Over the objections of Mary, Jesus called Lazarus out of the tomb. Mary’s objection had seemed normal insomuch Lazarus had been dead four 4 long days in a humid climate. The statement was made that he ‘Stinketh.’
In this example of our Lord, we are called attention to a great miracle, raising the dead back to life. In conversation earlier, Jesus had stated that Lazarus was merely asleep, but upon being pressed on with the matter, he finally admitted that Lazarus was dead.
Where the above example draws attention to Christ’s power of the physical death, it should also bring attention to the fate of our own lives. Many of us are neatly tucked away in our personal tomb and are spiritually, mentally and essentially dead for all practical purposes. As in the illustration above, we need our Master, in a loud voice to call us forth causing us to be alive.
Often at a young age, we have permitted others of whom I will call spirit breakers to squash our dreams, our personalities and hopes. Often as well, we relegate ourselves to become oblivious to the world, so much so at times, that no one at all knows that we are alive. The sad fact is that we become comfortable being numb to our environment and live within the cocoon of fear of being exposed.
We become convinced that nothing we do is worthwhile anyway, thus we give up attempts and never even try. Our spirit-man becomes marginalized and we are content in being autonomous with the world, i.e., we are content being free from such trials as opposed to living theonomously, the freedoom for something.
As autonomous creatures we feel a relative freedom from crime, from personal assault, invasion and such. Theonomous freedom, on the other hand, is the freedoms we have been endowed with our creator.
Hence, relegated to autonomous freedom, our principle concern is to rid ourselves of external fears and strive for personal mediocrity. Afraid of extending ourselves outward, we become afraid of our neighbors, of our fellow man, and somehow justify our goodness intellectually, yet fail to participate in the reality of personal engagement with others.
We speak of our Lord in Past tense and mutter statements such as: “If Christ were here, he’d act this way or that…” The truth of it is: Christ is HERE and is HERE now. The simple adage is that Christ is with us whenever we perform his commandments to our brothers. Taking this one step further, we see that Christ also is within our brothers for if we do it unto our brothers, we have performed it unto Him who lives in us.
Years ago, Friedrich Nietzsche proclaimed that God was dead. He proclaimed that God was dead for man had killed him. Perhaps this is even more so true today as it appears we go out of our way to make sure that God is not magnified in our own lives, by failing to heed the words and commandments of Christ, we have denied the existence and spirit of the living God; thus, we kill Him daily in our daily refrain from excising our duty through the extension of ourselves.
So then, what does this mean to the average Joe? It means there are a lot of Average Joes in this world and that God created no one average. He created each of us as unique members of his kingdom to perform mighty works NOW in this world.
Spiritual death causes depression, anxiety; it grieves the heart, loss of self esteem, and even physical death. The opposite is the promise of our Lord, Jesus. He calls us from our personal tombs and calls us to wake from our sleep and to be alive. Aside from the horrible issue of fear, spiritual death generates and creates a huge chasm, a chasm of total separation from life. This lonely travail is deadly as most importantly we are finally and suddenly also separated from our life-source, our living God.
Unlike programmed animals, man requires a special need of purpose and to remain alive. In the absence of purpose, man will suffer; man will eventually lose the will to live at all.
Okay, the backdrop has been provided. The problem then is that we become numb to our environment, forget how to feel, retreat to the comfort zones of our personally built shell, and then dwell within our hollow shell. We are safe, autonomous and content until we hear: “Come Out!”
The words might even be uttered from the back of our own minds. The words might have been shouted from our preacher. We might be harboring in the safety net of a mental hospital, or even worse, might be in convalescence from an illness or accident that forces us to change our mode of operandi in reacting to the world. We are called from the numb states of denial of those around us. We are called into the theonomous stage of total interaction with our environment. This includes all of God’s people. It means that we must being the risk of exposure. As Adam and Eve we are naked with all our openness and humility. It means that our spirit-man is seen exactly for what it is and no matter what we give, we will see it as not enough. More importantly, it also means that as long as we obey our good conscience to obey the words of our Lord to serve others, that whatever it is that we provide will suffice. It is our job to set forth the motion of giving, and God’s job in providing the necessary materials in completing the job.
Presently, if you have read this far then you should also realize that we are standing outside your deathbed, your tomb. We are calling you to the waking phase of your life and begging you to come out. We are insisting that whoever you are, that you are nothing but top quality and that whatever gifts, talents and attributes, that they are grade-A. We are also declaring that it is our job to call you out and now it is your job to come forth. Once again, we ask of you: to come out.