what might have been. Suddenly, Jesus touches the coffin "...and they that bare him stood still." So many of us spend the majority of our existence chasing the memories and regrets of the past that we miss the miracle awaiting us today. Even at Jesus' own tomb, Mary was so consumed with the historical Jesus, she missed the resurrected Lord! If we could learn to simply stand still amidst the markers of the past, we might just find He is willing to resurrect and give it back to us!

III. Something Lost Permanently

The cemetery speaks of something lost permanently. In Mark 5, Jesus finds an unexpected thing in a cemetery. Rather than encountering death, He confronts a devil. A devil stood between Jesus and the resurrection party of Jairus' daughter! Have you ever given much thought to the fact that when you and I lose hope, when vision dies, and dreams are shatter, there is any enemy who hides among the tombstones in an attempt to keep us away from recovering them? Having once stood at the edge of the Promised Land, do you think Moses could still taste the milk and honey while eating dry, desert manna? Having served beside the king's throne, do you think while hiding out in the damp, lonely caves David still had clear vision of sitting on the throne? Not every opportunity and possibility in our lives has to remain dead. As long as Jesus is willing to enter our cemetery they are merely asleep!


I wonder how much life still exists in the cemeteries of our lives? There is a language spoken there that few will ever dare to discern. Perhaps if you would search through the headstones, you might just find, "..being dead, yet speaketh."