Sunday, January 22, 2017
Outside the Tomb
Outside the tomb, the mourners gathered. They came with Mary and Martha as they returned to the place where their brother had been buried some four days earlier. This time, though, something was different. The young, controversial, rabbi named Jesus was walking alongside of them. No doubt some had seen Him do some amazing and unbelievable things. And, no doubt these same folks figured there was nothing for Him to do in the place where death lingered except offer religious platitudes, give a few hugs of concern, and then go His way. They knew the story. The sisters had sent for Jesus and He had finally come, but it was too late. Too late.
The mourners heard it all. They heard those incredible words, "Take away the stone," and surely they wondered what He was thinking. They heard Him pray and likely thought, "It is a little late for prayers." And finally, they heard Him cry out with a loud voice, a voice that was loud enough to waken the dead, "Lazarus, come out!" Just before the snickering turned into laughter, Lazarus showed up at the door to the tomb, still wrapped up with death's clothing. "Unbind him, and let him go," was the command which some of them dared to actually do. The Word says some remained unfazed, thinking it was a trick, but it also says some dared to believe. (John 11:38-46)
It was a place full of spectators. Strange as it sounds, cemeteries do attract not only the dead, but the spectators as well. The only problem is spectators do not make it into the Kingdom. It is always easier to watch what is happening than to make the kind of commitment necessary to get into the game. At some point it becomes necessary to act on what has been seen, to respond to what has been said, and to live in a different and new way. Faith. Those who choose to no longer be spectators in a world where God is truly at work are those who also live by a faith that makes entrance into the Kingdom offered through the grace of God a reality.