Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

17. Courage in the Crisis – Part 2

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John 11:17-27

17 When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days. 18 Bethany was only a few miles[d] down the road from Jerusalem, 19 and many of the people had come to console Martha and Mary in their loss. 20 When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him. But Mary stayed in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.” 23 Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 “Yes,” Martha said, “he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.” 25 Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?” 27 “Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.”

It is here in the midst of the crisis that second we see:

  1. The Comfort

As Jesus goes to Bethany, He is closing in on the cross and is less than 2 miles from Jerusalem. While He is aware of the cross and the coming pain he is focused on the plan. Many of us choose to focus on the problems and the pain and we miss God’s plan. Instead of focusing on a problem free life start seeing God’s plan for life. Now when it comes to comfort the first thing I want you to see is the:

  1. Supporters

It’s in the sorrow of life that we can come alongside to console and comfort others. Sorrow provides an opportunity to serve and support. Instead of seeing sorrow as an obstacle and a problem we need to start seeing it as an opportunity to serve. Many of us miss opportunities to serve in the midst of sorrow because we focus on our comfort instead of our call. Nobody likes sorrow but it is a part of life and when you start viewing it as an opportunity to serve instead of making it about our comfort we make it about caring. Second we see the:

  1. Sisters

Look how differently they responded to the Redeemer, when they heard that Jesus was coming, Martha went to meet Him while Mary stayed home. How different from the time before when Jesus showed up and Mary sat at His feet while Martha was too caught up to take the time. It is here that we see their different personalities, which respond differently depending on the situation. The let’s get down to business type A personalities, can get so caught up in the job that they miss Jesus. While type B personalities are more driven by being than with business. But notice when you change the situation, from Jesus coming to dinner to Jesus coming because of death, there is a flip in response. Now its Mary who misses out and Martha who meets with Jesus. I believe many pastors have done a great disservice to Luke 10:38-42 where we find Mary sitting at the Saviors feet while Martha gets worked up and worried. Unfortunately what many have communicated is that we need to be more like Mary. We have used this passage to praise one personality while putting down another. So why don’t we come to John 11 and tell Type B personalities off? The truth is every strength has a backside weakness. There are positives and problems to every personality. It’s here that we see Martha’s type A business personality shine as she seeks the Savior, while Mary’s Type B more contemplative personality gets caught up in the sorrow and misses the Savior. The point is it’s not about changing your personality or trying to be more like a Mary or a Martha, it’s about being aware of your weaknesses, and being on guard so you don’t miss God. I can get so busy that I don’t take time to be, but some get so busy being that they don’t get busy with business. Sometimes we need to slow down and sit on the couch with Christ, but there are also times when we need to get busy and get off the couch so we don’t miss Christ. Every personality has weaknesses where they are prone to miss the Messiah. One got caught up in the dishes the other in distress. One got caught up in making sure everything was good the other in grief. We need to be careful that we don’t praise one personality while poisoning another. We need to guard ourselves against responding solely based on our personality and preference. Here is the point regardless of your present situation or your personality you need to pursue Christ because it’s not about your personality but His presence. As Martha comes to Christ her first statement reveals the roller coaster of belief that many of us go through. She starts with blaming and ends with believing. This is not the first time Martha has complained to Christ, she complained over her sister and now her brother. There are lots of things we could complain about but here is the greater question, are we going to spend our time complaining or communing with Christ? Now I want you to notice that Jesus didn’t chastise her for complaining He comforted her and gave her hope. In her pain he reminded her of His power. Because our pain can distort our perspective and prevent us from seeing God’s power and what is really possible. Instead of resting in his power and having peace we become restless in the pain and resentful. Look at how Jesus answered Martha’s agony, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die.” Jesus said, “I AM” – these are the words that God used to reveal His identity when Moses asked for words to reassure the people that he was truly sent from God. The words “I Am” mean “the one who is, was and always will be.” This was a direct statement of Jesus deity, he was reassuring Martha that He was indeed God in the flesh. Jesus didn’t just give her an answer he said I am the answer! Jesus then turned to Martha and asked not only a pointed question but a personal one: “Do you believe this?” He didn’t ask her how she felt; he asked her if she believed. It’s not based on feeling it’s based on faith. I love what the Apostle Paul says of his own life and faith in 2 Timothy 1:12, “… I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” Martha revealed that she did believe in Jesus. In the midst of the crisis she has the courage to believe Jesus, but what about you, do you believe in Jesus? Do you believe that Jesus is the Resurrection and the life? Do you believe that Jesus is the way (the only way) to eternal life? The Answer wasn’t just for Martha, Jesus also wanted to speak to Mary, so he sent Martha as the messenger. Sometimes God using mourning as the vehicle to bring us His message. It’s here that we see Martha go from sorrow to serving. When we come to Him we find hope and healing, and our despair is replaced with direction. As believers we don’t have to be stuck in the sadness, because Jesus is greater than any situation or struggle. Because of Him we can go from hopeless to helping. But when we get caught up in the things of life we tend to miss the Lord. Martha got caught up in making the house look good Mary got caught up in grief, not bad things just not God things. Christ wants to comfort us but we have to come to Him. So what is it that is keeping you from coming to Christ?

 

 

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