The other day I was sitting in my living room. There was nothing worth watching on TV. I didn’t much feel like listening to music, or watching a movie. I had just finished a book, and didn’t know which one to start reading.
All in all I was just plain bored and did know what to do with myself.
I just started to feel like playing a game I was taught when I was going to Sunday School; Bible Roulette.
This game was just something that I did when I was at church. It never really meant anything to me.
The way that the game is played is to take your bible, place it on its spine, and let it fall open to where ever it falls open. Then read the first verse that your eye falls on.
The first time that this game became something other than a game for me was when my brother and I was in the cadets, serving at CFB Borden. He and I were in different companies.
For me the day had started out like any other, until that afternoon. A sergeant from my brother’s company was sent to my commanding officer.
My brother had been missing for a few hours. His company had been at the rifle range and that was the last place that he had been seen.
My commander called me into his office and told me my brother was missing. After a few more hours I was quite distraught. I was taken into the chaplain’s office. The chaplain was a few minutes in coming, so I was left there alone.
There was a bible on his desk. So I picked it up and played some Bible Roulette. The verse that I read was:
Galatians 1:3 (NIV)
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
That verse had a calming effect on me, and shortly thereafter my brother turned up. He had been with the supply sergeant of his company and off the base. However no one had been told about it. He had been safe all along and God had told me not to worry through that verse.
This is just one of the ways that God speaks to us.
This week I was playing a little Bible Roulette with my son for inspiration for this sermon. We fell upon John 11. Specifically John 11:38-44. This is the part where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Though I would encourage all of you to read all of John 11 as it is all part of this story.
New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead
38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odour, for he has been there four days.”
40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
Let us think on that. This man Lazarus had been dead for four days. He has already started to rot and smell.
Even in this day and age of medical miracles we could only have buried him 6 feet down. But Jesus said a prayer and Lazarus was restored back to life. This truly shows the power of God.
Now as you know Jesus died and was raised from the dead himself. However there is one HUGE difference between Jesus’ and Lazarus’ raisings.
Jesus was resurrected. Lazarus was restored.
Lazarus being restored means that he will continue to live his life and when he grows old, or gets sick, or has an accident, will again die. Jesus was resurrected in his body. He will NEVER die again.
One of Jesus’ greatest works is raising people from the dead and John 14:12 speaks on how we will do greater works than Jesus.
We will do greater works than Jesus.
How is that possible? What is greater than raising someone from the dead?
New International Version (NIV)
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
What this calls for is faith. It was Jesus’ faith in God that allowed Him to do the works. It was the apostles’ faith in Jesus’ divinity that gave them the power to do the works that they did.
A friend of mine Father Graham Keep, a Roman Catholic priest, was chaplain in the Canadian Army holding the rank of Major. He was going on an exercise with one of the units he was affiliated with. It was the middle of winter and the roads were icy. They were in an extended van/bus and the driver was new to that vehicle driving to the airport.
They started down a hill at the bottom of which was a bridge spanning a railroad track. About half way down the hill they started to spin. Fr. Graham started to praise God. Everyone else in the vehicle was silent.
Just before reaching the bridge and going over and down onto the tracks they spun into the ditch and the engine cut out.
The driver tried and tried to start the bus but it would not work. So they all pilled out. There were many expletives used by the soldiers, as they lit their cigarettes. No one there had any major knowledge of engines, and it was going to be a few hours before a ‘rescue’ crew could get to them.
Fr. Graham walked up to the front of the bus, put his hand on the hood, and said, “In Jesus’ name; Start.” The driver turned the key and it started right up. All the expletives stopped, and the soldiers stood there open mouthed.
Smiling Fr. Graham said, “I’m doing baptisms before we get on the plane for anyone who wants one.”
Now getting an engine to start is by no means greater than raising someone from the dead, but it proves that faith is a powerful thing.
New International Version (NIV)
22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
Have faith, believe, and it will be done.
Let me end today in a prayer
I arise today
Through a mighty strength:
God's power to guide me,
God's might to uphold me,
God's eyes to watch over me;
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to give me speech,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to shelter me,
God's host to secure me.