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These 5 unmistakable reasons to pursue Jesus this Easter will give you hope when you feel forgotten and forsaken.
As you are preparing for Easter this year, are you reading the passages that lead up to Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection? On Easter Sunday, I want to have prepared my heart because I spent my Quiet Times meditating on the wonderful redemption story.
That’s why I started by reading the story of the Triumphal Entry in each of the four gospels. Today, I read John 12:12-19 and looked for what John saw differently from his unique perspective.
What I learned from John was why Palm Sunday happened.
How many times have you read about the Sunday parade of palms? I bet it’s enough times that you check out and missed seeing anything new in the account.
I’m like that and I had to intentionally slow down and soak in every word.
Then I saw what was so different.
Many of the people who lined the road as Jesus passed on the donkey, had been in Bethany the week before when Jesus bought Lazarus back to life. They were pursuing Jesus because not only had he healed Lazrus but had raised him from death.
The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. John 12:17-18
Did you catch that Lazarus had been dead four days (John 11:17)?
Lazarus’ body was decaying because Jesus didn’t come until after he died. He stunk!
Yet Jesus was able to resurrect his rotting body!
1. When Life Turns Upsidedown!
Let’s take a peek into Mary and Martha’s lives.
They were close friends with Jesus and their lives were turned upside down when their brother, Lazarus became sick and died.
A few years ago, we had a situation with one of our children that turned our lives upsidedown. Unimaginable things can happen with your kids. It’s not always death as in the story of Lazarus.
It can be a
- A Serious health issue!
- A child with behavior issues!
- A prodigal child who is making poor choices!
- A Divorce you never wanted!
- Death of your spouse!
- Financial loss!
- Or ___________!
You might be facing a devastating situation and calling out to Jesus for solutions just like Mary and Martha.
So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it. John 11:3-5
2. Pursue Jesus When He Doesn’t Show Up!
Life gets chaotic and doesn’t always end up the way we’d like. That is what happened to Mary and Martha when they sent a message to Jesus asking him to come. They had seen Him heal people over and over again.
Now they desperately needed Jesus and he doesn’t show up!
They were overcome with grief and disappointment that Jesus had not come sooner to heal Lazarus. He healed many other people, why couldn’t he heal their brother?
Jesus didn’t even make it back to Bethany for Lazarus’ funeral!
I don’t know what kind of disappointment or grief you have experienced in your life. Have you been feeling like Jesus has let you down?
Has Jesus NOT shown up?
Do you see God working miraculously in other people’s lives but not in your own?
There are two women at our church who were healed from cancer. Then there are others who have lost their battle to cancer.
Another mom who has ten kids, the youngest being a toddler, went to be with Jesus after a short battle with illness.
Did Jesus NOT show up?
And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
Jesus is there even when you think he is not. He cares for you more than any other friend.
God sees the big picture and has plans and a solution for the sole purpose of glorifying Jesus Christ.
It wasn’t God’s will for Lazarus to be healed. It grieved Jesus that his friends thought he didn’t come because He didn’t care.
The big picture was for Lazarus to die and decompose a little so God could be glorified in putting his body back together.
If God can put Lazarus’ decomposed body back together and raise him from death, don’t you think He can put your shattered life back together?
What if God has delayed ‘showing up’ so that He can be glorified in your life?
3. Pursue Jesus When You Feel Forgotten!
Feelings cannot be depended on and even though you and I know that, we continually make much out of them.
As a child, were you ever lost? Maybe you were forgotten?
A little child who strays from his mom might start sobbing out of the fear that he was forgotten.
Maybe that is the way Mary and Martha felt that day.
Three Verses for Strength When You Feel Forgotten:
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-7
“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Isaiah 49:15
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27
4. Pursue Jesus When You Feel Forsaken!
Mary, Martha, and Lazarus were close. There were many times that they enjoyed having Jesus over to their house for a meal.
We aren’t told what Lazarus died from (John 11:1) but it probably was a terrible thing for the sisters to watch.
Illness in the first century was without our modern Western medical aids and no doubt it was horrible. All we know is that he was extremely sick and died.
It left the sisters in profound grief and then Jesus didn’t respond to their cry for help. They experienced grief on top of grief!
They must have felt forsaken.
Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” John 11:2-23
Jesus is there even when you feel forsaken. Pursue God even when you feel alone.
He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Isaiah 53:3
Do not forsake me, O Lord! O my God, be not far from me! Psalm 38:21
Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent. Psalm 71:9
Even when your circumstances make you feel like God has forsaken you, pursue Jesus!
5. Pursue Jesus When He Shows Up!
You might be wondering what the story of Lazarus has to do with Easter and the Triumphal Entry of Jesus on the way to Jerusalem.
People were gathered around the tomb the day Jesus miraculously healed Lazarus (John 1:38-44). It was a miracle like none they had seen before.
Not only was Lazarus dead. His body was decomposing. It stank!
Jesus was able to put together the decomposing body and give it life!
The people couldn’t stop talking about it!
As the story goes, they followed Jesus as came riding the donkey into Jerusalem. Many of the crowd who stood along the road had been at the tomb the day Jesus brought Lazarus out of the tomb.
The tension in the crowd rose in excitement as they grabbed tree branches and their coats and threw them on the road in front of Jesus.
This was a sign of royalty as they recognized Jesus as their coming king.
They wanted a political king that first Easter season.
That first Palm Sunday, the crowds of people were celebrating Jesus for resurrecting Lazarus. They wanted a king who would save them.
But they totally missed the point!
Because Jesus came to die
They wanted a political king. They were celebrating the fact that Jesus had miraculously raised Lazarus back to life.
They weren’t looking for a King that would live in their heart.
They weren’t looking for a King who would sit on the throne and control our inner and outer life.
They were not looking to become holy and righteous.
Are you looking for the real Jesus?
Are looking for Jesus who will transform your mom-life into one that is empowered by the Holy Spirit?
Look, the World Has Gone After Him! (John 12:19)
Don’t be like the crowds of people who praised and worshiped Jesus in one moment and cried, Crucify in the next! (John 19)
Pursue Jesus no matter what is happening in your life!