Walk down any of the aisles of your local grocery store and you will see what fear, panic, and anxiety look like. Just ask any person today what COVID-19 is and unless they are sleeping under a rock they will be able to tell you, “Coronavirus.” What has happened to our neighborhoods, communities, cities, nation, and world is nothing short of spiritual terrorism. Peace and calmness have been replaced with fear and anxiety. As Christians, we must take this opportunity, and yes I said opportunity, to be the hands and feet of Jesus. As we read the gospel stories about Jesus, never once did we see Him act out in fear or panic. He always sought to pray, listen, and then speak or act. Most of the time he was speaking and acting in conjunction with what He heard from the Father.
In John 11 we see the calmness of Jesus at work in a situation that was filled with anxiety and fear. Let me give you some context: Jesus’ was just alerted that His good friend Lazarus was sick. Instead of racing to Bethany where Lazarus lived, He stayed where He was for 2 more days. During that delay, Lazarus died and Jesus decided it was time to go to Bethany and raise His good friend from the dead. Flashback to a few days earlier and Jesus had just left Bethany because the leaders of the town tried to stone Him. Now Jesus has decided to go back. Here is where the story resonates with us.
Finally, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.” But his disciples objected. “Rabbi,” they said, “only a few days ago the people in Judea were trying to stone you. Are you going there again?” Jesus replied, “There are twelve hours of daylight every day. During the day people can walk safely. They can see because they have the light of this world. But at night there is danger of stumbling because they have no light.” John 11:7-10 NLT
The disciples had every right to question Jesus in this moment. Did He really need to go back to the same city that just tried to kill Him? Was that necessary in the grand scheme of things? There were so many other towns to preach in and Jesus could easily just say the word and Lazarus would be healed. But Jesus wasn’t going to run. It wasn’t in His character to run. Jesus faced troublesome situations head on and this one was no different. In the middle of the chaos and threat of death was Lazarus. Lazarus was the reason Jesus was going back to Judea and Lazarus is the reason we as the Church have an opportunity in this moment to make an impact on eternity. Lazarus is your neighbor who is anxiously watching the news and nervously stockpiling toilet paper. Lazarus is your children who are looking to you for strength and faith when the world seems to be running in a panic. Lazarus is a co-worker who is sick and is worried that it might lead to something worse or even deadly.
Today, this month, this year, we have an incredible opportunity to see the power of GOD manifest itself in the body of Christ. Our prayer is that we will step up to the challenges that lay ahead of us and look to Jesus as not only our peace and comfort, but our example of what to do in troublesome situations. Mark 16:15-18 outlines our mission:
And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.” NLT
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