MONDAY, APRIL 11TH
A TIME OF COMFORT
Today we gather for one more word of comfort from our mentor, Jesus. He begins by remembering the time when his friend Lazarus had died. As Jesus was heading to Bethany, Martha, the sister of Lazarus, met him on the way. He shares the story with us…
I said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to me, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” I said to her, “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?” She said to me, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”
Then I, …greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. I said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to me, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” I said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And I looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” When I had said this, I cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. I said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” (John 11:23-27, 38-44 , NRSV, revised*)
If you have time, sit with this story for a few minutes and imagine yourself as Lazarus. What sensations do you feel? What are you thinking? How would it feel to come out of the tomb into the light of day? How would your life change from that point on?
Here in the resurrection of Lazarus, we get a glimpse of what was ahead for Jesus, and one day, for us. This Holy Week, as the terrible crucifixion of Jesus looms before us, and we must await the beautiful resurrection, this story of Jesus bringing Lazarus to life serves as a present comfort we can cling to, here and now.
Martha knew of the resurrection on the last day, but in this story, Jesus let her witness it that very day. I have often written of this before, but this is worth repeating: our salvation is for here and now. One of the best things I have even been told were words from a dear friend during a terrible trial in my life. “There is always a resurrection, Karen. Your life will look and be different, but it will be new life.” In many incredible ways, his words have proven true.
Our faith helps us to see the smaller daily resurrections, while also giving us the hope of our complete, glorious, and final resurrection. New life, perhaps even richer life, comes after every trial and sorrow during our earthly lives, and we will one day enjoy even better days. We are already being made new. So, for me today, Jesus’s words, “Unbind him, and let him go,” touch my soul deeply. We can shed all that binds and encumbers us today. We are meant to live our lives in that freedom from fear, in the unbinding of all that would keep us from truly living lives of joy and peace.
The story is never over. There will always be a resurrection.
(Throughout the Lenten season, my blogger-writer friend, Charlotte, has kindly shared my posts on her site. Thank you, Charlotte! Here is a link to her Hope Seeker site, a good place to find other inspirational posts: https://charlotteannrobinson.com/)
*The name of Jesus and his pronouns have been adapted by Karen into first-person.