Jesus lingered, and his good friend Lazarus died, was buried and shut in the grave. Everyone mourned his death and blamed Jesus for letting him die. If only he had hurried up a bit and focused on what he was supposed to do, then it would all have been all right.
Mary was overcome with grief and couldn’t leave the house. Martha argued. If only… She knew Lazarus would rise again, because she believed the word of God and the man who walked beside her. But she couldn’t quite make that amazing jump of faith, which was going to grab her attention in a few minutes.
Jesus stood at the grave and shouted at Lazarus, telling him to waken up, get up, and walk out. How they laughed. The uproarious protests about the smell of the dead body after four days in the tomb, and the embarrassment of getting it all wrong, was obvious to everyone. No one really realized who was standing there yelling at the corpse.
The stone was rolled sideways and he came out, bandaged in cloths and no smell!
Jesus told the people to help him out of the bands and let him live his life. What an event, what a man and what a God.
This is the picture of what happens to every soul that is called by Christ and is raised from the tomb of spiritual death, to a new and vibrant life, following Christ. The joy of Lazarus coming out is mirrored in the rejoicing in heaven over every person who comes to Jesus and finds eternal life. This is the reality for millions across the world and the uncountable number waiting for us in heaven.
What about you? Do you remember the day He set you free, liberated you from restrictions and sins, and gave you true life?
Where are you now? Are you leaping and jumping and telling everyone about what you got? Or have you slipped back into the tomb, winding the bonds around yourself, laying back and waiting for nothing….
Those first effects seem to have worn off, and now, it is all so ordinary and predictable. They say you can get used to anything, and you are about to prove it. That joyous life has slipped away and you are just putting in your days, making the most of it, with expectations at zero.
Perhaps you need to hear again, those rousing tones of the voice of your God, calling your again, to rise up, breathe the air and live again, as you once did. Tear off the bandages that cover up who you are, that restrict your soul’s respiration, and kick off the grave clothes that have stopped you walking with your Master and dancing in his joy.
Are you, maybe, still in the grave? You have never heard that voice calling you persistently, and your ears remain blocked by the burial preparations. You have never seen his face, nor looked at it reflected in the book, but remain blind to the glory that could be yours. There is no movement, you are going nowhere, and you cannot even tell the difference between death and life.
Listen, and he will call you – indeed he calls you now. Why not get up? You have nothing to loose, only the stinking sins that keep you within the bandages, and the stench of everlasting death that clogs up your lungs. There is everything to gain, and you get to live and leap and love, really and truly. Life is in every part of the days you live, and you have plans and ideas and desires.
No one has any idea of what God can do in a person’s life, but you can find out. The mundane becomes an opportunity to check God out; the normal becomes out-of-the-ordinary; and the future is filled with possibilities. We see the world as God sees it, and small things are transformed into his will and the gladness that he cares for us.
Once you experience that resurrection, you will never be the same, and the past will melt away and change into hope, glory and the power that raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus said that all who follow him would do greater things than he did, and that is the outlook for everyone who follows him and trusts him with their lives, both here and then.