Greater Than

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Progress is birthed out of great pains. Persevering through struggle always gives way to new things.

 The natural birth of a child is born through struggle.

  • Struggle is not the antithesis of life but a precursor to it.
  • Hard work and enduring adversity yield rewards worth having.

Yet if given a choice, most people would choose to avoid adversity, confrontation, and difficulty at all costs, yet all of us desire the fruits that come from it.

  • A fulfilling marriage requires intentional work and effort.
  • Confrontation managed correctly will make a relationship rock-solid.
  • Through difficult circumstances, we become stronger and wiser than we were before the difficulty.

Successful people are not simply the strongest, smartest or most talented, but those who push through challenging times to achieve an alternate outcome than if they would have quit.

Having just celebrated Easter in North America, Easter is an idyllic picture of overcoming tremendous pain for a greater cause. As an adult male living in a Roman-controlled territory, Jesus knew full well the process and pain of crucifixion.

That’s why when praying in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus asked if there was any way for this cup to pass from Him. But He pressed on and fought through the pain for you and for me.

In John 11, Jesus performs His most prolific miracle ever, raising Lazarus from the dead. The magnitude of this miracle may overshadow the message Jesus is teaching.

 The message Jesus is sharing is paramount to the miracle.

Don’t get me wrong the miracle is significant! If you were to ask Mary, Martha, or Lazarus they would all be pretty pumped up about Lazarus not being dead any longer.

This miracle shows that no person, no situation, is beyond the hand of God. When all hope is lost, turn to Jesus.

Yet, death will befall us all and what happens after death matters most, and this is the point Jesus is making. Lazarus’ death serves as the backdrop for one of Jesus’ most profound statements.

In John 11, there are three obscure statements that may go overlooked but help set the stage for what is happening.

Four days dead: this statement explains that Lazarus was dead. Not kind of dead. Not partially dead, but dead-dead. Lazarus was beyond natural remedies.

Two miles from Jerusalem: Although Jesus’ popularity is skyrocketing, so is the intensity of his enemies. Bethany is very close to the epicenter of His opposition.

Many people present: This tells us how Lazarus was either a prominent person in society or at the least he was loved by many. Either way, this meant there would be many witnesses to this miracle ensuring it going viral.

In verse 25 Jesus declares, “I am the resurrection and the life.” This statement carries significant and hopeful promises to all-humankind.

Death is the great equalizer. It’s impartial and does not care if you’re young or old; rich or poor; educated or unlearned; blue collar or white collar; male or female.

People go to great lengths to delay, avoid or to try to prevent death. But death is a matter of “when” not “if.” Death was never a part of God’s plan.

But Romans 5:12 explains how all that changed, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—”

Through Adam’s sin, every person thereafter is born with a sin-nature. Sin ushered in death.

“For the wages of sin is death,” Romans 6:23

  • Death, both spiritually and physically.
  • Death is earned. It is the wage of practicing sin.
  • But there’s a better way!

The book of Isaiah 53 explains how the full punishment of sin was put upon Jesus. Every sin, of every person, of all time, was upon Him on the cross as punishment.

His resurrection testifies to His divine nature as He cuts a path for us to follow.

As the resurrection, Jesus is the substitutionary payment for our sin. His death will do what we could never do, strip death of its power and its sting!

Death may rob us of time on earth, but it does not have the final word because Jesus is the resurrection and the life.

Lazarus’ miracle served as a natural illustration of what happens in the spiritual, instantaneously, for a man or woman who places their faith in Jesus to pay their sin-debt.

Death for a Christian is just the transition from this life to eternal life.

But you need to catch this, although salvation is freely available it is not automatic, you must personally receive it.

When Jesus called Lazarus to come out, Lazarus responded to Jesus’ voice. His body was not in decay, rigor mortis was not present, nor the stench of death upon him. Jesus exercised total authority over his dead body restoring it fully as if death never happened.

Death has no victory over you!

As the resurrection and the life, only Jesus can provide eternal life through the forgiveness of sin, because He paid for it with His life. No one else has taken your sin, guilt, and shame upon themselves and paid the price for your freedom but Jesus!

The invitation is yours!

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