Wednesday, September 12, 2007

From Friend to Savior

I'm still participating in our Thursday night Bible study of the gospel of John. This week we're planning to cover chapter 12, which begins with the story of Mary annointing Jesus' feet with perfume and wiping it with her hair. Although I've read that story many times before, this time I was struck by what the story said about Lazarus:

Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in him. (John 12:9-11)

As I read that particular passage, I made the following note in the margin of my Bible: How did it feel to eat dinner with the man who saved your life? How Lazarus' relationship to Jesus change after Jesus raised him from the dead?

Of course, the Bible does not share those insights, so I'm left to speculate. But I can't help but believe that Lazarus' relationship with Jesus DID change. Jesus was no longer just a friend, or just a rabbi/teacher. He had become Lazarus' savior. He literally brought him back from the dead. I wonder if Lazarus was grateful for the second chance at life, or if he'd have rather remained in the grave.

It's interesting to note that, after this, Lazarus joined Jesus on the chief priests' "Most Wanted" list. I wonder if he had to go into hiding. Ironically, because Jesus had saved his life, Lazarus' life was now in danger. He was a living, breathing testimony to the redemptive power of Jesus, and he helped lead others to Him.

I wonder if people who knew Lazarus before he died (the first time) looked at him differently after he was raised from the dead. I wonder if he appreciated life even more. I don't know if he caught a glimpse of Heaven while he was dead, but I wonder if he was not fearful about his eventual death. I wonder if he felt closer to Jesus or more in awe of Him or both. I wonder if he felt unworthy to have Jesus into his home, let alone sit at the same table and share a meal with Him.

Of course, Jesus plays the same roles with us, that of Savior as well as Friend. Sometimes I think I am too casual in my friendship with Him, taking for granted the fact that, without Him, I would be spiritually dead and lost forever. I forget that I am indebted to Him.

But the good news is, He does not make me stay at a respectful distance. He invites me to dine with Him. He welcomes my friendship and my company. That is a humbling, and reassuring, thing to realize.

Do you have anything you wonder about Lazarus' encounters with Jesus? How does recognizing Jesus as your Savior change your friendship with Him?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I typed a big long thought and then just decided it all sounded stupid.

Ok, it STILL sounds stupid.

I don't know.