"Mine" Series (Week 4)
Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha (John 11:1 NIV).
So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory . . . ” (John 11:3-4a NIV).
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” (John 11:5-7 NIV).
“Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” . . . So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so thatyou may believe. But let us go to him.” (John 11:11b-12, 14- 15 NIV, emphasis added).
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now
God will give you whatever you ask. Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:21-26a NIV).
“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world” (John 11:27 NIV).
Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” (John 11:35-36 NIV).
Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (John 11:40 NIV).
Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him (John 11:45 NIV).
In your minds, I want you to go back to your first day of high school. Actually, to the night before.
The past few weeks we’ve been talking about things that grow our faith—things that make our faith grow bigger and stronger than ever before. Maybe more than anything else, turning points in life do just that.
Chances are, you’ve had a few turning points in life already. These are the moments that turn our lives upside down and push us in a direction we didn’t intend to go. But what makes them faith-builders is how we respondto them.
In fact, you rarely hear a faith story that doesn’t eventually include some amazing, out-of-the-blue, didn’t-sign-up-for- it circumstance. These turning points are defining moments—times when it seemed like God was far away, but He ended up being much closer than you ever thought.
One of the best illustrations of turning points that change someone’s faith comes from Jesus. Of course when Lazarus became sick, they called on Jesus to show up. When something negative is introduced in your life, God will sometimes allow it—and use it—to help you and the people watching you to understand Him better.
In tough times, God works in you so that He can work through you.
Jesus used the whole situation—as terrible as it was—to grow people’s faith. The death of His closest friend was worth it because of what it did for people’s trust in God. In the emotion of the circumstances the question is this: Who is Jesus, really?
Whenever life gets hard—whether it’s with family, friends, health, school, our future, or just big life changes—our first response is to think we’re alone and Jesus doesn’t care. But what I love about this story is the window we get into Jesus’ emotion. It’s possible to go through the toughest pain possible and come through it trusting God more.
The truth is, you’re going to hit some turning points in life.
If you hang on tight to what you know about Him—if you choose to trust Him—your faith can become more real than ever. Not only does your faith become more real, but the faith of people around you may be on the line.
For all of history, God has been using turning points to drive people toward Him. He’ll do the same with yours.