The rabbit… (which is not part of the sermon, but I liked the picture)
(Picture of a carrot) (which are eaten by rabbits)
(Picture of Easter Eggs)
And the new Easter symbel…the coffee bean… (hand one to everyone)
When a person is in pain, when your heart is bruised, the question is so natural, will I ever get over the pain, will the relationship ever heal, will my heart ever live again… when a piece of you dies, discouragement, chronic illness, living with the results of a decision that haunts you, a crumbled marriage, a soured relationship, a bruised heart, to doubt, to wonder is so natural. Will I live again?
The symbols of Easter. We all face troubles, find ourselves in boiling water, the heat is turned up, tension increases, and something has to change. If you are like a carrot, trouble comes, the water boils, what happens to the carrot? [softens] Some people are like that carrot…Boil an egg, what happens? Hard. One way to cope with a bruised heart is to harden yourself so that nothing bothers you. Stoicism. The tough guy. Act like you don’t care. Your girlfriend leaves you – I didn’t like her anyway.
And when coffee beans are boiled? The water is changed! When you face troubles of any and every kind, you want, in faith, to change completely. Jesus Christ rose from the dead – New Life. Everything is made new! When we are raised with Christ, we are not raised to a continuation of our old life, even though that’s what we think we want, everything is made new. A child goes away to college, faces the decisions of life, the questions, the problems, and comes back a changed person. A young person goes on a mission trip, sees a different world, gains valuable experience, and becomes a changed person. Suddenly the things of this world, the possessions, don’t mean as much…
A side note for young Christians. For those who feel young in your faith, a few things about Job: Job is an outsider. He is not Jewish. Job also did not know the story of Jesus, the cross, the resurrection. Yet in the middle of his troubles, an incredible statement of faith: “I know my redeemer lives.”
The lesson of Job is that you do not have to be an insider to have faith, don’t need complete understanding of the cross, you don’t have to read the Bible from cover to cover to be a believer, you don’t have to know the difference between Peter and Paul, you don’t have to attend the church for five years before you are acceptable to God… in order to believe in Jesus Christ all that is required is the most rudimentary understanding. Job knew almost nothing about God, he only knew that God would do something to change his life. Few people come to Christ knowing much at all about the details of the faith –
Bible reading is immeasurably important to grow in your faith, but not to begin… daily praying and spending time with God is a wonderful discipline to keep you focused on God, but you don’t need to log in a thousand hours before you are eligible. Finding a good Christian church will allow you to use your spiritual gifts and serve others alongside other like minded people of faith, but church is not the requirement. The Church is here to help you grow in your faith, but it’s not the beginning.
One of the great statements of faith is found on the lips of Job: a man that was an outsider to the Jewish people and knew precious few details about how God would send a Savior: “I Know My Redeemer Lives, and in the end, he will stand upon the earth.”
To me, Job’s confession is even a simpler statement than the great confession of faith found 3-4 times in the New Testament, after the cross and Resurrection: “Jesus is Lord” If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in your heart God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Rom. 10:9).
The vast majority of people who give their life to Christ become Christians when they face problems. Job’s faith is transformed in the middle of a crisis. A crisis comes, the heart is ready for a change, they hear the good news of Jesus Christ, and they make a commitment to follow him. Until a person is ready to change, until they lose some control of the life they so carefully constructed, until life starts to crumble, until they hit the bottom, Christ seems unimportant.
To believe in God when you do not fully understand sounds crazy, but it is a supernatural transformation of the heart – my heart yearns for you, cries Job. Understanding will come, but God almost always changes the heart first: Change my life, God, I know you will do it. I have heard of the cross, I don’t quite understand it, but I believe there is something amazing to it. Faith, in the middle of crisis, is supernatural. When you cry out to God, you are not asking God to give you back your old life – you are asking for a changed life, like a coffee bean that is boiled… The greatest joy is birthed out of the sorrows of life/crisis… the depth, the richness, the Lord among us…Job finds peace in the pain of life: “I know my redeemer Lives”
Tim Hansel – “You’ve Got to Keep Dancin” Hiking up a glacier, weather condition changed, half way across an ice bridge his crampons balled up with ice, He falls on his back and floats off the edge of a Snow Bridge and lands on his back. He is 2 ½ inches shorter.
For the next several years he went from doctor to doctor trying to find relief from the constant pain. Finally, a friend asked him to go see his own doctor. The doctor had hundreds of Tim’s x-rays sent over, the doctor studied the x-rays and met with Tim. Tim says, “After studying them carefully, [the doctor] turned to me. With a gentle smile and a slight twinkle in his eye, he said, ‘You’re kind of screwed up, aren’t you? ….all I can tell you is that everybody has to live with something. What you are going to have to live with is pain – but it’s not the end of the world. You’re still blessed with many things, such as movement.”
Tim said, “What do you suggest I do?”
The doctor: “I suggest that you bite the bullet and live to be a hundred!” – It was the most powerful sign of hope I’d had from a doctor in a long time.
“For years, people have asked me, Haven’t you prayed to the Lord for healing? My obvious answer: “Of course.” “Why do you think he hasn’t healed you?” He has. “But I thought you were still in pain.” I am. “I don’t understand.” I have prayed hundreds, if not thousands, of times for the Lord to heal me – and he finally healed me of the need to be healed. I had discovered a peace inside the pain…”
This is my prayer for you on this Amazing Easter Sunday. Peace inside the pain. If you boil a carrot, it gets soft... If you boil an egg, it gets hard... If you boil coffee beans, the water itself transforms, the boiling, the problems, the bruised heart changes everything. There is a transformation. The pain may still be there, but somehow you see differently. Discover the peace of Christ inside the pain.
Job found a measure of peace inside the pain. In faith, he looked up to God, knowing very little about how God would bring salvation to the world, an outsider to the chosen people of God, an incredible confession of faith: I Know My Redeemer Lives.”
I …it’s about me, it’s about you, what I have seen, what I have experience. The Lord Jesus Christ cares about each of us personally, our story, how we see, what we experience, our thoughts, our heart, the pain we experience.
Know…confidence, a conviction, to believe in your heart is the best of two worlds… the world will say “prove” to me that Jesus is the Son of God, prove Jesus lived a full life a man, fully God and fully man, and to be able to say with confidence, “I Know…”
My…perhaps the most amazing word in this wonderful statement of faith. Belongs to me. Personal. When someone joins a church fellowship, one of the wonderful signs of the person fully embracing the church is when the language changes from this church/your church, to MY Church. The ownership, for good bad or indifferent. How much more significant when a person goes from talking about God/Jesus, to seeing the Lord Jesus Christ as mine, the personal identification, “I am my beloved and he is mine.” (Song of Solomon
Redeemer…what a great word chosen by Job to describe God. Redeemer. Job has confidence God will exchange his life of pain for a life of peace. God is the redeemer, the one who will change, only God can bring about a complete transformation, giving Job back his life, more than his life, to change his life into something even more amazing, to bless him once again with an even more incredible blessing….in later centuries, we who are on this side of the cross know that Jesus Christ redeemed us by paying for our sins on the cross. Jesus literally took our place. Job did not know about the cross, he did not know how God would do it, yet he knew in a confident faith that that God would redeem him from his pain and renew him and set him free. REDEEMER.
Lives! He is alive. Job could not comprehend his pain. He did not understand why tragedy was thrust upon him, but more incomprehensible still…Job refused to believe he was abandoned by God. The world may say God is gone, the world may say a loving God would never allow war, and heartache and pain, but Job expresses the confidence that God is ALIVE.
Job is not known as a prophet, but in this statement of faith, and in this wonderful transforming truth, Job unknowingly anticipates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is Alive. Jesus was raised from the dead and he Lives.
May today be the beginning of a renewed faith. May you find the peace of Christ within the pain. To believe in God, to believe he is alive, is an incredible act of faith. I KNOW MY REDEEMER LIVES.