On the way to the office today, I was listening to Louie Giglio on the Passion City Church podcast. He was teaching out of John 11 about the resurrection of Lazarus. Louie was not only giving the background of Lazarus’ sickness and death, but also the larger story of Jesus and how He was heading toward the cross.
In talking about the burial practices of that time, especially as it pertained to the climate of that part of the world, Louie talked about how quickly decomposition set in, which lead to the use of the spices and perfume on the deceased. If you know the story of Lazarus, you know Jesus didn’t arrive until four days after Lazarus passed.
Now, if you grew up in the church, you have heard this story numerous times. You know how it ends. Lazarus died, but Jesus brought him back. For some reason, the reality of “dead for four days” really set in as I listened.
If you have seen the move The Princess Bride, you may remember when Wesley’s friends take Wesley to Miracle Max because they believe Wesley is dead. Thus, they need a miracle. After checking him, Miracle Max says, “He’s not dead; he’s mostly dead….mostly dead is slightly alive.”
Lazarus was really dead. There was no mostly about it. He had been in the tomb for four days and we have to believe that the decomposition has set in. He was really dead. Yet, after those four days, Jesus speaks and Lazarus walks out.
It was a good (and needed) reminder that Jesus has power to raise the really dead. What is problematic to some about the story of Lazarus is why Jesus waited four days. It doesn’t change Who He is and what He is able to do. I need that reminder that Jesus has power to recompose what has started to decompose. He can bring the dead back to life.