“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’” John 11:25-26
This week of VBS (Vacation Bible School) has truly been amazing! Each night, I have experienced God surpassing my own expectations as He shows up and reveals His glory – through the smiles of each child, through their excitement and anticipation to learn more about Him, through their joy as they learn more of who He is. We could learn so much from these kids. Perhaps, that is why Jesus said unless you have faith like one of these children, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Because Jesus looks past our pretenses directly to our hearts, and there is something beautiful about the love a child is capable of having for Jesus. They hold nothing back in their worship. They have an eagerness within them to learn and to love this Jesus. May we in this way follow their example.
Tonight’s truth that I will share with these incredible kids is this: Jesus Saves You. Again, we know this…in our heads. However, until our head knowledge becomes heart knowledge, our behavior will never change. We meet Jesus today on the pages of Scripture in a little town called Bethany. Although Jesus had become increasingly popular with the masses, He had developed more personal relationships with a select few. Living in the town of Bethany were three siblings: Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. The Bible tells us that Jesus loved them. So, you can imagine the emotions Jesus felt when He heard that Lazarus had become very ill. Although Mary sent for Jesus to come quickly to heal her brother, Jesus chose to delay in coming to them, and Lazarus died. When Jesus finally arrived on the scene, Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. His sister, Martha, was overwhelmed with grief over the loss of her brother, and came running to Jesus, questioning Him why He hadn’t come sooner. Yet, Jesus assures her that Lazarus will rise again. Not even moments later, Mary comes running to Jesus and falls at His feet weeping, saying the very same thing to Him: “if you had only come sooner”. And it is here that we see the beautiful heart of God displayed. Jesus, seeing where they have laid Lazarus and witnessing those who loved him grieving his death, Jesus weeps with them. His love for His children is so evident here. He sees our tears, and understands our pain. What an incredible picture of His love!
Now, the unimaginable occurs. This man, Lazarus, already dead now for four days is about to experience new life in a way you and I have never known. Jesus approaches the tomb and orders that the stone be rolled away. You can only imagine what those watching all of this must have been thinking – “Um, Jesus, I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but he’s been dead for days, and if you roll away that stone, it’s going to smell real bad!” Jesus responds to their doubt with a plea for faith. If they would but believe, they would see the glory of God revealed. How many times do you think we miss God’s glory revealed in our own lives because of our doubt? So, the stone is rolled away, but before Jesus performs the miraculous, He lifts His eyes to the heavens and thanks the Father for hearing His prayer. Even Jesus prayed! And with a power that only God Himself can possess, Jesus calls out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” Not twice or three times…Jesus said it once, and immediately Lazarus, still bound in his grave clothes, hobbles out of the tomb alive and well. I don’t know about you, but I have goose bumps all over! Jesus spoke, and life was restored.
So, I ask you today, what difficulty that you are facing is too great for God’s power to overcome? If Jesus could raise the dead with a few spoken words, couldn’t He also restore your life? Couldn’t He give you new life in Him? The answer you are looking for, the hope you are striving for, the salvation that you are longing for – it is found in Jesus and in Him alone. Jesus is the One who saves.