We are not April fools. The joke is not on us.
We can wait with Lazarus in Bethany.
Jesus is coming.
Jesus is on the way.
Look into the distance and see the dust rising from the road, punctuating his approach on foot.
His footsteps are a drumbeat of purpose.
We didn’t have to strain to hear Martha and Mary dictating their message to Jesus. “Lord, they whom you love are dead,” they had told him.
They were talking about us.
You and me.
We’ve been in the “tomb” four days.
Mary and Martha have given up hope.
Their hope has been left for dead.
Martha runs to meet Jesus.
“Lord, if you had been here,” we hear her tell him, “my brothers would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.”
We look at each other.
You and me together in this “tomb.”
Our eyes meet.
Our hearts know the answer.
Martha is right.
Now, Mary joins her, kneeling at the feet of Jesus.
“Lord, if you had been here, my brothers would not have died,” she tells him, speaking of you and me, together in this tomb, knowing both Mary and Martha are correct.
But Jesus is here now. And with Jesus it is never too late.
“Where have you laid them?” Jesus asks, wondering where he will find us, you and me together in this “tomb.”
Jesus is deeply moved. He weeps. The tears roll down his cheeks.
Now he stands there, just outside our “tomb.”
Remove the stone, Jesus tells them. The stone that seals us in this “tomb.”
We don’t just see the stone being removed—we feel it. The lifting of the weight that was so ponderous, the burden we could not bear, the mountain-high stone that held us prisoner in this “tomb.”
Jesus now calls us. “Come out,” he cries.
We move into the light of his presence, the light of his love.
“Unbind them,” Jesus says, speaking of you and me, “and let them go.”
We are, in that moment, resurrected. You and me. Freed from this “tomb” and able to rise back into the fulness of our lives.
That is the promise that Jesus offers to everyone.
There are moments in all of our lifetimes when we feel “entombed” by a deep wound or sorrow, by fear or anxiety, or a dream that has come undone. There are so many “tombs” of loss in our lives and the exit often feels sealed by a heavy stone that we cannot move.
But the voice of Jesus in our heart is never as far away as we think. We will feel it one day—maybe today—telling us to leave the tomb behind.
In the quiet of our soul we may hear him speaking these words:
“It’s time to go.”