Our family was once the recipient of a rescued cat. Her startle reflex validated the report that she had been abused, but most of the time she just slept. She was a beautiful Calico—white with large areas of black interspersed with orange all over her body. As pretty as she was, she was NOT playful or curious. Her response to her new life? She curled up and slept. Our children were a bit disappointed, but she slept. She did not seem at all interested in us. After several weeks, however, she awoke. A change had taken place. She was no longer ready to run; she was ready to fight. Our pretty little Calico was now alert and responsive to any perceived danger. She displayed a very strong personality. “Don’t mess with me,” was her loud and clear message. The change was so dramatic, it was as if she had been raised from the dead—like Lazarus. Consequently, our kids named her Lazzie!
This morning, I remembered Lazzie as I studied John 11. Unlike our pretty little Calico cat, Lazarus really did rise from the dead. One question surfaced—Once Lazarus had a four day taste of glory, was he pleased to return to this troubled earth of ours? I am not sure I would be. I find it intriguing that several responses to his resurrection are noted in John 11, but not that of Lazarus.
The Judean leadership was so incensed at Jesus’ growing following, they were not awed by the miracle of resurrection. They became even more determined to do away with Him. In contrast, the disciples and followers of Jesus were able to trust Him even more after witnessing the resurrection of Lazarus. Mary and Martha were delighted to have their brother returned to them. Was Lazarus pleased to return? That is my question.
One of my prayer partners had a Lazarus experience. This intimate friend actually died during the birth of one of her children. She rarely mentioned her visit to Heaven, but when she did it was easy to see that she was sharing something precious. When trying to describe the streets of Heaven, words failed her. There was no question that Heaven is glorious, and her welcome was intimate. So, I asked the obvious question. Why did you come back? Her answer was revealing of both her and the Lord. He gave her a choice by letting her see the grief and despair of her mourning husband. Her loving response triggered her return to this life, but I believe she was forever changed. Her walk with the Lord was particularly intimate, and she had the courage to do difficult things. Perhaps it was the same for Lazarus?
What is your response to our promised resurrection? I am looking forward to Heaven more than a little bit. I anticipate living in a place of beauty saturated with the presence of God and devoid of sin—mine and yours. We will be completely free to know Adonai and live in response to him. How could one sample Heaven, like Lazarus or my friend, and willingly come back to earth?! It would take MUCH love.
Perhaps the miracle of Easter is not that Jesus arose, but that He ever came at all!