Two weeks before Easter and it is not surprising that the story of the raising of Lazarus comes out for an airing (see John 11:1-45). Tales of “dead men walking” hold particularly morbid fascination for us. So compelling is the narrative, that a former Australian Prime Minister’s autobiography, which includes an episode of his fall and comeback, is titled Lazarus Rising.
It anticipates the big Easter question, “What is resurrection?” When responding to such questions, there is much focus on somatic physicality or “What do we understand about the nature of the resurrected body?” Discussing this with a colleague earlier today, we pondered how best to approach opening up the “meaning of resurrection.” Our former Prime Minister saw a particular meaning in his sphere of activity. John’s gospel, rich with symbolism and signs, obviously takes the meaning to be higher, broader and deeper. My colleague is presiding over the Easter service at which I am preaching, and I neither want to steal his thunder nor flag my punches, but it’s a good question to ponder as the next two weeks have us journeying to the cross and beyond.