I

“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” – Romans 5:12

It didn’t have to be this way. God’s creation was perfect, but the moment they bit into the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve set the course for death.

Altogether, Adam lived a total of 930 years, and then he died. The Bible doesn’t mention how old Eve lived to be, but we know that she met the same end at some point. Their son, Seth, lived to be 912 years old, and his son Enosh, 905. Both of them, like their fathers before them, would not live forever.

I sometimes imagine Adam and Eve, living with their sons outside of the garden. They knew that their sin would reap pain; they had felt it already, having been separated from God. They were even familiar with death, having been clothed in the skin of animals to cover their shame. But hauntingly they knew, one day in the future they too would die. They just didn’t know yet how that would feel or how it would look.

That was until they discovered the body of their precious son Abel, struck down and bloodied by his own brother. In that moment, they saw the reality of death, and grasped exactly what it meant.

For the first time in history, the blood of man had been spilt. And this is what it looked like. Motionless. Cold. Mothers standing over children, and children over mothers. And as Abel’s blood cried out for vengeance, promising even more pain and suffering down the long road ahead, his parents had same thought that I did when first confronted with the consequences of my sin.

Oh, my God, what have I done?

II

“We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” – Isaiah 64:6

Abel was the first man to die, but there must also be a last. There will be a final breath beyond final breaths, and now I wait patiently for that day.

I am Lazarus, dead in the grave.

I sank in the mud the moment I was born, and all of my thrashing only dug me deeper. My labor left me in ruin, and even my best efforts became the grave clothes that now bind me. They dressed me in the uniform of the tomb and threw me away from their sight.

I know there is far more than stone and dirt above me. My shoulders ache with the weight of my transgressions. I deserve to sleep in this grave like Adam and Enosh before me. It was I who tasted the forbidden fruit, and I who struck down my brother. I listened to the serpent, and at times I played the part myself.

But there must be more than this. Adam came from dust, but there must be more to the story than just returning to that state. My dry bones scream out for new life.

I believe that one day, my name will be called by someone capable of defeating death, and who has promised life. He will shout “Lazarus, come out!” And I will joyfully obey. My bones will crack back into place, and I will dance out of that newly opened tomb. The grave clothes they dressed me in will be torn off, and the sins that have weighed me down will stay in the pit behind me.

On that day, death will become just a memory and my Rescuer will be exalted.

I wait patiently for that day.

III

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?” – Psalm 22:1

I thought I knew what rescue would look like. I thought I grasped freedom, and I knew that freedom would look like victory, not crucifixion. So as we saw our Savior dragged through the streets under the weight of a tree that He himself had designed, we still believed that somehow this day would end with broken chains. Instead, it ended with a broken people. When the darkness and earthquakes fell, and He used his final breaths to gasp out that it is finished, we knew in our hearts that He was right.

Imagine the defeated posture of a people who witness their Creator nailed to His own creation by His own creation. In their faces, you’d see betrayal, suffering, and the fear that maybe death is unbeatable after all. If even the Christ could be forsaken by God, what will happen to us?

The man who dared to promise life had it taken from Him.

They pried Him from the cross and put Him in the grave. The One I was counting on to call me out by name is now buried beside me.

Altogether, Jesus Christ lived 33 years. And then He died.

IV

For the first time in history, the blood of God had been spilt. And this is what it looks like. Motionless. Cold. Children standing over Fathers, and Fathers forsaking their children.

And we are to blame for it. If not for our sin…if not for MY sin, He wouldn’t have to die. But we can’t go back.

As we watched Him breath final breaths, I shared a thought with all who watched, the same that all think when confronted with the very real consequences of their sin.

“Oh, my God and Father, what have we done?” His blood for mine. His death for mine. But now what?

In darkness and in silence, I wait.

V

EASTER

I am Lazarus, dead in the grave. I sank in the mud the moment I was born, and all of my life I have waited for someone to pull me out.

Altogether, Jesus Christ lived 33 years. And then He died.

And then…

He rose.

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