I Was Lazarus Tonight (and for once I had nothing to say)

Tonight I went to a Bible Study where I played Lazarus. It is a Bible Study that bases it premise on the fact that 95% of communication is non-verbal, and is played out through the roles, positions and places we all assume within the circles that form our daily lives. Of course, playing a dead guy was an easy role. I got to lie on a pillow on the floor with my eyes closed, while those who played Mary and Martha or Thomas had to act out their parts.

Only acting is not the right word. This isn’t acting but literally stepping into someone else’s life and attempting to feel what they may have felt. It is a flannel board with real people. Everyone is participating in telling the story that is read out of Scripture. It is quite interesting, and I found that for the first time, I had no questions.

What I mean is, I always have questions. I’ll explain.

Lazarus has always appealed to me because well, what was it like to be dead? He is the only person who ever lived who could answer that question because this guy was dead-as-a-doornail type of dead. This was dead for four days dead. This was buried and in the tomb dead. None of this near-death experience. The man was D.E.A.D. dead. Then he was completely alive. So, yeah. I have got some questions for this guy. So, I figured, when it came my time to “talk” for Lazarus, I’d have a lot to say.

I did not.

What I came away with was pretty simple. Jesus is life. Remember Ponce de Leon looking for the fountain of youth (and we think we’re stuck on youth)? Well, it is sort of like that. Everyone is always looking for life, real life, real I FEEL ALIVE life. I think Lazarus felt more alive than he’d ever felt after they unraveled the grave clothes off him. I think food tasted awesome. Sleep must have been so sweet. Grass was way greener. The sky bluer. Life got very big and very real and he stopped being a robot while living it because he was DEAD, and now he was ALIVE. I mean, geez louise, that is big stuff.

I’ve heard it said that it is easier for God to raise the physically dead than the spiritually dead because of our pride, our sin and our desire to be God ourselves. We’d rather raise ourselves, thank you. But Lazarus could not will himself out of that tomb. He could not unwrap the grave clothes. He couldn’t wash the stink of four days of dead off himself. He could only lay there in death and wait. Wait for the words, “Lazarus, come out of the tomb,” spoken by Jesus. Jesus speaks life because he is the source of all life. He created it, gives it, takes it away, gives it back.

I am often asked why Jesus the only “Way”. Why can’t there be lots of ways? Because there is only one source of life, and it is him. Who else calls dead people out of tombs? Who else, after three days in a tomb himself, unwraps his own grave clothes, and walks out of his own tomb?  Once dead now totally alive. And, he needed no one to stand outside his tomb and command him to walk out. Why? Because he is life and he laid his life down for us. Then when the time came, he picked it back up again. Because he is God. Because he is life.

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