Rise up! I know you may be feeling down, but I say RISE UP! I know this year has brought a unique level of uncertainty, hardship and negativity. While the holidays are a joy for many they can be a downer for others. I still say – RISE UP! I say this is the time for YOUR comeback story! You’ve probably heard it said, that “tough times don’t last, but tough people do.” I’d add something to that – “. . . tough people – who walk with Jesus – definitely do!”
Let’s set up this edition of The Path “Quick Church.” Other than Jesus’ resurrection, the most famous biblical story of coming back to life is Lazarus, from the gospel of John, chapter 11. Jesus considered Lazarus and his sisters to be his friends.
1) The Story of Lazarus
1 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” 4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.
Skipping ahead a few verses:
11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” 12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. 14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus ) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” (There had been threats against Jesus.) 17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, (see maps below), 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.
20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. 21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” 28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” 38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” 40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” 45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.John 11:1-6, 11-45 (New International Version – NIV)
- I realize your problems may feel overwhelming. But, are they greater than death itself? If Jesus could revive Lazarus, couldn’t he revive you, from your situation?
- The sisters believed Jesus could have prevented their brother, Lazarus, from dying. Why didn’t it cross Mary’s mind that he could raise him? Martha still seemed to have hope. Whether you’re a doubting Christian, a new believer or very strong in your faith – is there some lingering doubt? If so, why? Does the all powerful God who created our amazing universe and who was tortured and killed to save us – deserve our doubts?
Here’s an obvious song choice for this message. Check out Cain’s lyric video version of Rise Up (Lazarus) for more inspiration!
- You’ve probably learned valuable lessons from past hardships.
- What can you learn from the current one?
- In prayer, ask God what he is trying to teach you or tell you.
- Could God be glorified somehow through your situation?
- If you haven’t already, consider reading some of our other Quick Church blogs to help you RISE UP:
- Bustin’ Out Of Our Own Prison – 3 examples of hardship – with a purpose.
- God’s Got You – before you knew it, while you’re going through it, and giving you the faith, hope and strength to do it!
- A Living Sacrifice – to have more patience, appreciate what Jesus has done for us and how to live his way vs. the world’s way.
- New Life – like throwing away old clothes and getting a brand new wardrobe. How to embrace our new life with Christ.
- I pray that these messages are a shot of adrenaline that goes straight to your heart and soul!
- RISE UP every day, with gratitude, wonder and joy, to see what the Lord is doing next in your life and in the world!
Lord, life has a way of pushing us down and keeping us down. We may start to believe “it’s meant to be.” It becomes a self-fulfilling habit. But that’s not what you taught. Help us break that habit – right here and right now. I pray that we can all be tuned in better to you and your ways. I pray that we can all keep this message and that song in our heart to face any challenge. Every time we get knocked down or just feel down, help us to RISE UP! Lead us away from fear, worry and other temptations. Have your way with us. Bring out the best in us. Amen!
May God bless you!
Thank you for attending The Path “Quick Church” in written form. The Path is our church “brand name,” connected with our recovery ministry, “Mission Addiction.” We’d love to know what you think of this message. What spoke to you the most? Please like, comment, and share with others, using the space below! Or contact us to ask questions, go into more detail or work more on your faith walk together! Everyone is welcome at our events, listed on our Facebook events or Eventbrite page. You can attend online or in-person. The same goes for our MAP For Healing and Recovery aftercare and discipleship program. A new series is starting in January, so sign up for the orientation sessions now!
Copyright © 2020, Edward Livesay, Mission Addiction