Scripture Reading: John 11:1-43
You can try to reduce God to the logical constraints of your left brain and you can try to create God in your own image (the technical term is anthropomorphism), but when you do, you end up with a god, lowercase g, that looks an awful lot like you, talks like you, thinks like you, acts like you, a mirror image, if you will. What a pathetic result, to reduce God down to … well … you! In the words of A.W. Tozer, “What you end up with is a god who can never surprise you, never astonish you, never overwhelm you and never transcend you.” And I might add a god who can never do miracles, that's not the God I believe in and that’s not the God of the Bible.
When you subtract the miracles, what you are left with is a wise yet weak Jesus, kind, compassionate, but the raw power is missing. When you cut out the miracles, you cut Jesus off at the knees. And I think that’s the Jesus many people follow. Or maybe I should say that’s the Jesus many people invite to follow them. That’s not genuine Jesus. That is not the Jesus of the gospels.
God wants us to get in on the action and that is when it gets exciting. So, don’t seek miracles. Seek Jesus. And if you follow Jesus long enough and far enough, you will find yourself in the middle of miracles.
In John 11, it is the seventh miracle. It is the Grim Reaper verses the Grave Robber and Jesus steals back what the enemy has stolen. He is not just the God who makes bad people good, He is the God who brings dead people to life.
“Never put a comma where God puts a period, and never put a period where God puts a comma.” -Gracie Allen Lazarus was dead for four days. That’s where we put a period, not Jesus though. He said this sickness will not end in death. Lazarus died but it’s not over until God says it is over. I think all of us hit spots in our lives where we think it is over.
I’m going to tell you what I’ve learned in my life. Before God adds, He usually subtracts. Before God multiplies, He usually prunes. Before God brings something to life, something usually dies.
And we have a tendency to hit the panic button when God subtracts or when there is a pruning in your life or when something is dying. But I want to tell you that it may be that God is getting ready to do something in your life that you haven’t seen before.
I want to tell you right now that God intended you to live two lives. There comes a moment when we put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We were dead in our sin but He brings us to life, and not just brings us to life, He said, ‘I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly.’ That’s a beautiful, two-dimensional word. In the Greek language, it means a life that will not end. Forget 70 or 80 years, how about eternity? And abundance means a life with more joy and more purpose and more peace and more power than you could ever imagine. That’s what He came to give to you, a second life!
Sometimes things go from bad to worse because God wants to reveal more of his grace, more of his love, more of his power, more than we have ever known. He wants to do a miracle that is greater than anything you have experienced before. But again, all of us want a miracle; we just don’t want to be in a situation that necessitates one. But sometimes you have to be in the grave for four days to really experience an unprecedented miracle like this.
When it seems like God is four days late, it is too soon to give up.
This miracle doesn’t just foreshadow the resurrection of Christ, it foreshadows yours! You know what, when we sin, our soul is wrapped in grave clothes. Sin buries us alive. Sin makes a mummy out of us and if you keep sinning, it will weigh you down like 100 pounds of grave clothes. But Jesus is calling you out. One little yes can change your life. One little yes can change your eternity. He is calling you out this morning… and if He is calling you out, it’s time to shed those grave clothes and start that second life!