The Breath of Life
Today’s Gospel lesson from John 11 takes us on another Journey in Jesus. This time Jesus is going to the side of His dear friend Lazarus. This means going to Bethany, a town near Jerusalem. While Jesus goes to awaken His friend, the disciples fear the imminent danger and threat of death that this may include. While some of the disciples are truly zealous and ready to “die with Him,” Jesus goes to awaken the dead and create in us faith in the One who can raise the dead with the breath of life.
You may be hearing stories of nurses and doctors from around the world that are stepping into the forefront on this worldwide pandemic. They definitely need our prayers and support. These brave individuals and their families are an amazing blessing to us as they are willing to serve in this critical place and time for you and me. Their actions are truly inspiring. The raising of Lazarus in John 11 can be a comfort and inspiration to these valiant souls as well as to you and me. Here we see Jesus journey to the side of Martha and Mary, and even to the tomb of Lazarus. His intentional movement is a testimony to God’s personal involvement, participation and presence in our greatest pain and fear of all: death. As Jesus goes to comfort the sisters and friends of His dear friend Lazarus with His presence, He also entreats us to hear His word of promise and hope to Martha, Mary and all those listening that day – “I am the Resurrection and the Life” (John 11:25).
Not only does Jesus willingly and intentionally go into the midst of their grief and mourning as He cries openly before them, but then to everyone’s shock and amazement He speaks to the dead man and calls him from his grave! Just as Ezekiel was called to speak and breathe into the bones the breath of life and make them alive again, Jesus calls out in a loud and audible voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The command of the One who made the heavens and the earth is not an optional suggestion. His breath goes forth and creates life again where only the stench of death had formally held power and gripped its victim. The burial cloth must be removed! The grave clothes no longer serve their master.
We are at times overcome with grief and pain. The loss of our loved ones is not an imaginary pain or fear but real. The danger that many face today is real. And yet so is the presence of our Savior. He is real. His word is sure. Jesus is with you and me. He calls us today to put our faith in Him. He calls us to awaken from our sleep of sin and death. He calls us to live in Him, to journey in Him. This new life is not for ourselves alone, but so that others would know His presence and breath of life in their lives. He breathes in us the breath of life so that God would be glorified, and all would know His mercy and grace.
What a comfort to know we are not alone even in the midst of fear and death! The Lord of Life has entered our greatest disease of sin and overcome the grave! Jesus’ raising of Lazarus on the fourth day points forward to His own resurrection on the third day. He is the Resurrection and the Life. Our Journey in Jesus is a journey into His Life-giving word and ministry. His word inspires us and makes us His inspiration – His breath of life to others. May God breathe through the things we do and say this week as together we Journey in Jesus!