Key Thought: We often struggle under the weight of painful loss. Sometimes the grief seems so large that it overshadows our faith. In these moments we can turn to the writings of the Apostle John. And even though John faced many hardships, he lived out his life with a vibrant faith that has inspired millions of people since. In today’s message we will examine one of the events that propelled his faith. His story can and should inspire our story when we face heavy grief.
In the Christian Faith, terrible loss and great love can exist in the same life.
Consider the Life of the Apostle John
- Lived through the martyrdom of 10 disciples and the death of Mary, the mother of Jesus
- Heard about the Destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the Fall of Masadah
- Survived Cruel rule of Domitian who tried to exterminate John by boiling his body in a huge vat of oil
- Faced imprisonment and forced labor on the Isle of Patmos
John wanted us to believe in the events that had changed his life. – John 20:30-31
1. Your loss does not indicate the loss of God’s love. – John 11:3-5
Glory (δόξα) – splendor, brightness, deserving recognition or praise (a modern equivalent might be “Reputation”)
Two Things to Do During Loss:
1. Share your frustration with Jesus. – John 11:19-21, 32, 37
The more I share my loss with Jesus, the more I understand my loss and Jesus.
Connecting to Jesus connects us to resurrection power. – John 11:25-26
2. Trust that Jesus journeys with you in your loss. – John 11:33-36
- meet with you
- talk with you
- walk with you
- stand with you
- cry with you
Bring your loss to the cross
TALK IT OUT
- Pastor Rusty notes that our grief can feel so overwhelming it seems to overshadow our faith. Have you had moments when your faith was overwhelmed by your grief? If so, how did you endure your struggle?
- John survived the other apostles who all died for their faith. John was imprisoned by the cruel emperor Domitian who tried to kill him by boiling him in oil. Pastor Rusty observes that “Terrible loss and great love can exist in the same life.” That’s possible because God is at work in us. How has God’s love helped you deal with your losses?
- When the Apostle John didn’t die after being boiled in oil, Domitian sentenced him to forced labor on the Island of Patmos. It was there that God allowed John the most brilliant glimpse of heaven recorded in scripture. What does this teach about how God can offer us eternal perspective during our times of great loss?
- Pastor Rusty assures us our loss doesn’t indicate the loss of God’s love. In John 11:3-5, Jesus said Lazarus’ illness wouldn’t end in death, yet Lazarus died. But Jesus brought him back to life. How can this fact strengthen our faith during tough times?
- Pastor Rusty suggests when dealing with loss we can do two things:
- Share our frustrations with Jesus and
- Trust that Jesus journeys with us during our loss. How can doing these two things help us survive loss?
- A key observation from this week’s message is, “The more I share my loss with Jesus, the more I understand my loss and Jesus.” Why do you think that is?
- What has God taught you about himself during past losses?
LIVE IT OUT
- What loss have you dealt with in the last year which you need to bring to Jesus? Bring that hurt or need to God right now by asking him to help with that loss.
- Pastor Rusty says, “Connecting to Jesus connects us to resurrection power.” Where do you most need Jesus’ resurrection power in your life right now? Take a moment to ask God to help you in this area today.
- John 11:35 simply says, “Jesus wept.” Who do you know that needs someone to cry with them? Pray for them right now and make plans for how you will be a compassionate friend to them this week.
- If you have a friend who recently lost a loved one, send them a sympathy card with a note sharing how God’s love and presence helped you survive your own loss. Reassure them of your prayers and daily pray for them this week.