I’m going to invite you inside my curious goofball little mind. Sometimes I get these images that I can’t shake. Last night was one of those times,
I was sitting in a group that was reading and re-telling the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. It’s a quite interesting story full of theology, miracles, emotions, and dynamic characters. Jesus wept. You know, everyone’s favorite memory verse? It’s in there. And what’s interesting is that he weeps moments before raising his friend from the grave. Overcome with emotion, even though he knows it’s all about the change. Fascinating.
But here’s what happened last night. We’re reading the build up. Talking about Mary and Martha and their dejection that their brother died. “If only you’d been here!” they both tell Jesus, “he would not have died.” Jesus says he’ll raise him up, but the gals don’t get it and think he’s being all consolatory telling them that in the end they’ll be together. A big crowd is gathered and they are amazed at how deeply moved Jesus is by everything. Deeply moved. And my mind starts to wander...
Then comes the climax. Jesus prays this out-loud prayer that seems odd at the outset (God I know you listen, so I say these words so they will hear and understand...), but put in the context and re-worded I can see it being pretty big-time. And then, BAM! Jesus calls in and Lazarus comes out. A guy who’d been dead for days comes walking out of a grave he’d been laying in four days. And collectively, everyone goes, “Whaaaaaat?!”
And when we read this part, a sudden image jumped into my head that I couldn’t shake. Still can’t. But that’s ok, I like it. Let me put on my movie director cap for a moment:
Scene: Dark skies, solemn crowd around grieving. Large cave-like grave with a rock closing it up, Jesus standing in front, crowd behind him.
Action: Crowd quietly sobbing but watching with curiosity, Jesus prays and then commands the stone to be moved. Tension builds and then out comes Lazarus, dead guy walking, still wrapped in mummy stuff. But he’s alive! Crowd can’t believe it, and start toward their lost brother/son/friend...
Spotlight from heavens stage right snaps on. Then spotlight from heavens stage left on. Both converge on Jesus who moonwalks across the field, then launches into a celebration dance somewhere between a Michael Jackson moonwalk/thriller and a Steve Carrell “Happy Dance” from Evan Almighty. He does this as the crowd rushes past him to Lazarus. He keeps going.
No longer a time of weeping, it’s a time to celebrate! Jesus was deeply moved, after all.
That’s how I imagine it all going down.