Tuesday, May 12, 2015

More than Mostly Alive

In the movie, A Princess Bride, one of the main characters, Westley, appears to have been slain and is brought to Miracle Max to see what could be done.

Miracle Max examines him, lifts and drops the arm of the supposed corpse and declares, "I've seen worse."

Max then states to Inigo Montoya the man who brought him, "He probably owes you money huh? I'll ask him."

Montoya replies, "He's dead. He can't talk."

Miracle Max then surprises us by saying "Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there's usually only one thing you can do."

"What's that?"

Max: "Go through his clothes and look for loose change."

This exchange brings us to the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead found in John 11:1-45.  In verse 17, it lets us know that Lazarus had already been dead for four days.  This is a long time to be dead in an ancient Mediterranean culture.  The heat would have made decomposition a quick occurrence - especially without any modern embalming techniques.  The King James Version says it bluntly in verse 39 as it reads, "he stinketh."

What this is stating is that in the ancient world, "mostly dead" was a thing that sometimes people became.  You could recover from being "mostly dead" and sometimes people miraculously did.  With no modern instrumentation, it was difficult to tell when a person had really passed.  But after three days, the ancient belief was that the soul then departed the body.  So for John to share the detail that Lazarus was dead four days showed that there could be no doubt as to his state.

For Lazarus and his sisters, Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life.  It is real and vibrant and we would like to know this Jesus because we have all faced grief and loss. Sometimes our spiritual lives, our emotional lives or our relational lives may also become "mostly dead."

How does Jesus become the Resurrection and the Life for us today?  Just as Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, there are parts of us that sometimes need raising as well. Sometimes I may look at areas of my own life and declare, "they stinketh."  These may be the times when we need to take a new look at our faith!  As we encounter the living Lord, it could be that we become more than "mostly alive!"

No comments:

Post a Comment