Summary: Because Christ came back from the dead He can turn your setback into a comeback.
Rev. Brian Bill
March 26-27, 2016
→ Transition from “Unchained”
Are you in need of a comeback? I love those words…
I was a captive till you set me free
I was an outcast and you accepted me
I was a dead man but you are the risen one
I’ve found mercy and a second chance
I’ve been unchained…like a prisoner that’s been set free!
Have you ever met someone who always seems to have a good comeback line when you say something sarcastic? On a list of the “10 Best Comebacks,” Winston Churchill’s one-liners appear three different times.
One time the American socialite Nancy Astor was invited to a dinner party held by Churchill and became annoyed with him so she blurted out: “Winston, if you were my husband, I’d put poison in your coffee.” Unaffected by her sudden outburst, Churchill quickly replied with an unforgettable comeback: “Nancy, if you were my wife I’d drink it!”
We’re not going to talk about that kind of comeback today. Instead we want to focus on the kind of comeback that often follows a setback.
Everybody loves a good comeback story because they give us hope!
That’s why the Rocky movies are so fun to watch – well, maybe a couple of them but certainly not all 7!
Bethany Hamilton was just 13 years old when her left arm got bitten off by a shark while surfing. After a month of medical operations, she returned and learned how to surf with one arm. She’s made a pretty cool comeback!
I personally enjoyed the comeback that the Wisconsin Badgers made against Xavier a week ago when Bronson Koenig hit a three-pointer as time expired.
Or, how about that amazing half-court buzzer beater by Carson Frakes that sent Rockridge to the state finals! That comeback shot made ESPN and USA Today!
I read an article recently from the Huffington Post that began like this: “Comebacks are possible; in fact, they happen all the time. Yet, if you have had a setback, a comeback may seem impossible to you…The challenge is how you can overcome your setback. How do you take a setback and make a comeback?”
That question frames our topic today. How do you take a setback and make a comeback?
While these stories and lists of one-liners are amazing, I wasn’t able to find two of the most incredible comebacks ever. For some reason they’re left off all the lists – Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead and the comeback of Jesus Christ Himself from the grave.
Here’s the main idea today: Because Christ came back from the dead He can turn your setback into a comeback.
We’re going to focus our attention on John 11, where we learn about a man named Lazarus who was very sick. His two sisters, Mary and Martha, are very worried and so they send word to Jesus, hoping that He would come and heal their brother. The response of Jesus is jarring in verses 4-6: “But when Jesus heard it he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’ Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.”
Instead of hurrying to help, Jesus purposely waited two more days. In the meantime, Lazarus dies and then Jesus arrives.
Decisions are very deliberate in this chapter as we see faith flourish in the midst of a mess. I’m reminded that this is the real world where lives are suddenly interrupted by the great enemy of death. There are five stages in Martha’s spiritual journey that we can apply to our lives so that Christ can turn our setbacks into a comeback.
1. State your setback (19). When Martha heard that her brother Lazarus had died, she was gripped with grief. Verse 19 tells us that many people came to comfort and console her and her sister “…in the loss of her brother.” The scene was one of weeping and wailing as hired mourners filled the air with loud shrieks and screams. Friend, if you’re upset today it’s important to let it out. Express what you’re feeling to God – He can handle it.
What setback has created blowback in your life?
• Have some of your relationships ruptured, leaving you lonely and abandoned?
• Are you struggling with some sort of sin that you can’t shake or an addiction that you can’t break?
• Are you overwhelmed at work…or wish you had work…or different kind of work?
• Are you stressed about school?
• Have you done something that has led to deep embarrasment and shame?