We Give Ourselves to Stories.
We fill our lives with them. From the pages of a book, to the grandeur of a movie screen, to your comically elaborate daydreams during class about how you might spend the rest of your life with someone in your class… we fill our minds, shelves, and solid-state drives with stories!
I’m a huge fan of nerdy, epic film. So sue me! I’m a LOTR lore-keeper, a Nolan Nerd and a longstanding Star Wars junkie. There’s something about these grand stories that draws me in, inspires me, and reminds me what is important in life.
We Are Living As Part of An Epic Story
On the ground level, it turns out that we are a part of an epic story, with incredible stakes. Every story is plagued with a problem, and ours is no different. The problems in the story of humanity are sin, pain, and ultimately, death. We live in a reality scarred by the absence of righteousness, love, and life. The evidence is uncomfortable. War, racial bigotry, sexual abuse, depression, broken relationships and broken families all bear the scent of death and the absence of obedience to the God who is good. This is straight up depressing!
Romans 6:23 sums it up saying that “the wages of sin is death” (emphasis added)
This is the dilemma of our story.
“I Am the Resurrection and the Life”
In the story of Lazarus, we see the heart of Jesus with retina clarity. When he arrives on the scene, Lazarus had been dead 4 days, and his family and friends are mourning the pain of his loss. When Jesus sees the agony that Martha and Mary are in, he breaks down weeping with them. He sympathizes and exudes love and concern for his people. He is first their great high priest, able to sympathize with what they were walking through (Heb 4:15).
He then does the unthinkable, and calls Lazarus out of the tomb. And he walks out, tangled up in linen wrappings and herbs used to preserve the body.
In an early conversation with Martha, Jesus said this.
“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” (John 11:25)
Jesus is The Resolution
In these words, Jesus inaugurated the unthinkable. He promised the unimaginable. He revised the end of the story of humanity. He made a way for human beings, long shackled to death, to live again. In raising Lazarus from the dead, and promising these things, he proved he was God. Unquestionably. Because life is found in God alone.
Jesus is the resolution to the story. He is the answer to humanity’s problem. He is the hero we need.
Dead Man Walk…
Put yourself in Lazarus’ shoes. How would you live if you were raised from the dead? What would you do with that precious opportunity to live again? How would you unwrap the burial garments that surrounded you, leaving behind all traces of death?
These are the questions followers of Jesus must ask, because we have been given Life.
– David Thaten (Student Ministries Worship Director)