The Saturday before Palm Sunday is, in the wider liturgical church, “Lazarus Saturday.” It is the time of remembering Jesus’ call to Lazarus to come out of his tomb. And he came bound in his burial clothes. (John 11:1-44) The story of Lazarus is different than Jesus’ resurrection since Jesus in his resurrected body could not be bound by any earthly thing. He left his burial clothes behind. But, Lazarus came back to die again.
And amazingly part of the story of Lazarus’ rising is that the chief priests wanted not only to kill Jesus but also to kill Lazarus. Because Jesus’ friend had been raised from the dead many believed on Jesus and this not only angered the chief priests; they were afraid there were too many followers of Jesus. Because of Jesus they wanted Lazarus to die. And that is the story of all disciples, to receive goodness and transformation from Christ but to know that too many times, because of such goodness and transformation, there will be conflict and hatred.
Our walk is not different; Lazarus, after being raised from death, feasted with Jesus and the disciples six days before Passover was celebrated. His sister anointed Jesus’ feet with perfume wiping them with her hair. This was a sweet time of communion, remembering Jesus’ death before it happened. But during this time the betrayer, who was a thief, was scoffing while the chief priests were plotting. (John 12:1-9)
In the midst of a sinful dark world Jesus calls his disciples to communion. There is fellowship and it is sweet because it centers on our love of Jesus. We are called to life, called to obedience and called to death.
My song is love unknown,
My Saviors love to me;
Love to the loveless shown,
That they might lovely be.
O who am I, that for my sake
My Lord should take, frail flesh and die?
He came from His blest throne
Salvation to bestow;
But men made strange, and none
The longed for Christ would know:
But O! my Friend, my Friend indeed,
Who at my need His life did spend.
Sometimes they strew His way,
And His sweet praises sing;
Resounding all the day
Hosannas to their King:
Then Crucify! is all their breath,
And for His death they thirst and cry.
They rise and needs will have
My dear Lord made away;
A murderer they saved,
The Prince of life they slay,
Yet cheerful He to suffering goes,
That He His foes from thence might free.
Here might I stay and sing,
No story so divine;
Never was love, dear King!
Never was grief like Thine.
This is my Friend, in Whose sweet praise
I all my days could gladly spend.