Thursday, March 27, 2014

WAKE UP, GET UP, COME FORTH

When I was younger and living with my parents growing up there were different ways I would be awakened to get each day started.  Some days mom might come in my room and give me a kiss and gently stir me and say, "Chad, it is time to get up."  Other times she would whistle a tune or sing a song as a kind of walking human alarm clock that we could not get to.  My brother and I had to get up to calm her singing down a little.

However, there was one way that my mom, dad, and grandma (dad's mom lived with us) woke me up that I wanted to focus on here.  They would come to the door of my bedroom and as I was in "Deep Six" sleep or sound sleep, they would call my name out into the room - "Chad".  Their voice was not too loud or harsh, it just filled the room and commanded my consciousness to alertness.  Sometimes I just opened my eyes to prove to them I was awake. Sometimes I kept my eyes shut and responded, "Yes, I'm awake."  Other times I would go ahead, stir and get up.  Of course this last response is what they were really pursuing because after they called my name they would say something like - "Time to get up."

The Holy Spirit downloaded to me this morning that Jesus did the same thing with Lazarus (my second favorite story of the Bible).  This time "sleep" meant death for Jesus' friend.  But all Jesus had to do to wake him from death's grip and marry his friend's soul back to his body was call his name - "Lazarus!"

The second thing Jesus said to Lazarus was a coming out phrase (ha ha).  It was a phrase that demanded respect and obedience because Lazarus had just woken up from death.  It was a two word command that gave Lazarus his marching orders now that he was alive.  Jesus said, "Come Forth!"

This event between Jesus and Lazarus reminds me of the imagery we find in Ezekiel's Valley of Dry Bones (Ezekiel 37:1-14). Lazarus' body would be equated to the bodies that already had bones together, tendons and flesh upon them, and skin covering them, but no breath in them.  Jesus calling out his friend's name "Lazarus!" would be like the part of Ezekiel's experience where -

  • Then he said to me, "Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.' "So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet--a vast army.
"Come Forth!" not only meant for Lazarus to physically get up and walk to the entrance of his tomb, but I believe as mentioned above it was a calling to go forth and continue life, that his marching orders were still active.  Sometimes friends of God might get so distracted and depressed by the obstacles in life that we can become dead to God or non-useful.  But praise Father God, He sent The Grave Robber!  Ezekiel justifies this by saying,
  • Then he said to me: "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, 'Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.' Therefore prophesy and say to them: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel.
I can hear myself complaining within this passage as well - "Me?  I am through.  I am worthless and all dried up.  I am useless.  I have nothing to contribute."  Do you have a spiritual life with the Lord of Life - Christ Jesus?  Are you entertaining habits or hangups that are making you spiritually sleepy or worse spiritually dead?  If the Lord went above and beyond the extra mile for Lazarus, how much more will He reach into our deathly attitude or situation.  He resurrects us by calling our Name and then says, "I Am the Sovereign LORD, I am opening your grave and bringing you up from it; I am bringing you back.......Come Forth!"