First Lesson: Ezekiel 37: 1-14
Responsive Reading: Psalm 130
Second Lesson: Romans 8: 6-11
Gospel Lesson: John 11: 1-45
Grace and Peace from Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Jesus said to Martha (her), “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he lives, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.”-John 11:25-26
I want to tell you a story Today. It’s a story for everyone who has ever experienced the loss of a loved one.
I want to tell you the tale of the Allen family. The Allen’s were a family that lived in a town, not unlike Silver Bay.
The Allen’s had three children in Marie, Melissa, and Luke.
Marie was the oldest daughter. A while back, Marie had a quit her job to take care of the Allen’s aging mother. Marie was a doer with a work ethic that seemingly never stopped from sunset to sundown. Marie was a serious type. When other people were playing games, Marie didn’t waste her time with such foolishness. Marie guarded her time tightly. You might even say Marie was a control freak, to keep the Allen house in check.
Marie’s sister Melissa seemed to be her exact opposite. Melissa was known for being funny and silly. Melissa was known for always having a smile on her face. Melissa was adventurous. Melissa would go through life so optimistic that it bordered on naïve. Melissa had worked for a non-profit a while back, until ending up on permanent disability.
The Allen’s beside Marie and Melissa also had a son named Luke. Luke was seemingly “Mr.Perfect.” When Luke was in High School, he was the star Quarterback even leading the team to state. No one in town could say a bad word about Luke. Luke was one in a million, of the Allen children, with Marie taking care of mom, and Melissa unable to work this made Luke the primary breadwinner. The Allen’s weren’t rich by any means, but as along as Luke was around, they were going to be comfortable.
One day the Allen’s life would be to change forever. Luke started feeling ill. At first, this was thought to be nothing. Luke was so young and healthy; this couldn’t be a big deal. Only Luke’s condition kept worsening and worsening. Within a few days, Luke would fall asleep only to never awaken. Luke’s loss was such that it seemed like the Allen’s could never recover. As Luke died, there was one person notably absent in Luke’s good friend Jason.
Jason was an odd-duck. Jason was like really, really religious. Jason was always quoting scripture. Jason prayed the nicest prayers. Jason didn’t fit in with the local religious scene. Jason found most of the churches he attended were about rules. Jason was all about grace and forgiveness. Jason struck some people the wrong way because of his anti-establishment tendencies. Here’s the thing about Jason he was always really well put together. Jason never yelled. Jason never got too high or too low. Marie and Melissa had sent word to Jason that Luke was on the way out. Jason just stood there as cool as could be. Just like Joe Montana in the Super Bowl. Not only did Jason not rush to Luke’s house. Jason kept chilling with his friends like normal. Jason believed that Luke’s illness wasn’t that big of a deal.
Jason finally decides after two days of waiting that he needs to see Luke. Jason then receives word that Luke has died. Jason being Jason doesn’t act like it’s a big deal, Jason merely says to his other friends. “Our friend Luke has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him,” I told you that Jason was a little bit different.
Jason finally arrives at Luke’s house after Luke had been dead for four days. Marie and Melissa were both mad at Jason’s absence. People had been gathering at Allen household bringing them goodies and attempting to console their grief, yet Jason was nowhere to be found.
As soon as Jason arrives, Marie the older sister comes out to greet and confront Jason.
“Jason, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Apparently, Jason must have been some sort of miracle worker that can even prevent death.
Jason upon witnessing Marie’s outburst could merely say to her “Your brother will rise again.”
Marie just started shaking her head as said: “I know that he will rise again in the Resurrection on the last day.” “But what good does that do us now? We’re going to have bills to pay, and we need more than just promises for some time a long, long time from now. "
Jason kept as cool as he could in the midst of Marie’s grief-stricken outburst. Jason gave Marie a promise from the scriptures. “Whoever lives and believes shall never die.”
After Marie worked Jason over onto the scene came Melissa. Melissa’s complaint to Jason was the same as Marie’s “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
Jason saw Melissa hurting. Melissa was mad. Happy- go- lucky Melissa just didn’t get mad. Jason then did something that shocked both Melissa, Marie, and all others present. Jason began to weep. Jason got mad at the way the world was. Luke died too soon, too young, that it hurt Jason inside. Jason cried as you cry. Jason cried at Luke’s death like we cry when a spouse, parent, brother, sister, or friend leaves this world. Jason believed in resurrection, heavenly mansions, eternal life, and all the scriptures said, yet this doesn’t make the pain of the present any easier to bear as Luke was now dead.
Jason finally snaps in the midst of his weeping outburst as he says “Where is Luke buried?”
The onlookers just shook their head at Jason. They wondered where Jason was when Luke was on the way out. What good can his presence be now? The game seemed to be long over, the bleachers swept clean, and the lights turned off.
Marie and Melissa lead Jason to Luke’s tomb. Luke was buried in a cave on the Allen’s property. A stone was guarding Luke’s tomb. Marie being the ever hardened realist could only say “There’s already a stench from Luke’s body as he’s been dead for four long days.”
To which Jason said to Marie and Melissa “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
Jason approached Luke’s tomb and began to pray. He prayed the following: “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.”
A while back, I was at a Boys Basketball game. Silver Bay was playing Wrenshall. Silver Bay was up three with seconds left in the game. Everyone knew Wrenshall’s star guard would get the ball. The Mariners play pretty good defense, but Wrenshall’s star hoists a shot from just over half-court if Wrenhall player shoots that 100 times, maybe he makes the shot once. The ball never even hit the rim. Game tied, Silver Bay’s fans are sitting there in stunned silence. The Wrenshall buzzer-beater was nothing compared to what happened at Luke’s tomb.
Jason calls for Luke to walk out of his own tomb. People started to snicker. People started to think that Jason was crazy. Only jaws would soon drop. People were standing in stunned silence. Luke did indeed walk out of his own tomb! Someone from the crowd shouted out “You mean Resurrection is possible?” The Allen family’s story ends with Marie, Melissa, and Luke being reunited once again!
As for Jason’s story, it is not over here. Word of his great miracle at Luke’s tomb quickly began to spread. The religious authorities got nervous; they got really nervous. They were worried how many people might begin to follow Jason, rather than them as his fame as “miracle-worker” became known. These authorities began to plot to take Jason’s life. Jason’s life would end shortly after this miracle, yet even still Jason’s story was not quite over. Remember as you hear the story of Jason and Luke that Resurrection is always possible.
Remember this when your best friend dies, or your spouse dies. Heart attack, cancer, car accident, doesn’t matter, Resurrection is always possible.
The following story of Melissa, Marie, Luke, and Jason might seem familiar. It’s a retelling of our Gospel lesson from John 11 in the Raising of Lazarus. Lazarus’ miracle would be the most dramatic miracle that Jesus performs. Word of this miracle would lead to his eventual arrest and crucifixion. Jesus's story was not over because Resurrection is always possible. Every funeral speaks Jesus’ famous words from this passage: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” There will be times in this life when these words will be the hardest thing to believe. We will wonder why God doesn’t act according to our timetables. Before too long the tombs that we see will soon be empty. The following is the story of the Allen family. Perhaps, you know people just like them. Amen
 The characters of Marie and Melissa are based on Mary and Martha from Luke 10:38-42 along with being influenced by others.
 John 11:14.
 John 11:6
 John 11:11.
 John 11:17
 John 11:21.
 John 11:23.
 John 11:24.
 John 11:25-26 (Paraphrase)
 John 11:32.
 John 11:35.
 John 11:34.
 John 11:37
 John 11:39.
 John 11:40
 John 11:41-42.
 John 11:43-44.
 John 11:45-52.
 Markquart, Ed. “Lazarus, Jesus Bursting into Tears.” Sermons from Seattle. Web. Mar.28.2017.
 John 11:25-26.