A Note from Jeremy Thom

I was recently reading the story of Jesus and Lazarus. It's an incredible story about Jesus calling Lazarus out of the tomb in which he had been laying for four days.You can read all about it in John 11.

But what I found myself pondering since reading this story is actually the disciples. You know Jesus' disciples, they are the bunch that we often like to make fun of because of their ignorance or lack of understanding about what Jesus is trying to teach them...but then we find ourselves identifying with them more than we'd like to admit.

At the beginning of John 11, word gets back to Jesus that his friend Lazarus is sick, and it's not looking good. Jesus' response is simply, "don't worry, this will not end in death. This is happening for God's glory." After a few days, Jesus decides it's time to go to Judea and see Lazarus....there's one problem, "But Rabbi," the disciples said, "we just came from there and they tried to stone you, to kill you, and now you want to go back?!?!" For the disciples, going back to Judea brought about fear because of what had happened before (John 10), an attempted murder on the one they were following, which also meant their lives were at risk. This fear clouded their minds in a way that caused them to forget that Jesus just told them that something great was going to happen. Honestly, the disciples probably should have said, "who cares about Judea. I'm in, I've got to see this!"

Scripture speaks about fear quite a bit, and as Christians we often encourage each other with a variety of verses that say, "do not be afraid." We need this encouragement and reminder because the truth is that we are often afraid, we're human. Sometimes fear can be good. It causes us to slow down or take caution before walking down the wrong dark alley. But sometimes fear causes us to miss some pretty amazing things. Sometimes we find ourselves saying, "Woe God, slow down, I've seen where this path leads, I've been down this road before and it hurts. This is a terrible idea." Then, God responds,

"For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear, I WILL help you." (Isaiah 41:13)

God is WITH you. God WILL help you.

Guess what? The disciples still followed Jesus. Even though they were afraid and understood the possibility of death (John 11:16), they followed. And they were able to see Lazarus raised from physical death!!!

I don't want to miss the God-glorifying, greater than I could have ever imagined, amazing, awesome, life-giving miracle because I chose to hang back in fear. And I don't think you do either. So right now, let's pause and bring our fears to God, squeeze his hand (yes, actually squeeze), take a deep breath, and allow him to take your fear and lead you through a story that ends with a life-giving miracle.

For on our own, we will give in to fear. But with God, we will receive his hope and peace....and we will see miracles!

Jeremy Thom

Campus Pastor | Hope City Church