The Gospel of John 11th chapter verses 25 through 26, hear the word of the Lord. Jesus said to her, I and the resurrection and the life, the one who believes in me will live even though they die. And whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this? This is the word of the Lord. Thanks. You may be seasoned.
Well, good morning everyone. Morning. It is good to be gathered together. I do not consider myself to be a prophet. However, I am going to declare something today. And this is not a blind declaration, this is a informed declaration. But the sources have told me that this week is going to be a relatively pleasant week, which means there is a possibility that next week we will be able to meet over in our space instead of making the journey over here. And it's not because we are appreciative of this space that we have here at St. Mark while we are in need of air conditioning repairs, but it is good to just, it's like being at home, right? And hopefully we will be able to do that next week. So something for you to pray and consider while we are going throughout our week.
So we're in a series that we are calling Who is God? Now my assumption is that for each of us in this room, we have some sort of answer to that question. Somebody would ask us who is God? We would have an answer ready to go. For some of us, maybe this is a relatively new-ish journey or a new revelation about who God is or the work that God is doing in our lives. Maybe for others we've had that solidified for quite some time. And the reason why we are in this series and asking this question, who is God? Is that so? Because no matter where we are in our walk with God, no matter where we are in our journey in life, all of us would benefit
With having more trust towards God. We will never reach a point in our lives where our trust in God is enough, meaning that we couldn't have more. And so that's the reason why we're asking this question. Who is God? So if you have been around journey a lot, you have heard us talk about the pace of God or the speed of God. And one of the things that we talk about often is the way that God moves is slow, right? God is never in a hurry. God is never rushing. God is never anxious. God is never allowed. The scriptures talk about God being a still and quiet voice, a small voice. We human beings move at a much different pace. We seem to always move fast and to constantly be rushing around to be mostly in a hurry, oftentimes, mostly anxious and a lot of times mostly loud.
I was talking to somebody the other day about this and how just everywhere you go, the volume of everything is just so loud all the time. It's like we never have a moment of quiet if we don't intentionally create it. Constant noise, constant loud around us. And the reality is that if we do not actively choose to live slower and then participate in practices in the way of Jesus that helps slow us down, practices that disciple us in the way of Jesus, then our lives will mostly reflect the patterns of brokenness. And only occasionally when we are at our best reflect the way of Jesus. We don't intentionally slow down. We won't be able to reflect the ways of Jesus. That's why one of the things that we long for at Journey is to be a different type of people. The mentality that allows for us to be Christians and blend in with the patterns of brokenness around us that offer just a little bit of Jesus in the midst of everything else.
We understand that these patterns aren't really getting us anywhere. And I am at a place in my walk, and I think that many of us in this room are at places in our walks where we want to fully trust in the way of Jesus. We want to have more trust in the way of Jesus. No matter how much we currently have, that we are taking Jesus at his word and doing the things that Jesus has told us to do and leaning the patterns of Jesus over the patterns of the world, that we are looking for ways in our lives in which we will be formed into the image of Jesus rather than settling for the platitude that we are only human.
So if you were here last week, I lamented about Clementines and my love hate relationship with them and I love them. But because they're so plentiful and available all year round, the quality of them has diminished. And so it is hard to eat them when they're not fresh and in season. And then keeping in theme with citrus fruits, I want to talk about the cousin of the clementine, the orange, a regular orange. How many of us love a nice cold, refreshing glass of orange juice in the morning? Not directly after you brush your teeth, you want to wait a little bit, but once your toothpaste has settled out of your mouth, you've got some water to drink to drink a nice glass of orange juice. That's just the beginning of a good day. You know how you get orange juice? You squeeze an orange, right? Or several oranges, right? And get a full glass, you have to squeeze several. I actually looked it up. And an average eight ounce glass of orange juice has four to five oranges of juice squeezed to make that delicious glass of OJ for the morning. When you squeeze an orange,
What comes out of it is orange juice. Oftentimes in our lives we are squeezed. Sometimes a squeeze is a good thing, but as a squeeze from your partner or a squeeze from your children or a friendly handshake, a squeeze like that, those are good squeezes. Sometimes we are squeezed and just life in general is challenging and there's a pursuit in our lives and we're squeezed a little bit to take the next step in whatever our journey is or whatever it is that we're doing. But also we are squeezed by challenges and difficulties and pressures in our lives when the kids are getting on your nerves, when the traffic is picking up, when relationships are challenging you, when our bodies and minds are failing, our health is failing when the bills pile up and the available cash seems to shrink when work is a burden, when nothing seems to be going your way. We all have been in places where life is squeezing in on us. What comes out of us when the of life are squeezing in?
One of the things that we say at Journey every Sunday, if you participated in the opening liturgy, you've said it this morning already, we say perfection is a man. One of my convictions in the church is that this idea that perfection is a myth in our culture. And if you've studied human history in almost every culture, there has always been this striving for perfection, for everything to be exactly as it is supposed to be. But that idea is not true. Perfection is a myth. If there's ever a moment where we look at something or someone and we think, wow, they have it, everything in their life is perfect, right? That's not true. It's an illusion, right? It's a manicured illusion that we see because we know that perfection is a myth. And while we will never have perfect everything in our lives, in the other side of the token, imperfection is not an excuse.
If we trust that Jesus is who he claims to be and we devote ourselves to be present with Jesus, to be shaped by Jesus and to do the things that Jesus has told us to do, then the patterns of brokenness in our lives are slowly and surely displaced while they become replaced by the kingdom of heaven in our lives. We can become people. It is possible for us to become people who love our enemies, people who don't worry, people who serve God over money. It is possible to be people who forgive and are gentle and wise and quiet and patient and humble. And by the way, those are all things that Jesus said that we can become. He said it in the Sermon on the Mount. Now, this won't happen overnight and we will occasionally find ourselves being caught up in the moment of panic and in a moment of frustration and in the moment of frenzy. But because Jesus is who he claims to be, our lives can look different. They can look more like the life that Jesus instructed us to live when we are attentive to the work of the Holy Spirit and when we are being led by the grace and peace of Jesus, we can be the people that Jesus proclaimed we can be.
If you ever read anything from the philosopher and spiritual teacher Dallas Willard and consider yourself lucky as a very wise person or was a very wise person, he is no longer with us. But one of the things that he wrote is this The greatest issue facing the world today? Now, that in and of itself is a loaded statement, right? When you're about to proclaim this is the greatest issue of the world today. It's kind of like take your pick of what is the greatest issue. Here's what you wrote. The greatest issue facing the world today with all its heartbreaking needs is whether those who are identified as Christians will become disciples, students, apprentices, practitioners of Jesus Christ, steadily learning from him how to live the life of the kingdom of the heavens into every corner of human existence.
The greatest need for the world today is for Christians to become disciples of Jesus. Dallas Willard also said this, there is no problem in the human life that apprenticeship to Jesus cannot solve. There is no problem in the human life that apprenticeship to Jesus cannot solve. Now, some of us wise fellows out there might be saying, well, how does following Jesus help us to answer questions that have to do with physics? And the answer is, well not much because we don't learn physics from Jesus. We do learn how to be disciplined people. We do learn how to be people who show up and do their due diligence and live according to the ways that we are supposed to live so that we can experience new things and learn new things and discover new things. And what Dallas Willard is talking about here when he says, there is no problem in human life that apprenticeship to Jesus cannot solve.
It's not talking about matters of physics or mathematics or any of those types of subjects. He's talking about when life begins to squeeze in, when the pressures of life begin to present themselves to us, that there is no problem in life that apprenticeship to Jesus cannot solve. And so if we agree with Do's Willard and we trust that this is true, then we owe it to ourselves and to our neighbors to live as closely to the way of Jesus as we are, as is possible to live. And little by little moment by moment, the deep and slow work of Jesus will permeate our lives to every corner of our being. So Jeremy read earlier the I Am statement for today in the gospel of John. We're going to read it again. It's John 11 verse 25. And before we read it today, I want to invite us to take a moment of pause
So that we're able to reflect on these words. Let's just take a deep breath together. Jesus who spoke these words many years ago, but the power and the truth and the wisdom of them are as applicable for us today as they were when you first spoke them.
So Holy Spirit, we invite you to come in this moment and capture our attentions with the words Of Jesus That we might more closely follow you and be the people you call us to.We ask it in your name and for your sake. Amen.
So here's what Jesus said. I and the resurrection and the life, the one who believes in me will live even though they die. And whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this? Now if you're looking at the scriptures or if we were over in our building, we had the screens, do you believe this is not a question that I am asking you, do you believe this is the question that Jesus followed this statement up with when he was talking with Martha when he first said these words, I am the resurrection in the life. Do you believe this? As we look at these statements of Jesus, we are seeking to try and have more trust for God. And we've looked at Jesus proclaiming himself as the bread of life, as the light of the world, as the gate, as the good shepherd. And now he is announcing I am the resurrection and the life. And he followed that question of with do you believe this?
Now, when Jesus spoke these words as he had lived and ministered before this moment when this truth was proclaimed, there are a great number of people who had been compelled by Jesus's miraculous powers. People flocked to Jesus, crowds gathered around Jesus because he was able to do extraordinary things that no one else could do. There were a great number of people who believed that Jesus had some sort of special line with God and whatever he asked for, he would be granted because of this connection with God. Even some of the religious leaders of his day, as we read last week and the week before that the religious leaders were divided, some of them thought Jesus was possessed by an evil spirit and others said there is no possible way that Jesus could not be who he says that he is. Because a person could not do the things that Jesus is doing unless he is connected with God.
And so there were lots of people who saw these accounts of Jesus healing people and feeding multitudes of people with just a small boy's lunch and all of these things that we've read about, they were convinced of Jesus's miraculous powers, Martha, who we read about here in John 11, who Jesus is speaking to, she believed in Jesus's miraculous powers. First of all, she addressed him as Lord. That's how she addresses him. She says she sees Jesus and she addresses him as Lord. And if you'll remember back several weeks ago when we looked at the story of Moses, when we first see God proclaiming I am sent you, when Moses said, who shall I tell the Egyptians has sent me to proclaim freedom for the Israelites? And God says to him, you say that the I am sent you. That's where we are focusing in on this idea that God is who God is and who God is trustworthy.
So the name of I am in Hebrew is Yahweh. And that the literal translation of that means I am and the Greek. So the Bible was written in Hebrew and the Old Testament also part of the Bible. The Old Testament was written in Greek and the word that is often used for Lord and the Greek is the word Rios, which is how Martha addresses Jesus here. So she's not just saying Jesus is another human being who can do some neat things. She is proclaiming him as Lord, which is no small thing. So Martha followed up by calling Jesus Lord, by saying in John 11, 22 of you have your Bible open. She said, if you would've been here, my brother would not have died. See, when Jesus and comes to Martha, he has been requested to be there because her brother Lazarus was about to die. And when they requested Jesus's presence, Lazarus was still alive. And Jesus, because as we talked about, moved at his own pace. He did not get there as urgently as Martha desired him to get there. And so she's proclaiming Jesus as Lord, but she's also kind of saying, why did you not get here sooner? Because if you would have been here sooner, you would've been able to save Lazarus from dying.
She's recognizing that Jesus had this established line to God's father that whatever he asked for, he would be granted. So she recognizes Jesus's miraculous abilities. Jesus's response to her in John 1123, he says, your brother will rise again. Martha responds, I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
Now I want to press pause on this part of the story for just a second because this is a theme that is played out in John over and over and over again. This theme of, I know someday this Messiah will show up and everything will be made right. One of the more notable ones is in John four with the woman at the well when she meets Jesus. She is a Samaritan. Jesus is not a Samaritan. The Samaritans were sort of a sect of the Jewish people that believed themselves to be the true Jewish people, that they believed themselves to be the unadulterated version of the Jewish people that whenever all of the other 12 tribes were taken away, were exiled into other places, the Samaritans remained and they did not adopt the cultures of their occupiers. And so Samaritans and the rest of the Jewish people did not get along at all. The other Jewish people looked at the Samaritans as sort of second class citizens and the Samaritans stopped that. They had it all together and then no one else did. And so there was this divide between them. So many times they would not even associate with one another and an esteemed Jewish teacher as Jesus was, would not interact with a Samaritan woman. It was just culturally inappropriate.
So Jesus has this conversation with the woman at the well, and as he is talking with her, she is going back to him and saying that this idea that one day everything will be made right by the Messiah. And in verse 25 of John four, she says, I know the Messiah called Christ is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us. Both the woman at the well and Martha as we read, they are speaking with Jesus. But in that moment, their eyes are so focused on the future. They're so locked in on the future that one day all of this will be settled in some future moment. What was promised shall come to pass. And they're speaking this to Jesus and Jesus responds to them in a similar manner to the woman at the well. He announces and John 4 26 I the one who you are speaking about, and he
To Martha in John 11, he says, I am the resurrection and the life, the one who believes in me will live even though they die. And whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Jesus is interrupting these stories of being focused on the future moment when everything will be made right with the greatest spoiler alert of all time. I am He. The person who you are talking about is right here in front of you. It's not off in the distance. It's not someday when it is right here and right now, Jesus is proclaiming that what you are looking to be accomplished in the future is happening right here in front of you. You are witnesses to this extraordinary moment that your ancestors were promised generations ago and have spent their days longing for generation after generation after generation, waited for the Messiah that would come and make everything right. And generation after generation after generation passed until Mary and Martha were here at their brothers too, and the woman at the well was there to meet Jesus. The question that he asks of us is, do you believe this? Today, many of us, as followers of Jesus, we trust Jesus to settle the matters of eternity.
A better question though is do we trust Him enough to live according to His way today when it comes to us being discipled into the way of Jesus, do we trust Jesus's way enough to live in it over the patterns that we have developed over time being influenced by the ways of the world? Everyone everywhere trusts in something
You might trust in Jesus. You might trust in something that's the antithesis of Jesus. But everyone everywhere trusts in something and we put our trust in that thing with the hopes or the understanding that someday this thing that we are trusting in is going to deliver for us in the way that it promised. And Jesus shows up and he says that time is now. His invitation for us is to believe and to trust that he is indeed who he claims to be and that he has a way for us to live in His grace. Today, Jesus says, I'm the resurrection and the life. If this is true, if Jesus is the resurrection and the life, and if we are willing to trust this with our lives, then moment by moment little by little, when those times of life come in that we are squeezed, the response will not be the patterns of brokenness in our lives. It will be the grace and peace of Jesus. But Jesus asks us, do you believe believe it is possible to live in such a way that instead of responding to frustration with frustration, we would be able to pause,
Trust the way of Jesus and respond with peace. Do you believe that it is possible for you to live in such a that instead of responding to fear with more fear, that you would be able to pause, trust the way of Jesus and respond with Jesus's perfect love, casting out fear?
Do you believe that it is possible to live in such a way that instead of responding in this consumer driven culture in which we live with, what more can I consume that you would be able to pause, trust the way of Jesus and respond with being content? Do you believe that it is possible to live in such a way that instead of anxiousness and frenzy and worry and self-indulgence, that we are able to pause
To trust the way of Jesus and to respond by being formed into Jesus's image, not perfection, but a full and complete trust in the way of Jesus that forms and shapes us over a time at our core? Jesus had the greatest spoiler alert earlier. My spoiler alert is I believe this to be true. Not that we would perfectly respond in these ways all the time, but because we know how prone we are to succumb to these ways that we discipline ourselves and we trust in the spirit's work within us, that little by little day by day moment by moment, we would trust more in the way of Jesus, and that as the pressures of life squeeze in on us, what would come out is not the patterns of the world, but the presence of Jesus. I said earlier, perfection is a man. Imperfection is not an excuse. I believe that to be true, but also we have to be realistic. We cannot set a standard for ourselves that is too high for us to live up to. And I'm saying this because this is true for my own life. And if you don't trust me, you can ask Kelly because just yesterday we were having a conversation about there was a frustrating thing in my life and my gut response to that frustration was more frustration.
And we need people in our lives to help us understand when we have gone off down this wrong trail, and we need people in our lives who will not just help us understand, but will offer also offer us grace in that moment so that we can be reminded to offer ourselves grace and to live in trust of the grace of Jesus. But even those moments where the patterns of brokenness get the best of us, which will indeed happen and continue to happen,
We can know that the presence of Jesus is strong enough with us that even though I have failed in this moment, there undoubtedly will be another moment in the future where if my intent is the presence of Jesus living fully in my body, that I'll have another opportunity to be squeezed and omit the presence of Jesus. And we can believe this to be true because Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life, and we can trust that what Jesus said is true. Would you pray with me this morning?
Jesus, in these moments is very easy for us to try and look to ourselves to try and look around and compare ourselves to others. But Jesus, you don't see us in relationship to everyone else. You see us fully as an individual.
And Jesus says, we seek to be people who are formed and shake into your image in this world in which we live. It can be so difficult to have enough resolve to trust in the midst of difficulty, whether that be a personal failing, whether that be a circumstance that is out of our control, whether that be a pattern that is developed that seems to have a death grip on our lives, or if it's just a funk that we are in. What is most true in those moments is not that we are left to our own devices, but that you are with us. Would you remind us, Jesus, that you are here not for some future moment up in the distance, but right here, right now, in the midst of all that is swirling on, spiraling on around us, you are here and that we are invited to trust that and to see the planted seeds of your kingdom, but forth out of our lives to produce the fruit of your spirit. Jesus, help us to trust more in this each and every moment of each day. We ask today, Jesus, because you have told us to ask and we ask in full confidence that you hear us and we ask it in your name. Amen. Amen.
Jesus didn't just prove who he was by his words, he proved who he was with his wife. We talked about it last week that one of the reasons why I personally trust Jesus is because when he talked about the good shepherd, he talked about laying down his life for the sheep. And then he proceeded to do that very thing.
And it is because Jesus laid down his life that you and I are invited into this story of God redeeming not only us, but the world in which we live. And it is so easy for us to look around and to be overcome by whatever frustrating thing is in our vision. But the true is the thing that is more true than anything else is that Jesus is working. And if we can just find a little bit of grace and we can find a little bit more trust, and we can lean a little bit further into the way of Jesus, then we will begin to see how that very resurrected presence as influencing the world all around us, through every good deeded, through every honest and fair interaction, through every gentle and kind, embrace the goodness of God is all around us.