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Restored Life

Apr 21, 2003 06:15 PM EDT

John 11:17-44 (NRSV)



When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tombfour days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, andmany of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them abouttheir brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went andmet him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, ifyou had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I knowthat God will give you whatever you ask of him." Jesus said to her,"Your brother will rise again." Martha said to him, "I know that hewill rise again in the resurrection on the last day." Jesus said toher, "I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me,even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believesin me will never die. Do you believe this?" She said to him, "Yes,Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the onecoming into the world."



When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, andtold her privately, "The Teacher is here and is calling for you." Andwhen she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus hadnot yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Marthahad met him. The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her,saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because theythought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. When Mary camewhere Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him,"Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." WhenJesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, hewas greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, "Where haveyou laid him?" They said to him, "Lord, come and see." Jesus began toweep. So the Jews said, "See how he loved him!" But some of them said,"Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this manfrom dying?"



Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave,and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, "Take away the stone."Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, "Lord, already thereis a stench because he has been dead four days." Jesus said to her,"Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory ofGod?" So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said,"Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hearme, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, sothat they may believe that you sent me." When he had said this, hecried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man came out,his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped ina cloth. Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go."




Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe inme, even though they die, will live."


-- John 11:25 (NRSV)




CATERPILLARS ravaged the apple tree in our backyard this spring,starting their destruction before its blooms had fallen off. In amatter of days, the tree was stripped almost bare of foliage. It wassad to see something that appeared to be completely dead in the middleof a backyard filled with blooming flowers and plants. It reminded meof my own recent struggles with deep depression. I prayed every day,and yet doubts and fears about the future consumed me. Would I beable to hold on to our home through tough economic times? Would I beable to care for my family? I felt as if my life-sustaining spiritwere being eaten away when all around me was alive and well.



But the tree was not dead. This morning I looked out and saw that itis covered with hundreds of sprouting leaves, pushing aside itsremaining dead leaves like Lazarus pushing aside his burial wrappings.I began to realize that Christ's message of resurrection is morepowerful than I can possibly imagine, that God's power will bring meback to a full and meaningful life, with time.



Prayer: Lord, help us to trust your ability to heal us in ways thatonly you can imagine. Amen.



THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:


The power of Christ's resurrection means new life for each one of us.



PRAYER FOCUS:


Those suffering from depression

By John Blossom, Connecticut