He is risen! He is risen indeed!
I had a blessed Easter, I hope you did too! And I'll be honest...I almost missed it! It's funny how you can twist things in your head, and when someone told me they were hoping to see me in church today I kind of panicked. I wasn't sure why they said that...and in typical DJ fashion...my mind began to twist and turn. Finally last night I had decided that after helping at the spring fling, and being a bit sore (gotta love arthritis!!), no one would miss me anyway, besides I wouldn't miss the message because I would just listen to the pod cast...no big deal.
I woke up late this morning...still enough time to get ready, but determined I was going to stay home. And then my son said he didn't want to sit in church alone (I used that excuse many times to entice him to come with me...payback can be a bummer...LOL) so I thought to myself, suck it up buttercup, and went to take my shower. We were a few minutes late, but in time to catch the sermon...and what a sermon it was!!
I had never heard the resurrection story told from this point of view. Not from the typical Easter story of Jesus on the cross, and then the empty tomb...but from the perspective of Thomas, Mary and Martha and of course, Lazarus. Yep...remember him? He was resurrected too!! Not on his own power though...Jesus had a hand in that!
Reading from John 11 we hear the story of how Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that "the one you love is sick". Jesus did nothing...for two days. There's that waiting game again. The disciples were freaking out while Jesus was hanging out...sound familiar? How many times have we waited...on His perfect timing...but still, waiting is HARD!! And something I've learned is that it may not be for our benefit that we wait...but for someone else...and ALWAYS for his glory!
Finally, after two days, Jesus decides to go...and Thomas begins to doubt. Thomas was dead in his doubt.
Mary was dead in her discouragement, she wouldn't even go to meet Jesus when he did arrive. Lazarus had been dead for 4 days...it was a cultural belief in that time that the soul hovered close by for three days after someone died so in Mary's mind, Lazarus was beyond any hope at all.
Martha was dead in the delay. She believed Jesus would have healed him but now he was beyond any help at all.
What we need to remember is...God's delays are not God's denials. All things are possible with God. Jesus rolled the stone away and told them to take off the grave clothes and let him go. And doesn't he do that for us when we are dead in our sins? When we are frozen in our doubt? When we seek his forgiveness? The voice that called Lazarus also calls us! Resurrection is not an event - it is a person. It is not WHAT He does, it is WHO He is....and the Resurrection changes everything.
I am so thankful He overcame Satan whispering in my ear, filling me with doubts and fear. I'm so glad I listened to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and attended church. I had the opportunity to hug my brothers and sisters in Christ, to offer encouraging words to those who are hurting, and those fears I had...were answered with encouraging words from the person hoping to meet up with me at church. I am truly humbled by what happened today...and encouraged to face the "stinking thinking" that rolls around in my head. I hope you had a blessed Easter as well. And if you want to hear the sermon you can got to http://connectionschurch.cc/connections-podcasts and click on I Am Jesus series. It may take a day or two to be posted, but Pastor Ajay has a wonderful way of presenting the Gospel, they are definitely worth a listen!