Saturday, April 1, 2017

Lazarus and the dark deeds of powerful people.

Let me tell you the story of a Head of State:
He was the deputy to his brother – and many believed that he plotted his brother’s downfall. While he bided his time he married his friend’s wife, and had an affair with his brother’s daughter.
Then the moment came for him to push his brother aside and take over as head of state. As Head of State, he became more and more autocratic. He refused to answer to parliament, and moved the decision-making process to his office. He valued loyalty to himself above all else, and dismissed any members of his cabinet who did not obey him.  He also set out to punish those people of truth and integrity who opposed his decisions.
….. anyone know this man’s name?
I refer to the Roman Emperor Domitian – who ruled Rome from 81-96AD.
He is particularly remembered for his persecution of Christians – because they opposed his self-serving government.

It was in this period that John wrote his gospel. This was a time when the empire seemed to be engulfed in darkness. And John wanted to tell the good news: that Jesus comes as a light in the darkness.
And so John tells a story about Jesus bringing light into a dark tomb: The story of Jesus and Lazarus is a story about Jesus who comes to breathe fresh air into dark tombs:
And I suspect that we need to hear this today –
Because our news this week has been filled with political actions that took place under the cover of darkness – deeds that smell of decay and death!
Jesus comes to us today and says “Do not let your fear rule you!”
When the Christian Community hears Jesus, we come out of our tomb and we are not afraid – because Jesus comes to breathe fresh air into the places of death.

Therefore when a head of state uses his office for deeds of darkness, the early Christians said “No – in Jesus name there will be light”.  So too today: we as followers of Jesus oppose powerful people when they want to bring darkness; we shall say “No - in the Name of Jesus there will be light”.