Reading I: Ezekiel 37:12-14
Reading II: Romans 8:8-11
GOSPEL: John 11:1-45 or 11:3-7, 17, 20-27, 33b-45

The Lazarus in You

Jesus loved his friend Lazarus; or so the gospel tells us. And yet he wasn’t there when his friend was sick. He didn’t even come quickly when he heard that Lazarus was very ill. By the time Jesus arrived, his beloved friend had already been in the tomb for four days. In spite of all that, Martha still had faith in Jesus and he made her brother rise from the dead.

This is an important gospel for all Christians because there are things in our lives that occur the same way. Many times throughout our lives there is illness, death, and resurrection. And like Martha, we should always continue to have faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Illness

Regardless of your physical health, there can be illness in your life. Have you had a falling out with a friend? Do you seem to fight with your significant other all the time? Are your kids acting out and refusing to listen to you? Has self-criticism made it difficult for you to try new things? All of these things can be signs of illness.

Our relationships – with others, with ourselves, and with God – can get sick. Sometimes they can be healed through loving attention and prayers. But sometimes, like Lazarus, they simply die. And if not for Jesus, that might be the end of it.

Death

Many parts of our lives will die. Our loved ones will die. We will die. Death is a normal part of things, but it’s not the end of the cycle – it’s just part of it. As we approach the Easter season, we will focus more and more on suffering and dying; but these two normal parts of the cycle are not what Christianity is about.

Though we may live in a “culture of death,” we are people of life. We are people of the resurrection. That doesn’t mean we won’t suffer. It doesn’t mean we won’t die. What it means is that we know there is more to it than that. We know that death is not the end, but only the beginning of something greater.

Resurrection

The gospel story of the resurrection of Lazarus reminds us that death is not the end. In a very literal sense, Jesus conquered death and brought new life to his friend. Through our Christian faith we understand that Jesus can do the same for us. We know that he can bring new life to dead relationships. Or he can bring new life through new relationships.

The bottom line is that Jesus will not protect us from all suffering, and parts (or all) of us may die – but there is always new life in Christ. Like Martha, we need to have faith.

Life Applications:

What relationships do you have that are ill? How are they causing you to suffer?
What relationships – with others, yourself, or God – have died? How did they die?
How have you experienced new life or resurrection?

Original article by Brandon Jubar, 2002 – 2020.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.