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Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Today’s Reading | John 11:28–44
When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” Jesus 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 Jesus 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 he had said this, he 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. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” (NRSV)
It wasn’t always a good thing to be featured in one of Jesus’ object lessons. I’m sure that Lazarus and Mary might have chosen a different way for Jesus to make his point. But then again, Lazarus ended up with a whopper of a story to tell at dinner parties.
Can you imagine what life after death must have been like for Lazarus? Do you think he lived differently after he was brought back from the dead? Do you think his priorities changed? Do you think he viewed the world with different eyes? Do you think he ever stopped talking about what God did for him through Jesus?
A spiritual reading of John’s story of Jesus suggests that through faith we all die to our former selves and are reborn anew. What is life after death like for us? Has our encounter with Christ changed our lives as drastically as it happened with Lazarus? Are we different people? Are we as inspired to share our story as Lazarus must have been?
Gracious God, as you lead me from death to life, give me courage to share my story with others and participate in your transformation of the whole world. Amen.
Written by John W. Vest, Associate Pastor for Youth Ministry
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