>
John 11:43-44:

“When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.””

This week, my online EFM class discussed the Lazarus of Bethany story, and what really stuck to me was the last two verses in the story. I sort of imagine Lazarus kind of “mermaid hopping” out of the tomb–very much alive but very much stuck in his burial shroud.

That is why I like this particular artistic rendition of the story–it shows the community unbinding him upon Jesus’ command to “Unbind him, and let him go.” Lazarus, although alive, needed OTHERS to unbind him. That, to me, is just as key in the story as his resurrection–and isn’t that what we most commonly see in our own resurrections? We can read all the “self-help” books we want, and still only get so far. We can ask God to heal us from whatever our affliction is, but even then, His healing generally doesn’t come from a beam of light from the sky in Cecil B. DeMille fashion–it usually comes from the hands of other people who were sent to us. Even then, we have to acquiesce to the offer of their help. How many times do we bind ourselves even further by rejecting that help, even when it is smack dab in front of our own noses?

I seriously doubt that, when Lazarus crow-hopped out of that grave, and others rushed up to remove his burial linens, he yelled, “Never mind! I’ll do it myself!” I’m betting the faster they unbound him, the better. If anything, patience might have been a problem.

In the world of medicine, we see grateful unbindings all the time–being weaned off the ventilator or extubated, having the cast removed, getting the stitches out. But what is our natural reaction? We, at first, feel total freedom and relief–then turn right around and still “favor” to the bound side. We’re more careful on that formerly casted leg. We don’t want to leave the ICU yet even if we are breathing on our own, we keep putting our hand over our scar or looking at it all the time. I always wonder what happened after Lazarus’ unbinding, after the initial euphoria wore off. What did he “favor” in his recovery?

But most importantly, I wonder what he did differently the rest of his life. Did he become “extra careful?” Or did he run out and live boldly and in gratitude? That part of the story is lost to the ravages of time.

So, in our own “unbindings,” ask yourself, “Am I ready to let others unbind me?” If you can answer “yes,” then you are well into your own resurrections!

Advertisements