Be Like Lazarus?

A reading for Friday, February 28, 2014: John 12:9-19

Imagine for a moment what it would have been like to be Lazarus.

Lazarus is often the object of great signs and wonders, especially for the Pharisees in the story today who even plot to kill Lazarus so belief in Jesus could be stopped. I think about the ways I have seen Lazarus depicted in film and drama, wrapped in bandages with his face obscured almost as a prop and not a person. But Lazarus was not a prop. Lazarus was a man.

Lazarus loved Jesus, as Lord but also as a friend to he and his sisters. He knew Jesus as the one who had saved him, delivering him from an early death. Now he knew Jesus as the association that might be his demise, if the plot to take his life was successful. Could he really be killed after all that had happened to him? Even in the midst of the danger, Lazarus remains faithful and stands by Jesus as a sign of God's love and power. I wonder what it would be like to be Lazarus?

The name Lazarus means "God is my help." Perhaps Lazarus is the sign for all of us who trust in God as our help in the Christian life. To be "a Lazarus" means to love Jesus, and to love those Jesus loves. To be "a Lazarus" is to know God as the one who saves us, delivering us from anything and everything that would separate us from God and the abundance of a relationship with God. Finally, to be "a Lazarus" is to be called forward as a testimony of God even if that testimony causes us suffering or harm. To be "a Lazarus" is to stand by Jesus no matter what as a sign of God's love and power.

In the end of the story today, the Pharisees realize they cannot stop Jesus and the witness of Lazarus. It's a powerful reminder of what it means to be in relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Because of Lazarus even the Pharisees must admit, "Look, the world has gone after him!"

I am grateful for all the "Lazarus'" I know.


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