Lazarus was dead. For four days no one questioned it. He was wrapped in grave clothes and placed in a tomb. Mourners wept and lamented.
Yet Jesus arrives and everything changes. The rules of the world and, more specifically, of death began to lose their power. Jesus enters the scene and opens our eyes to a new possibility, a new reality where death no longer has the final say. For the Bringer of Life has arrived.
I love this scene in John 11. I picture it so vividly. Jesus commands the people to remove the stone from the tomb entrance; all the while Martha is protesting, “But Lord, he has been dead for four days! The smell will be terrible!” But Jesus, ever patient, presses her to trust, to believe, to have faith. After praying aloud, Jesus shouts, “Lazarus, come out.”
Life comes flooding back, invading every cell, and Lazarus, the man who had been dead for four long days, walks out of the tomb.
Jesus is the bringer and restorer of life.
So much in life seems dead and lifeless right now. The pandemic continues with virus numbers spiraling endlessly upward. Unrest from the election lingers. An abnormal, atypical holiday season is upon us where celebration is safest at a distance and on screens. Many days it would be easier to simply stay in bed or binge watch something on Netflix and wait for it all to be over.
Yet Jesus calls us forth. He calls our pandemic weary selves out of the darkness and into his light, restoring life to each exhausted, worried cell, muscle, and bone. He calls us to live life fully and abundantly in the midst of the continuing global pandemic, in the midst of the continued unrest from the election, and in the midst of a very different holiday season.
Jesus brings life!
As we step into this week of feasting and thankfulness let us fix our eyes on the One who calls dead things back to life. Let us breathe deeply the breath of life and heed Jesus’ call to come forth into life. May all that is weary within us be restored, and may we walk into this atypical holiday season daring to celebrate joyfully the Bringer of Life whose love is immeasurable and whose grace is abounding.