Alive Again

5 Apr

This is the rest of the story of the raising of Lazarus. If you look at these verse as if you have never heard the story, Jesus’ reactions to the situation is weird.

First he become angry when everyone is crying at the death of a loved one. The New Revised Standard Version translates that “he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved”. But, I think the Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase is more to the point. So, is Jesus upset that they don’t have faith that he can “cure” a dead person – that’s kinda weird.
Then Jesus gets to the tomb and weeps. There has been a lot said of the verse that about Jesus weeping, but if he is about to bring him back from the dead, why is he weeping – again, it seem weird to me.
Then, he commands for the tomb to be open – which after four days the body is going to stink! But, at least this is understandable. In ancient times someone wasn’t really counted as dead until after 3 days. There were experience of people falling into a deep comma and recovering. And, since that had no medical equip to tell the difference they were not convinced that someone couldn’t ‘return from the dead’ until four days had passed.

33-34 When Jesus saw her sobbing and the Jews with her sobbing, a deep anger welled up within him. He said, “Where did you put him?”

34-35 “Master, come and see,” they said. Now Jesus wept.

36 The Jews said, “Look how deeply he loved him.”

37 Others among them said, “Well, if he loved him so much, why didn’t he do something to keep him from dying? After all, he opened the eyes of a blind man.”

38-39 Then Jesus, the anger again welling up within him, arrived at the tomb. It was a simple cave in the hillside with a slab of stone laid against it. Jesus said, “Remove the stone.”

The sister of the dead man, Martha, said, “Master, by this time there’s a stench. He’s been dead four days!”

40 Jesus looked her in the eye. “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”

So, now Jesus has asked the dead man’s sister to desecrate the grave site. And, he talks out loud to God about their ‘special relationship’ and that he has put the friends and family of Lazarus through all this emotional turmoil so that could believe that he is God’s chosen one. Have I mentioned that I really do not like the gospel of John.

I think for John’s gospel this story of the resuscitation of Lazarus is suppose to be the prequel to Jesus’ resurrection. OR, a story that Jesus has command over life and death. But, I think that consideration for the human beings and their emotions is not present in this story.

41-42 Then, to the others, “Go ahead, take away the stone.”
They removed the stone. Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and prayed, “Father, I’m grateful that you have listened to me. I know you always do listen, but on account of this crowd standing here I’ve spoken so that they might believe that you sent me.”

43-44 Then he shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And he came out, a cadaver, wrapped from head to toe, and with a kerchief over his face.
Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him loose.”

Of course, this display of power convinced many Jews who experience it, and it also convinced the Jews in power that they had to get rid of Jesus. I have long thought that it is not surprising that Jesus was publicly executed, but that he lasted so long.

45-48 That was a turnaround for many of the Jews who were with Mary. They saw what Jesus did, and believed in him. But some went back to the Pharisees and told on Jesus. The high priests and Pharisees called a meeting of the Jewish ruling body. “What do we do now?” they asked. “This man keeps on doing things, creating God-signs. If we let him go on, pretty soon everyone will be believing in him and the Romans will come and remove what little power and privilege we still have.”

Well, this has not been the happiest of blog, but I hope on this day when it is trying to be spring outside you can experience sometime dead coming to life again. Enjoy the moment. Peace.

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