Categories: Pastors Blog
There are many things good about living in America. The food is one thing; like Five Guys burgers and fries; I am also a huge fan of pizza; and have you tried the chicken fried steak plate at Mama Tina’s in Marshall (Oh Mama!). These are a few of my favorite things. There are a few things though that I can do without, like the overwhelming sense of independence that’s like a cancer eating away at our inherent need for community. Many define toughness as being independent, not needing anyone to help us. From the bottom of the pit we’ve dug for ourselves, we cry out, “I’ve got this!”. We do not “got this”, we never did, we never will. But to ask for help at that point, many people would just as soon sit there and rot as seek out some help for themselves.
Thankfully, while many Americans (and other nationalities, too) wallow in the failure of their pride and independence, there is another story being told in the Church. Let’s go back to the verse at the top of this article. Lazarus, the beloved friend of Jesus, has died. Jesus has arrived two or three days after Lazarus’ death and burial. Almost all the potato salad is gone, there’s also a bowl of something that nobody wants to eat, because it has this jelly looking stuff that’s appeared on top of it. But Jesus is here. Among Lazarus’ family there is grief and regret (and maybe a little anger) that Jesus didn’t arrive earlier. But the Lord always has a plan. They walk to the place where Lazarus was buried and Jesus weeps with the family and then calls for Lazarus to come out of his tomb. And he does! Hands and feet bound with the linen strips used to prepare the deceased, his face covered with a cloth, Lazarus comes hopping out. Then Jesus says to those in attendance, “Unbind him, and let him go.” Lazarus could not do that for himself. Lazarus becomes a model for us as believers.
Before we are saved we are dead in our sins. Dead. Nobody ever asks how dead a person is. They are dead. We are dead apart from saving grace and faith. By grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone we are raised to life in Christ. Raised up just like Lazarus. Raised up to a new life, but still somewhat tangled in our grave clothes. We can’t get them off ourselves. God knows this, so He’s given us some friends to unbind us, so that we can move around in this new life He has made possible. The Church is where those friends are found. Are you stumbling around, bound up in the old way you used to live, or are you living in the freedom of the new life thanks to Jesus and those sweet people He’s placed in your life to help set you free? Tell them thanks by taking them to In N Out Burger and when you get your burger and fries ask for them “Animal Style” (you can thank me later)!