Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said. –John 11:38-39a
Lazarus had already been dead for four days. By all accounts, he was not only dead but VERY DEAD. Therefore, it was astonishing that when Jesus and his disciples arrived, Jesus commanded, “Take away the stone.” A very surprised Martha reacted, but Jesus had this to say: “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
When people think about the glory of God, ideas like an intense light coming from Heaven or of a heavenly presence filling a room come to mind. There are thoughts of people trembling or of shaking uncontrollably as they bask in revival atmosphere. I can even imagine music like that of Handel’s “Messiah” in the background.
Yet in the story of Lazarus, the idea of GLORY is given another spin; another invitation for a closer look. Glory here is not pictured as loud shouts of joy or of fire falling from Heaven (although it can be manifested as such). Here, glory is surrounded by death, by weeping, by the silence of finality. When everyone thinks that Lazarus is dead, Jesus calls out loud: “Lazarus, come out!”
It is glory converting the DEAD to LIFE.
Lazarus steps out of the tomb wrapped in linen strips. His face is still shrouded by cloth. He should be dead, but he isn’t. He awakens because of the voice of HIM who is LIFE.
When there is something dead in our lives, there is an invitation that Jesus gives for an awakening. It is an invitation for Glory. Jesus, whom the grave cannot hold, is capable of bringing life to our most dead and hopeless of circumstances.
Glory is not far from us. On hard, difficult days— or even on normal days when we feel eclipsed by the mundane and the routine— our feet actually echo in the presence of majesty. Because Jesus lives in us, we are ALREADY vessels filled with glory; filled with LIFE. We are believers who are always with hope. The Bible says this of us: “…Christ in you, the hope of glory” (see Colossians 1:27). Wherever we go, we have inside of us the fragrance of Christ that resurrects dead dreams, dead states, and dead hopes.
This brings us to needed questions we must ask of ourselves; questions like: how often is this glory awakened? How much do we believe in the glory that lives inside us? Do we make room for glory? Glory is still about Jesus.
I can imagine Jesus asking the modern day Martha: “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
Jesus, the Glorious One, is waiting to be revealed in a world where the dead must come back to life.