5 Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:
6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.”
10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
11 Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.
12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
13 And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,
14 And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.
12-13 The disciples said, “Master, if he’s gone to sleep, he’ll get a good rest and wake up feeling fine.” Jesus was talking about death, while his disciples thought he was talking about taking a nap.
14-15 Then Jesus became explicit: “Lazarus died. And I am glad for your sakes that I wasn’t there. You’re about to be given new grounds for believing. Now let’s go to him.” (They still needed proof.)
And, as Christ knew, Lazarus had been dead for four days. The fact it is four days is significant. Jews believed the soul kept coming back for three days but departed the grave area after 3 days because the body started to decompose. Four days meant Lazarus was truly dead and that raising him would be a miracle.
I don’t know how many of you have seen something dead for four or more days. I know I will never forget seeing, and smelling, a dead moose on the Allagash when I canoed it in 1976. It was really gross to look at and it smelled horrible. These were not just dry bones in the valley. This was death and decay up close and personal. So it was that day in Bethany, but I get a little ahead of the story.
Christ’s disciples were still having some trouble reading the signs but the sisters of Lazarus were a lot closer. We hear wonderful testimonies from each of them.
Within these dry bones, within our bodies, within this church, there is life, there is power; we are alive, a people, an army of believers gathered, ready to do battle to fight for Almighty God, if that is how we live our lives.
Journeying with Him
February 11, 2016
Beginning in ashes
here on Ash Wednesday