Back in the days when I was a student at Robert Hill Lane Elementary School in East Los Angeles writing with pencils was standard practice. Having a good pencil was a big deal. It wasn’t the appearance; it was the actual writing quality that I found most important. The “gold” standard for me was the Dixon-Ticonderoga #2 pencil; yellow hexagonal body with an eraser top that was attached to the wooden body with a green and gold-stripped metal coupling. When sharpened just right, it smoothly glided across the paper with a dark impression. This was writing nirvana in the 5th grade.
This past weekend we delved into the first “I AM” of the Profound study. Pastor Ed emphasizing again believing is of prime importance continued on to discuss the famous story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-46). Jesus, in response to Martha’s statements, uttered, “I am the resurrection and the life.” This event showcases Jesus and God’s relationship with us on so many levels. Ed mentioned one in detail - the human connection of Jesus with the grief and emotion of Martha and Mary. That day many believed.
What did “they” believe? One thing appeared certain; Jesus has the power to return life to the dead. Lazarus experienced resurrection power and hobbled out of the tomb. That day, Martha and Mary, along with many friends, acquaintances, and curious bystanders, were eye-witnesses to resurrection power. During my law school years, I recall listening to one of my pastors explaining the wonder of resurrection power. He spoke from the Bible text of Aaron’s rod sprouting leaves, blossoms and producing nuts. (Numbers 17:1-11) Aaron likely had carried this shaft of wood for decades before he went with Moses down to Egypt. Pastor Ken Gullicksen asked us to take a pencil (Of course, a Dixon-Ticonderoga #2 in my mind) in our hands. He stated this was the state of life of Aaron’s rod, meaning it was a dead piece of wood. I had no expectation whatsoever this piece of cedar I was holding would ever again be a living tree. Such was Aaron’s rod but it sprang forth with leaves, blossoms, and nuts confirming that God is the great I AM. As Dr. Frankenstein would shout, “it’s alive!” Ken said this is resurrection power. He challenged us that each time we held a pencil in our fingers to believe that God, the Great I AM, could take dead things, be it a dream, a task or a broken relationship and bring it back to life.
Pastor Ed asked us how we handle disappointments. It is clear how we do this is based on if we believe in the Great I AM, the resurrection and the life. Jesus mourns with us and then invites us to wait on Him, to believe, and then see what happens. Is this easy? No it’s not but as it was for Martha, the more intimately you know Jesus, the sooner this becomes reality. I wonder how many instances in your life, big or little, were times when deadness sprouted leaves and fruit and we simply missed seeing this “God-moment.” I wonder how many situations where we gave up as dead when resurrection power would have meant a new life. What is happening in your life right now? Is God calling you to believe and then act upon His resurrection power? Let us at GateWay, in our small groups, come alongside and encourage you as you grow in your belief. If you see me around on the church campus, ask me for a Dixon-Ticonderoga #2.