Monday, November 29, 2010

You have to go, if you want to see it

Sometimes the things you have to do are the tough things, the things that force you out of the comfort of where you are. Sometimes the thing that you are being asked to do, makes you start to wonder if you are really being asked to do it at all. Sometimes that thing, is the same thing that leaves you thinking for sure, "this can't be the right thing, I must have heard this wrong". Ever been there? I'm there right now.

And then my sister called who is wiser than I am and said, "remember Lazarus, go back and recall what was happening with Jesus right before He raised Lazarus from the dead". And so I did. And now I wonder if you have ever noticed the same treasure. To fully appreciate the gift, you have to start back several chapters before Lazarus is raised from the dead in Chapter 11. Jesus is in Judea where He heals a blind man in Chapter 9. The religious leaders were getting fired up by all the controversy that Jesus was creating, and before the culmination of their hatred takes place on the cross, they sought to stone Him in the temple for His profession that "I and the Father are one" John 10:30. That is where they were with Jesus, ready to kill Him. And the last we hear in Chapter 10 is that Jesus "escaped their grasp" in verse 39, and left Judea crossing over the Jordan River.

Chapter 11 picks up with us learning that Mary and Martha have sent word to Jesus that "the one you love is sick" (speaking of their brother Lazarus). I love that description, "the one you love". It is such a clear reflection of Jesus' heart for us. The truth was, Jesus loved that whole family, and He was about to allow them to be a part of what I think is possibly the most significant event in His ministry, preceding the cross.

Naturally, the disciples were not excited about going back to Judea. They were there when the Pharisees surrounded Jesus with stones in their hands. But buried between Jesus telling His disciples He wanted to return to Judea to see Lazarus, and Jesus actually raising Lazarus from the dead, is the part I had not noticed until my sister pointed it out. Thomas says one simple statement, that actually says a lot about the state of all the disciples at that moment, and can possibly speak a lot to you and I today, if we would allow it. Thomas tells the rest of the disciples (that were afraid to return to Judea because they might be killed) "Let us also go, that we may die with Him" John 11:16. Did Thomas understand at all why Jesus was going back to Judea? No. Did the plan make any sense whatsoever to him? Nope. And yet he was faithful and obedient and trusted the One that said, "Let us go back to Judea".

How about you? Do you have a "Judea" that the Lord is calling you to? Does your Judea look anything like Thomas'? Are you asking God things like "Seriously? This cannot be what you want. This doesn't make any sense. This cannot be Your plan!". Don't you think the disciples were downtrodden as they made their way back to Judea, anticipating death. Obedient yes, but confused nonetheless. And don't you think the Lord had a smile on His face as He crossed back over that Jordan River knowing what His men were about to witness. And oh what they saw that day. They got to hear Jesus say "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whosoever lives and believes in me will never die". They got to see their God walk up to a cave and say "Take away the stone". And they got to witness the power of God when He said "Lazarus, come out!"...and they got to see the dead man obey.

Can you imagine how the disciples would have felt if they had missed that? What if they had not gone to Judea because they were afraid? Would Jesus not have performed the miracle? Of course He would have, but His men would have missed the blessing of witnessing it. I don't want to miss the blessing. I don't want to not go to Judea just because I am afraid. God has a stone that He wants to roll away in your presence my friend, but you have to follow Him to "Judea" in order to see it. Rolling away stones is His don't want to miss it.



Jill said...

This post took my breath away. Mostly because when I read the Bible, I find myself constantly trying to imagine what it would've been like to have witnessed all that happened in that time. Wouldn't it have been incredible?! Brings tears to my eyes.

On a lighter note, who is the girl in the picture? And is that one of your bedroom chairs? Did she break into your house and steal it and when you finally found her she was sitting on it in the road? I've thought about doing that, too. Cuz your chairs rock. But that's breaking and entering and theft and I'm not really into that. Tee-hee!!! ;-)

june said...

Good point,,,thanks for bringing God's word to us again,,it is God breathed,,,
Happy Thanksgiving!!! and Merry Christmas!!!

Between You and Me said...

love this post, Amy....

love your heart for God and your love for his word!

I don't want to not go to my Judea b/c I'm scared.

thanks for sharing what the lord is doing in your own heart with us in this place...

Simply Domestic said...

Wow! I just read this yesterday. I didn't even think about how His disciples were feeling when they were headed back to Judea. Thank you for sharing!

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