Jesus said in John 11:25, "I am the resurrection and the life.”
During his message on Sunday, July 21 at Green Bay Community Church Ben Lenz examined that statement and the story of Lazarus getting raised from the dead. Here are some key points:
*Martha said to Jesus that if he had been there, her brother wouldn’t have died. How often do we say to God that if only he had been present, something bad wouldn’t have happened. In reality, God is always present in our lives but his timing doesn’t always match our timing.
*Ben said when his dad died he found himself saying to God: "If you would have done something my dad wouldn’t have died. Why didn’t you show up.” There are times when we don’t have all the answers and God hasn’t revealed the rest of the plan. It can be painful but we must trust in God’s timing and will.
*There are times when God wants us to let go of something, even though we thought that was part of his will or plan.
*Lazarus’ family was grieved by his death and really wanted him to live. There are times when we grieve over the loss of something, whether it’s a loved one or a relationship or a job. It can be heavy and the pain can be intense — that’s normal. In those times we must cling to God’s promise that he will be with us.
*In the midst of her grief, Martha didn’t give up on her faith. She continued to trust that Jesus would do something. (John 11:22)
*We see Bible verses that point to future resurrection: Daniel 12:2, Isaiah 26:19, Psalm 71:20, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 1 Corinthians 15:52. Jesus says that whoever believes in him will never die.
*We tend to want answers immediately, but God stretches our faith in difficult times. Do you continue to trust God even when things aren’t going your way?
*Jesus wept in the story of Lazarus, an indication that he engages with us in our pain. He didn’t say “get over it.” He didn’t super-spiritualize the situation. He didn’t even say it will be OK. He sits with us in our moments of pain and grief. He wants to engage with you in your story.
*In John 11: 38-40 we see Martha being a bit reluctant when Jesus tells them to roll away the stone from the tomb of Lazarus. Martha says, “But Lord, by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” Many times we ask God to do something, but when he makes something happen, we are reluctant. We get uncomfortable with the way He operates because it isn’t according to our plan.
*Jesus’ response to Martha’s reluctance was: "Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” We must trust God to do what is best, even if it doesn’t make sense to us. We must trust Him for the future, and for the present.
*Parts of our story are dead and we’ve stopped hoping or praying that God would revive it. God re-asks this question: Do you trust me? We must believe that he can take the dead parts of our life and restore and resurrect. There is hope for whatever dead parts are going on in your heart (Ephesians 2: 4-6) and we can trust him for whatever we are going through (2 Corinthians 1:9).
*What dead places in your life need reviving? Ask Jesus to bring new life into those places.