Life and Death
8 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind manhave kept this man from dying?”
Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead
38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
The Plot to Kill Jesus
45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.
Lazarus, what a man. You can’t keep him down.
Honestly he was quite dead, He was not restin’, he did not stun easily, he was not pining for the fjords. He was dead. And not mostly dead, he was properly dead…
When I die I don’t want to be raised from the dead. This is slightly controversial for follower of a religion based on life beyond life but I imagine its a bit like the end of Back to the future where Marty McFly’s hand rematerialises, and I find that bit of the film weird, properly weird. Or the bit in Tangled where Rapunzel sings her song and Mother Gothel gets younger as Rapunzel’s hair glows. In 1990’s my friend wrote a story about cryogenic freezing process going wrong and everyone waking up in a dystopian future as a result. The cartoon Ulysess 31 in the 1980’s dealt with this. It is a cultural trope that life after death is a modern medical miracle.
All through the Jesus manifesto we have read this week is the turn from death to life. From living in a way that holds death as its central expression to a way of being human that lives on a different timeline, that experiences the world in a different way, knowing the story doesn’t finish with death.
Death is changed, Jesus takes the 2 certainties of human life, death and taxes, changes the one that God can change. (Insert here your own comment upon the use and abuse of the tax system in the intervening 2000 odd years). Lazarus wasn’t a dead man walking, he was a man changed from death to life by the Jesus Manifesto. In a visible, external way that people couldn’t help but notice.
For Lazarus and all those who follow the Jesus manifesto, death isn’t what it used to be.
We do not reject the reality of being human
We do not reject that We are born. We live. We die.
Jesus change our reality, how we understand life and death
Let us see where taking Jesus seriously will change how we deal with birth, life, and death.
Send us peace where birth, life and death has been hard, painful and disruptive.
And send mercy and grace for this change as we follow where you lead.