At the moment Lazarus awoke, dressed in his burial cloths, everything really was different. Life was new. He had a second chance. But what did he make of it? Do you ever wonder?
I really detest butterfly analogies but does the butterfly ever yearn to return to the cocoon, either out of pure habit or perhaps out of a desire for a return to what is comfortable -- what it has known so well for so long?
Can you come back from the dead and still be the same?
Even with God and with a change in our heart, it's more than just a little tough to change 100% and permanently. We still have free will ... it is mainly a sense of gratitude that maintains our transformation.
But human nature is not gracious. Human nature is self-centered and carries a feeling of entitlement.
Surely, even with the miracle that was borne in him, Lazarus still found humanity calling him back. (And he was presumably a pretty good guy even before he was chosen to be a miracle!)
Does the butterfly feel entitled to go back to the cocoon, even for one more rest or one more period of escape from living a life that, while it is a life of gratitude, must still face a world that is dirty, ugly, and corrupt?
With Jesus’ resurrection, we have the opportunity to put our past behind us. That's really what the resurrection offers us ... the opportunity to never again view things through the same screen or process life through the same filter. It is a gift of life restored more to what God intended rather than a life that is soggy and tainted through with human nature. Having an opportunity like that is almost unimaginable. To one who is floating in their own humanity, life normally just doesn't give you second chances like that.
But humanity still calls us back. We screw up again and, quite unfortunately, again.
And, weird as it may seem, His grace and His promise cover us.
So, painful though it is, we reach a point of brokenness, hopefully not as severe as the one that first brought us salvation, and we presume to pray for our own return to the cross, hoping to die to ourselves a bit more. While the cocoon maybe held its moments of comfort, we still know that it wasn't real -- it wasn't what God intended for us. So, this time, we hope for a completely restorative resurrection that will leave us permanently beyond our humanity.
But once again we screw up and grace covers us. We seek the cocoon during tough times, just as the restored Lazarus may have said "I just wish I was dead" during the gritty reality of life.
But while Lazarus's resurrection reminds us of the reality of our humanity, Jesus's resurrection brings us hope. His grace brings us another chance.
What did Lazarus do when he came back from the dead? What will I do? Did he return to the grave? Will I? And, if I do, what will come next?
Grace is the one thing we're promised. And, sadly, sometimes the thing we take most for granted ... at least in terms of it being offered to us.
What can I commit to this Easter to hopefully assure my own permanent resurrection?
The pathway to complete restoration and a loss of our humanity starts only with a return to the cross.