5th Sunday of Lent – 2017

5th Sunday of Lent – 2017

L5A.  Ezekiel 37:12-14.  “Thus says the Lord God: O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them.” “O my people!  I will put my spirit in you that you may live.”  Where there is death, natural or spiritual from sin, God gives life.  “I will do it, says the Lord.”  Our God is very much alive, active and present in our lives.

John 11:1-45.  “This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”  Remember when Jesus said of the blind man last Sunday, “it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.”  Jesus gave sight to the blind man and now resurrects Lazarus so to give glory to Jesus and to bring people to believe in him.  “Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what he had done began to believe in him.”

Look how fully human Jesus is in his humanity that he weeps at the death of Lazarus and is so deeply perturbed and troubled throughout the whole scene of his dealing with the death of Lazarus.  How much Jesus loves!  He loves each one of us as he loved Lazarus.  Our God is not a sin tabulating machine, but a loving brother; a diligent, caring Father.

“Jesus told Mary, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?’ She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ (Messiah), the Son of God.” For Lazarus, Jesus is the resurrection and the life.  Jesus fulfills God’s prophecy in Ezekiel.  Jesus makes it clear that a person can die physically but still will live forever spiritually in heaven if one believes that Jesus is the One who can raise us from the dead because he is Messiah and God.

After Jesus decided to go to Bethany, which is close to Jerusalem, to be there for Mary, Martha and the deceased Lazarus,  “the disciples said to Jesus, “Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you, and you want to go back there?”  Jesus not only wants to resurrect Lazarus to give glory to God and to promote belief in him as God the Savior but also soon afterwards, to offer himself on the cross for our redemption, the reason why he came into this world.  After Jesus says, “’Let us go to him (Lazarus).’  So Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, ‘Let us also go to die with him’”.  Jesus sends a strong message with the death and resurrection of Lazarus as to his own imminent death and resurrection.  The power of God conquers sin and death.  The victory belongs to God and to those who entrust themselves to him.

Romans 8:8-11.  “Brothers and Sisters: Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.  But you are not in the flesh; on the contrary, you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.  Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”  If someone is ‘in the flesh’, they follow what their flesh tells them to do, i. e. they obey the desires that come to them through the flesh or they belong to the desires of the flesh.  The Spirit of God dwells or lives in those who are baptized or invite the Spirit into their lives.  The Spirit gives us the desire to please God and leads us to reject the desires of the flesh.  He leads us to belong to God and to nothing else.  Those who belong to the Spirit live righteous lives that are in accord with God’s will for us.  The Spirit of God will then raise our dead bodies to eternal life.