This week, we continue our 60 journey together, walking through the pages of Scripture in order to learn who Jesus really was and is.
This is our 5th installment of 60 days with Jesus. If you’d like to join us on the journey, there are daily readings through the Gospel of John and corresponding memory verses - CLICK HERE to see those readings.
As we’ve mentioned before, there are 7 I AM statements that Jesus makes in John’s Gospel showing Jesus to be the the unique fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. One of these - the one that we will focus on this week - is John 11:25. It reads, "Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."
What’s your first thought when you hear that word? Life is… an adventure, a roller coaster, unpredictable, too short, full of possibilities. The great theologian Forest Gump said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” How we respond when we don’t like the hand we are dealt? How do you respond to the hurts of this life? From boo boos and broken bones when we are younger to broken dreams and broken relationships when we are older. Life is full of hurts.
- We hurt physically. We have our cuts and scratches and our bumps and bruises. Some live in constant pain, which is not a laughing matter. The older I get, the more I understand… if you deal with it all the time, it’s always on your mind.
- We hurt emotionally. That's a little more subtle but it's often harder to deal with than physical pain. How do you deal with emotional hurts? Fear, worry, anger, guilt, grief, depression. Where do you go to get relief?
- We hurt relationally. A difficult type of hurt to deal with is the hurt that's caused by others. It is a fact of life that you will be hurt by other people. Sometimes it's misunderstandings, sometimes it's conflict, sometimes it's loneliness, and sometimes it's rejection. How do you deal with the hurts that other people bring into our lives?
We all deal with the hurts in different ways. Psalm 55:6, 8 reads, "I wish I had wings like a dove, I'd fly away and find some rest. I'd flee to some refuge from this storm." How many have ever felt like that? It’s human nature to run from difficulty. It's a fact of life. There is nowhere we can run from God.
Similarly, Psalm 139:7-12 says, "Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, 'Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night, even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you'."
By law, all doors in public buildings swing out. When people panic, they run. We are experts at escaping. We think of many ways to escape. But you never solve a problem by running from it. So, it’s important that we learn from our hurts and work through them in order to find the healing that God desires to bring. You can’t experience healing without experiencing hurt.
Psalm 34:18 reads, "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." The Psalmist is saying, you are never closer to God than when you are hurting. God is close when I'm hurting. The reality is that sometimes Life hurts. It’s not fun and we have to learn how to deal with the hurts of this life. And sometimes the most difficult hurt comes through death.
We’ve all had people in life who’ve been affected by death: grandparents, parents, children, co-workers or friends. It’s a statistical reality that 1:1 people are going to die. We all will face the day… some expected, some unexpected. How do you respond when death visits your world? In John 11, Jesus says, "I AM the Resurrection and the Life." As a result, we are going to look at the different ways the Bible teaches us to deal with grief and see the solution God has for us.
In the Gospel of John, there is a story of Jesus and two of His friends who were hurting over the death of Jesus’ friend Lazarus. In John 11, two sisters - Mary and Martha - sent word to Jesus that His friend Lazarus was sick. It was only a few miles from Bethany to Jerusalem. At the most about a half-day's journey by foot. But by the time Jesus got to Bethany, Lazarus had died and been in the tomb for four days. The situation had gone from critical to terminal. From difficult to dead end. It had gone from a tough situation (Jesus going to heal a sick man) to an impossible situation (Jesus going to raise the dead).
In John 11:21 and again in John 11:32 – Mary and Martha cry out to Jesus out of their pain, "Lord, if you would have been here my brother would not have died." Mary and Martha were hurting. If you’ve ever lost a loved one suddenly, you can understand their pain.
But look at what happened in John 11, the sisters released their grief to Jesus and told Him how they felt. They didn’t hide it or stuff it - they released it. When you go through a tragedy, which is inevitably going to happen, the first thing you need to do is: Release your grief.
In fact, Jesus said in Matthew 5:4, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." It’s ok to grieve! You have to face your feelings. Don’t repress them, push them down, or rehearse them—torturing yourself by repeating it over in your mind. You release it. Tell God how you feel…. Grief is a part of life.
Psalm 62:8 says, "Pour out your hearts to God, for He is our refuge." God wants to comfort you in a crisis. Similarly, Psalm 34:18 says, "The Lord is close to the broken hearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
Death -no matter how sudden or how expected- is never easy. No words can take the pain away. There is little explanation. Often times, we demand an explanation. God doesn’t always give us the answers we might demand in the midst of our hurt, but He offers exactly what we need – comfort and grace. There are a lot of unanswered questions and great loss. But, somehow, when tragedy comes, we must find a way to cope. I want to direct your thoughts to a Biblical framework of life. 3 truths to help us find hope in the midst of the disappointment and despair we experience as a result of tragedy.
- Life is a Gift. Live with Gratitude.
- Lean on God: Experience His Grace for this hour.
- Look Beyond Today.
Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. He was teaching that there is more than this life.
When Jesus raises Lazarus, it is the last miracle Jesus performs in the Gospel of John. It’s the ultimate sign that Jesus has power over life and death. This miracle points us to Jesus’ resurrection and promises us that anyone who trusts in Jesus will receive the Spirit of Resurrection Life!
God has promised the triumph of His purpose to those who have responded to His call; He promises that good can be brought out of every circumstance to those who love Him. Yes even all of life’s hurts.
When faced with all the hurts of life: The question of “why” is a legitimate question that does not always have an answer this side of heaven. We don’t know why it had to happen this way and at this time. But what we do know is this: In spite of our pain and present suffering, God loves us and wants us to have a love relationship with Him. There is more than the pain of today. There is Christ, and His offer of comfort and eternal life.