Updated: Oct 7
As a teenage football fan in the 1970’s, I was, and still am, a fan of the Dallas Cowboys. My favorite player, and still one of my sports star heroes, was Roger Staubach. He was our quarterback, the best in the business during that period. We played the great Pittsburgh Steelers, with another great quarterback, Terry Bradshaw, and a generational defense, anchored by Mean Joe Greene. The Steelers were tough, and won four super bowls during the 70’s. My Cowboys were also incredibly good, winning two championships, while playing in five super bowls.
The Cowboys and the Steelers played in Super Bowl 13. I watched Super Bowl 13 with great anticipation and nervousness. I saw how the teams went back and forth in the first half. Two evenly matched teams. I sensed then, and understand more fully now, that when teams are evenly matched, you must be perfect. Whoever makes the most mistakes will lose the game. Games like these always come down to a single moment.
That moment came when the cowboys tight end dropped a wide-open touchdown pass in the end zone. This was to be a game tying score, to continue the struggle of titans. With this error the Steelers seized the momentum and went on to score two quick touchdowns, which gave them a 17-point lead. A lead which seemed insurmountable.
But I remembered at the time, that we had Roger Staubach, captain comeback. A quarterback known for bringing his team back for the win. So even though we were down, I said to myself, despite the deficit, even now, we can win this game. Staubach promptly led the cowboys to two quick touchdowns, a total of 14 points in a few minutes, but ran out of time. The game ended; the Steelers ended up winning 35-31. My heart was broken. I was sad, disappointed, and angry. But my pain, sadness and anger were soothed by the fact that we won the previous year's Super Bowl, 12, and would win three more during the 90’s.
Sometimes the circumstances of our lives can leave us feeling heartbroken, lonely, sad, depressed, grieving, and hopeless. It might be a troubled relationship, or a troublesome boss. It might be a difficult financial situation or a difficult child. It might be the loss of a job, of the loss of a loved one. Something may be causing you to hurt. Those are the Even Now moments in life. Those are the moments, where we can look up, and say Lord, Even Now, I know you can make a way. Lord, Even Now, I know you feel my pain, Even Now, you understand my loneliness, Even Now I know that you feel my grief. When you have an encounter with Jesus, broken hearts can heal, broken relationships can be repaired, broken finances can be fixed, a grieving heart can be soothed, a broken life can be restored.
Because our savior is in the Game, and His name is Jesus, But I call him Lord. Our redeemer is in the Game, they call Him Emanuel, that is God with us. The Prince of Peace is in the Game, for he is our rescue in a world of trouble. Our crucified savior is in the game, for His is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the World. The Great I Am is in the game, He is the kings of Kings and Lord of Lords.
This quarterback has never lost a game. He is not captain comeback; He is never behind. He does not have to rally for a win, He has already won. And because He has won, We Win. Even Now, We Win. We win!
The family of Lazarus is in mourning. Lazarus is dead. We have all experienced death in our lives. Our loved ones, our friends, neighbors, co-workers, or acquaintances. Death hits us all. We grieve, we comfort ourselves and then we try to pick up the pieces and move on. But we never fully move on. Every time we lose a loved one, we lose a little of ourselves. We long for their presence, but it is not there. We long to hear their voice again, but it is just a faint whisper in the recesses of our mind. We long to feel their touch, but their touch is not there. We move on, but with just a little less of ourselves.
But Even Now, even in death, He has not left us hopeless. For we have this hope that burns within our hearts, hope in the coming of the Lord. But we live not just in Hope, but we live with a promise. As He promised Joshua, I will never leave you or forsake you. As He promised the disciples, I go the prepare a place for you, and I will come again. As he promises in Matthew 28:20, I am with you always, even until the end of the age. Even Now, we have more than a Hope, we have a promise.
Lazarus, the brother or Mary and Martha, friends of Jesus, has died and everyone is in mourning. Some are hopeless. And those that are hopeless, begin the process of mourning and moving on. Not just his family, but people came all the way from Jerusalem to help in the mourning.
Jerusalem was only two miles away from Bethany, so many of the Jews could make the trip to comfort Mary and Martha.
We also do the same today. When we lose a loved one, people fly in from all over the country, even the world, to comfort the family. They all came to comfort, but little did they know that they were about to have an encounter with Jesus. They thought they were going to a funeral. But they were about to experience a resurrection. They thought they were going to comfort the family, but they were about to experience the one who brings comfort to their soul. They thought they were coming to bury a man, but they were about to have an encounter the One who has the keys of hell and death. They thought they were coming to see a dead man, but they were about to have an encounter with the one who is The Resurrection and the Life.
When you have an encounter with Jesus your mourning will turn to day.
When you have an encounter with Jesus, your sadness, will turn to joy
When you have an encounter with Jesus, you will say, like Job, though He slay me, yet will I trust him.
Even Now, in this encounter, God is looking to unleash your faith, Unleash Your Trust, Unleash Your Hope, Unleash Your Life.
I do not want to assume that you know the rest of the story. This may be the first time you have heard this. Someone reading this just might be hearing this for the first time. So let us set the stage.
Jesus is friends with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. They live in Bethany, a short distance, just two miles away from Jerusalem. It is a suburb of Jerusalem if you will. For Jesus, this was a place of respite. A place where he could rest a while in the comfort, and safety of his dear friends. It is Jesus who says, “Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the son of man has nowhere to lay His head.” Matt. 8:20, Luke 9:58.
With this family, he could sit, rest, and recline awhile. This was the home of Mary.
Jesus was away, when he heard the news. Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death, no it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”
Sometimes challenges may come your way in life, and you call on your God. You call on him in prayer. You send for Him through your supplications. You fast, and pray and promise, yet the answer you want does not come. We need to understand that God’s answer is never delayed. It is always right on time. It may not be on your time, but what is time to God? He is the Alpha and Omega; He is the beginning and the end. He knows your needs, before you know them. He knows that you are about to receive a bad report from the doctor. He knows that you are about to receive a pink slip from your job. He knows that you are about to receive that call in the night. But we know that we have savior who cares. How do we know that he cares? Because he left the throne room of heaven, laid down his divinity, took up humanity so that we might have life. So why would he do all of that, to leave us grappling in the dark in our hour of need? Sickness is not the end. The pink slip is not the end. That late night call is not the end. Even Now in your darkest hour, His name will be glorified. He is working it out for your good, and His glorification is our salvation. Even Now, this encounter with Jesus, will unleash God’s will in your life. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, Even Now, and be saved.
When Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where he was two more days! In fact, He did not have to come to Bethany at all. He could have healed Lazarus with Word, as He healed the centurion’s servant. He could have healed Lazarus with a word, as he healed the daughter of the Canaanite woman.
He stayed away two more days after hearing that Lazarus is dead, then He said, “Let’s Go Back to Judea.”
Judea is the region that includes Jerusalem and Bethany, the center of the Israelite diaspora. The center of Judaism, the center of the promised land that was promised to Abraham, a long time before. The center of the people who should know God, because of their many encounters, yet, while they lived in the promised land, and the Promised One was in their midst, they knew him not.
Even Now the Promised One is in our midst. Do you know him? Do you hear His voice?
John 14:14-21 NIV - Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21
The disciples said, Judea? They tried to stone you there, and you want to go back? Jesus replied”
“Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world's light. It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light” John 11:9-10.
It was time to go the Judea. It was time for the light of the world to shine bright in Judea. Jesus knew that his time with them was limited, the day was fast spent, time was winding up. There was an urgency to save those who were lost. There was an urgency to save those who were stumbling in the dark. Jesus was about to manifest a spark of light to illuminate who is His. His light was about to shine in the darkness, so that those who stumble in darkness might know that He is the savior, believe and be saved in His Kingdom.
Even Now, we have an urgency. We do not have an urgency to elect our favorite politician, although we should do our civil duty. We do not have an urgency to reduce global warming, although we should care for our home, this world. We do not have an urgency to correct the social ills in our society, although we should care for our fellow man. The one charge the Light of the World gave us, was to bring His light and share it in a dark place. All around us people are stumbling in darkness. The darkness of sin and unbelief. The darkness of pain and suffering. The darkness of hopelessness, regret, sadness, and loneliness.
Jesus is saying to you Even Now, it is time to go to Judea. It is dark in Judea, but Jesus is the Light of the World.
In Judea, they might stone you.
In Judea, they might dismiss you.
In Judea, they might laugh at you.
But Jesus is showing us, that when darkness is at deepest black, that is when the light shines the brightest. Even though Lazarus was dead and in the grave for four days, the power of God, the Power to save, the Power to resurrect, was the light that would dispel the darkness. Do not wait for favorable conditions, there is no insurmountable condition with God. For with God, all things are possible. Move out in faith, it is time to go to Judea.
“When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him.” Vs 20. Lord, Martha said to Jesus, “of you had been here, my brother would not have died, but I knew that Even Now, God will give you whatever you ask. Vs. 21-22
This was Martha’s “Even Now” moment. When all hope was gone, her faith was rekindled by the presence of Jesus in her midst. Even, though the mourners reminded her of her loss, she recognized in Jesus, not only the power to save, but the power to resurrect. Martha knew that If God is God, then nothing is impossible for Him. And if God is in her midst, then all things are possible.
Some of us are dealing with difficult life altering, life numbing, depression enabling, soul chilling conditions. But Even Now, know that God will give you whatever you ask. Some of us are in an “Even Now” moment. You are not sure where to turn, Even Now, God is working it out for your good. Some of you are in an Even Now moment, living in doubt, because your relationship has soured, Even Now God can restore the Love you had. Some of you are in your “Even Now” moment, you are living in financial stress, Even Now, God provides for your daily bread, like mana from Heaven, your cupboard has just what you need. Some of our young ones are living in an “Even Now” moment, as you consider your career path, or college choice, or choice of that special friend, But know the Even Now, God is clearing a path to a career, an acceptance at a college, or moving someone in your path that will be your soulmate for life. Even Now, He is working it out for your good.
Martha was hopefully looking forward to that Great getting up morning, when the dead in Christ shall rise first, and those who are alive will be caught up to meet him in the air.
Jesus said to Martha, “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, do you believe this?”
To Abraham, he said “I Am Your shield.” Gen.15:1
To Isaac, He said “I Am with you.” Gen. 26:24
To Jacob, He said “I AM God almighty. Gen. 35:11
To Moses, He said, “I AM WHO I AM. Exodus 3:14
To John the Revelator, He said, “I AM the the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last. Rev.1:11
Jesus is asking you and I that question today? Do you believe that he is the I Am. Do you believe that He is the resurrection. Do you believe that He is Life?
When Jesus arrived at the site where they lay Lazarus, for the past four days, he said, “Roll Away the Stone” They rolled away the Stone, Lazarus came forth, Jesus Said, “loose him, and let Him Go.”
Even Now, God is rolling away the stone of doubt in your life, so that you can live a life of faith. Even Now God is rolling away the stone of fear, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Even Now God is rolling away the stone of sickness because we know that He is our healer. Even Now, God is rolling away the stone of financial hardship, because He is our provider. Even Now, God is rolling away the stone of marital stresses, because what God has blessed, He blesses eternally. Even Now, God is rolling away the stone death, because soon and very soon we are going to see the King.
Revelation 21:1-5 NIV - Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” 5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Even Now God is orchestrating in your life an encounter with Jesus, this encounter will unleash a New Life in you. Receive Him right now.