The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
John 11:38-44 shows how unwilling we often are to accept divine intervention. Lazarus is dead. He has been dead four days. He is rotting away. Yet Jesus is ready to call him out of the tomb. After some protests by Lazarus’ sister, who understands perfectly well how futile an attempt at resurrection would be, Jesus gets people to open the door to the tomb.
In Jesus’ prayer he states his understanding that the Father has already heard his prayer. He prays that the people around will understand that he was sent by the Father. Then he calls Lazarus to come out of the tomb.
Lazarus complies. It is not an easy journey, either. According to the custom of the times, he has been wrapped in burial clothes. He was anointed with oils and spices, probably about 100 pounds. His face is covered, his hands are bound to his sides or across his chest, and his feet are bound together in the winding cloths. He has not moved for at least a couple of days. He was dead a moment ago but is now alive.
Jesus has called the dead to life. This is the way the New Testament pictures salvation. At Jesus’ call, people are given new life. They come forth from their deadness and decay. They are to be received and enabled in their new lives. Like Lazarus, our hands and feet are released, we are allowed to see again, and we are brought into a time of productive life.
How often we fnd ourselves fighting against God’s purposes to give and preserve life! May it not be so.
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