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Lent Reflections @ CEC: Fifth Sunday of Lent

Scripture context:

Jesus shouts, “Lazarus—come out.”


Do we gasp in awe at the picture of this man wrapped like a mummy, face covered, awkwardly stepping into the light? Or is this story so familiar that we miss the impact? Then Jesus says, “Unbind him, and let him go.” Life and Freedom!

Do you picture chaos? Lazarus glowing with health, joyful sisters, babbling bystanders, bewildered disciples, new believers, frustrated leaders? (And there’s humor: the leaders come up with their best idea to end this nonsense: to arrest and bind Jesus. Marvel fans know this is absurd. The guy has a superpower!)

Jesus has raised the dead before, but not a body already in a tomb, and not so openly. Why this miracle, now? In verse 25 he says, “I am the resurrection and the life.” As his ministry draws to a close, he gives a concrete demonstration that foreshadows his own resurrection. We see that he is talking about more than just a couple of specific events. He says, “Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live. Everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.”

Astonishing. Jesus himself IS life. It’s his essence. It extends to everything he touches. As in Narnia, the spell of winter is broken and spring emerges. New life comes from decay. Freedom replaces bondage.

Jesus asks Martha, “Do you believe this?”

She does.

Later, most of his followers waver as he is arrested, condemned and executed. These events are so frightening, so horrifying, and grieve them so deeply that they don’t know what to think. Jesus enfolds them all—even Peter, who denied him three times—in his love.

Do we sometimes feel overwhelmed by what we see and feel?

Jesus is present and he holds us in his love.

Do we have eyes to see crocus pushing through dead leaves? The first hint of a smile from a rude neighbor? The glimmer of grace as the Holy Spirit touches something deep inside that has held us in bondage? Oh, Lord, give us those eyes.

Friday may be bleak—but Sunday’s coming. Not just once in history. Not just once a year as we celebrate the resurrection. But continually, as we walk by faith.

Andrea Herling

lent booklet (2)
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