I just finished reading this book and it is well-written and makes some very valid points. When I got ready to apply the book to my life, it occurred to me that it is frought with symbolism and many different parallels and examples for how we should live, now that Jesus has given us life.
The first example, is the simplest one. The newly risen Lazarus did not get to sit back and contemplate deep thoughts once he was risen from the dead. He had to get back to living. He had to provide for himself and for his sisters. He had to get back to teaching Jesus’ message. He had to quite simply start living again, and he had to do it with the experience of being reawakened as part of his teaching, to somehow make others see and hear what a miracle he had received. I know for me as a child and maybe for most of my adulthood this story made me see God’s amazing power expressed through his son, it made me happy that this family was reunited, I suppose I even thought that it was pretty cool to be risen from the dead.
I never once thought about what Lazarus did with his “second life”. Not really, I mean I read the whole story and then I went on. I took away from it what I needed at the time and focused my attentions to the major resurrection in the Bible, the climax of the story, the point of it all. Lazarus faded into the background with so many stories from this incredible saga. But now, I see how his responsibilities grew with his resurrection. He had all the old responsibilities of living, and now, he had the responsibility of living a life that showed the gift he had been given. He had to make sure that others knew what had been done for him and that only one person on the planet could do it. He had to live his life with his eyes on describing and inhabiting the prize.
There is tons of symbolism in Lazarus’ story. The sisters were upset because Jesus had arrived too late, even knowing what He could do, they still fussed and worried. They are a symbol of our impatience. Jesus arriving when he did is a parallel to his answering our prayers. He may not do what you want when you want or come when you want Him to come, but He will always give you what you need, when you need it. Those who did not believe are symbols of the many non-believers we encounter in this life and how their non-belief should never alter or change our belief.
The most daunting, complexed and somewhat scary parallel in Lazarus’ story is the parallel between Lazarus and Jesus. Jesus died for us, He was resurrected and He has given every soul, believer or non-believer, white or black, man or woman, a new life. Those of us who ask Him into our hearts are reawakened into the Promise that we will have eternal life if we but believe. Once we have done the asking we are set and could sit back and do nothing with the life we have been given. That is what Lazarus could have done, Jesus would not have taken back the gift, but it is not what Lazarus did. He reawakened into the promise of the life granted him by the Son of God. He lived his life as a man who had been saved and he tried to save others. He risked safety to firmly state he was a follower of Jesus. He stepped into the life of the resurrected.
That viewpoint of things gave me the chills. That my story should never end with the fact that I asked Jesus into my heart. That the chapters of the book of my life should not all be alike, that I lived my life trying not to harm others and I obeyed the laws of man and God. The point of my asking Jesus in should be a new book altogether. It should be a beginning, with the time before nothing more than a prologue. The chapters of the book, should be filled with examples of me serving the Lord, using what He has given me, telling others of all the many blessings God has given me. Like any story it will have chapters that are downright depressing, chapters that are harrowing, chapters that make you laugh out loud, chapters that give you warm fuzzies, etc. However, the book of my life should have chapter after chapter of a life used to spread the Gospel. There should be chapters were I told my tale and how Jesus stepped in, just right in the nick of time and saved me from dying physically and spiritually; and the story caused someone else to ask Jesus to save them. There should be chapters were I took the gifts God gave me and created something that spread the message to others. There should be chapters of tales were I could have given up, because the living got to be so hard and Jesus would have welcomed me with open arms; but I kept fighting, because I had things to accomplish for God and for myself.
Everyone of us, whether we admit or not has New Year Resolutions floating around in our heads. They may be nebulous thoughts about how this year is going to be better than last. They may be a detailed, annotated, categorized list of each and every item you will accomplish this year with boxes to be checked off as each is done. But we have them. I woke up this morning and realized that this is yet another chance for me to fulling reawaken into the promise of salvation. This year can be the year when I awaken every morning and let Jesus know how much I love and appreciate Him. This year can be the year when I use my gifts to help others see that it is not submission to a master and therefore, subjugation of self, but surrender of all your burdens and a true chance to express self that we gain when we ask Jesus to abide within. This is a year where I can start to share the marvelous testimony to his unending power that is my life and my walk with Jesus.
I still have a full list of resolutions, but now they have a purpose that is beyond what will make me happier. They are things that I wish to accomplish so that I can make someone else’s life happier, so that someone might know Jesus better, so that I am a living testimony.
I suppose you could say that this year’s chief resolution is to Reawaken Into The Promise of One Who Has Asked Jesus To Live In Me. And all the other resolutions, goals, notes and promises to myself are the steps that will help me keep my resolution.
Happy New Year!