Pathways through Lent

God Can Free Us

Psalm 137:1-6 Jeremiah 31:27-34 Romans 11:26-36 John 11:28-44

Jesus said to Mary, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”

And so they took away the stone.

–John 11:40–41

Jesus’ raising Lazarus from the dead is one of the most intriguing stories in the Bible.

Lazarus has died, and Mary and Martha are standing by their brother, distraught because they had called for Jesus and Jesus had not arrived until after Lazarus had died. Mary says to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died,” and in response Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. His last words in the story are a command to those around Lazarus: “Unbind him, and let him go.”

The late Rev. Dr. Peter Gomes, in a sermon here at St. John’s, once said that Jesus’ command was also His invitation to us at Easter to let go of whatever is binding us—those things that cause us to not fully engage with Christ. Perhaps it is drinking too much, or working too much, or spending too much, or watching too much TV. Whatever they are, they prevent us from enjoying the pure pleasure of being in Christ’s presence.

May this be the time of year to chart a new course, to change our priorities, and look forward to the future. May we, like Lazarus, be let go—and see the glory of God.

–Ralph Olson



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