John 11: 25-27 NRSV
25Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, 26and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”
In the story of the death and resurrection of Lazarus it is easy to draw parallels between Lazarus and Christ, but what if we instead look at Lazarus as a representation of humanity as a whole – a representation of us? Jesus willingly faces down death for Lazarus – the point is explicitly made that Lazarus has been dead for four days and he is past the point of resuscitation according to Jewish belief – despite this, Jesus calls out to Lazarus and raises him from death. It is Lazarus’s belief in Christ, as well as his sisters’, that gives Christ the power to call him back from death and save him, the same way it is our belief in Jesus that will eventually allow us to be saved through his death on the cross (John 11: 25-26). Christ ﬁguratively sacriﬁces himself to save Lazarus similar to the way he ultimately sacriﬁces himself to save us. He knows that raising Lazarus will put in to motion the events that will culminate with his death, and yet he does it anyway. The resurrection of Lazarus and his overcoming of death is a mirror for the redemption of humanity; by facing down and overcoming death Christ saves mankind from facing our own spiritual death.
Heavenly Father, help us remember during this time of Lent that Christ sacriﬁced himself for us and that it is through him that we will be saved; remind us that through our faith in Christ we can overcome anything, even something as ﬁnal as death. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.