When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" (John 11:43 NRSV)
In the musical The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy's house is swept up by a horrible cyclone. When her house finally lands in Munchkin City, it just happens to set down on top of an evil witch who had been tormenting the Munchkin people. The Munchkins want to throw a huge celebration in Dorothy's honor. But first, the Mayor of Munchkin City has to verify beyond a shadow of a doubt that the witch has been killed. In his song to Dorothy, he says, "As Mayor of the Munchkin City, in the county of the land of Oz, I welcome you most regally. But we've got to verify it legally, to see if she is morally, ethically, spiritually, physically, absolutely, positively, undeniably, and reliably dead!"

Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. We can be sure that Lazarus was morally, ethically, physically, absolutely, positively, undeniably, and reliably dead!

One scholar notes that there was a Jewish belief that the soul of the departed hovered around the body for three days hoping to return, but when decomposition set in it would leave. Lazarus had been dead four days when Jesus arrived at his home, so no one could doubt that Lazarus was totally, completely dead. But Christ gave him new life. He called him forth from the tomb and set him free.

Jesus can give each of us a new life!

Loving God, bring new life to my daily living through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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