Have you ever wondered what life was like for Lazarus after Jesus awoke him to Life—when the Spirit of God gave his bones and body life?
When Lazarus was brought back from the dead, was he an eternal creature? Was he going to die again? Yes, he would die again—he was still vulnerable to injury, to sickness, and Death. And being brought back from the dead, how do you think he lived his life? My assumption is that he would follow Jesus. My assumption is that he would be a proclaimer of Jesus’ Love, of his power over Death. On reflection, I bet he was tempted to sin, too.
How much are we like Lazarus? We are very much alike. In our baptism, we have died. It is more than words to become Christians, right? It is more than some creed…a list of poetic ideas.
When we confess Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are like Martha being asked by Jesus, “Do you believe this?” Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”
When I became a Christian, I died. I was in high school and I could clearly see the mess of my life I had made in my life decisions. I could only imagine the future to be more and more of the same. In honesty, I wanted to die. I was keenly aware of the power of Sin and Death.
But I was not alone. Yes, I had a family and others who loved me, but I had shut them out in my living grave. God visited me—words are difficult to express it—but God’s Spirit was near me, with me, for me. And, in Him, I was keenly aware of the power of Love and Life. It melted my barriers.
“I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this, Chad?” “Yes.” “Chad, come out!”
And being brought back from the dead, how do you think Chad lived his life? My assumption is that Chad would follow Jesus. My assumption is that Chad would be a proclaimer of Jesus’ Love, of his power over Death. On reflection, I bet Chad was tempted to sin, too. Chad knows he will die again because he is still vulnerable to injury, to sickness, and Death.
This New Life we have awoken into…sometimes we lose a proper perspective to living it. I have noticed with myself, my family, friends, and others that the events of the world—and there are so many to list: famine in Africa, war in the Middle East, our nation’s divisiveness, policies, our personal health, our congregation’s finances, and even the little, stupid stuff—really get us down and distracts us from our New Life. We get anxious, angry, bitter, depressed, hopeless, sarcastic, self-centered, cynical, and we just feel overwhelmed, lost.
You and I and the Church need a clear reminder that even though we, like Lazarus, are still living in a broken, dead world, we have citizenship in a Kingdom of Life—we have been called forth from the grave and the Spirit has breathed His Life into our old, dry bones.
The New Life is not about succumbing to the world’s or even our own turmoil—Jesus clearly said that the world is broken, mad, and spinning out of control into self-destruction. If we have faith in Jesus—more than a verbal claim—if we have been called forth out of the Grave, we are something other than the world, something other than the old person that died. On this crazy merry-go-round (merry-go-wrong) world, we hold tight to the truth that Jesus is loved by the Father, sent to us to share the Father’s Love for us, that Jesus is the Father’s Love for us.
We know Jesus in a personal, relational way. And that changes everything. We have been called forth from the Grave like Lazarus. We know Death and we know Life. We know that Death has no power when Life is around. And Life is in us, we are in it. Are we living Life as we have been called forth to live it?
May we sense the urgency and beauty of the time we have been given. May we be intentional in the New Life we have been given. Lord, we believe and you have awoken us to life, teach us how to live it out. For the glory of Christ, Amen.