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Monday, March 21, 2016

Holy Monday

John 12:9-11, "Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.

Jesus spent that first Holy Monday (you know, the one that we didn't know was going to be Holy Monday) with his friends.  There is so much irony in this passage I can hardly deal with it all.  But Lazarus...  How interesting is it that days before his own death, Jesus comes to the dear friend whom he raised from the dead.  There must be some comfort in that.  I'm not sure I've ever thought of Jesus seeking comfort before.  But as he spent this day with Lazarus, he must have at least considered that this man is living proof that there is life after death.

What always strikes me as odd is the plan that the chief priests make.  I can't quite wrap my mind around it.  Lazarus dies.  Jesus raises him from the dead.  Many people believe.  This is infuriating, so I know... let's kill Lazarus!  Because... what?  Death didn't even work the first time with this guy.  It's not as if the chief priests could then prevent Jesus from raising Lazarus from the dead... again...  I think they might be grasping at straws at this point.  Sincerely, as we read the passion narrative, it becomes more and more obvious that the events don't always make much sense. 

But perhaps that's a rabbit trail.  Perhaps this kind of thinking is even what the chief priests would have liked.  Perhaps I am missing the point, completely!   

Some words from Isaiah caught my attention, this morning...

Isaiah 42:3, "A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out" (NIV).

Isaiah 42:6, "I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand.  I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant..." (NIV).

If ever someone was bruised and smoldering, I suppose it was Lazarus.  Realistically, I think he may have crossed the point to already broken and snuffed out.  He was dead.  And even then, Jesus did not leave him.  Even then, there was hope. 

Sometimes I feel like Lazarus...

There have been some moments, in recent days, when I have thought to myself that it would be very nice if someone would take hold of my hand.  If someone would even just ask, "Are you OK?"  As I read this passage, it occurred to me that someone has done this... is doing this...  I love that.

I don't think it hurts, though, for us to also be the hands of Jesus in the lives of the people surrounding us.  What if we refused to break the bruised?  What if we refused to snuff out the smoldering?  What if we took hold of some hands and brought people who were once dead into covenant? 

You know, I really do think the chief priests had it all wrong.  You can't kill what has already died.  And again, in this holy week, let us remember that... sometimes... death gives birth to life...


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