Friday, March 25, 2016


Perhaps it is the fact that today is Good Friday, but for whatever reason, my random thoughts today have gone to the subject of tombs.

It started with a conversation I had with someone who was dealing with some pretty "rough" characters the past few weeks. As I tried to encourage her (and myself) that we are called to be the light no matter where we are, I made reference to a couple of different Bible stories that we are all familiar with. I said, "At times I think I'd rather be dealing with those whom run among the tombs than those who are nice and cleaned up like the Pharisees and the Sadducees." That's what got the thought-wheels turning.

The more I thought about it, both groups of people in those stories, the heathen and the religious, had tombs in their lives. It was obvious the problem the demoniac had. He was living (if you could call that living) among the dead. He was surrounded by tombs and it showed. The other groups, the "religious 'right'" I guess some might call them (not a political statement by the way) had their own tombs to deal with. The problem for most of them was that their tombs were hidden where no one could see - no one but the Son of God that is. That group had their lives all cleaned up, but on the inside they had their own problems. They were "white-washed tombs". 

Every day we deal with people who are dealing with death. Some are surrounded by it, and some are dead inside. Visible or not, death has a way of making its presence known. The difference is with one you what you see is what you get and with the other you have no idea what you are facing.

We don't call them tombs much any more, at least not in the South. We call them graveyards. As a child I remember going with my mom to the graveyard to tend the graves (something I never really understood.) As a young adult, she once asked me where I wanted to be buried. I told her I didn't really care, I wouldn't be there anyway. 

Some are afraid of graveyards. When I was little, it seemed that every scary story had a graveyard/cemetery somewhere in it...but Jesus wasn't afraid of tombs. He went to the demoniac who wandered among the tombs; He called out the Pharisees and Sadducees for what they were - white-washed tombs; He called his friend OUT of the tomb; and just to make sure that all could see His power over death, He broke free from the tomb. No tomb was a match for Him, whether it was inside or out.

Today marks the day they laid my Lord in a tomb...a borrowed one at that. In just two days we celebrate the realization that what He had told His disciples was true...three days after the Temple had been torn down it would be restored. That alone is news good enough to make us want to go out into the "graveyard of a world" and proclaim release to those who are trapped among the dead. And for those who "look good" on the outside, it's good news that they don't have to be a walking tomb themselves, zombies as it were. Dead is dead, whether outside or in. 

Jesus promised something much different - life abundant...and that is Good News!

Jesus healed the demoniac

Matthew 23:27-28The Message (MSG)

27-28 “You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You’re like manicured grave plots, grass clipped and the flowers bright, but six feet down it’s all rotting bones and worm-eaten flesh. People look at you and think you’re saints, but beneath the skin you’re total frauds.
John 11 - The death of Lazarus (MSG)
17When Jesus finally got there, he found Lazarus already four days dead...
21-22 Martha said, “Master, if you’d been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. Even now, I know that whatever you ask God he will give you.”
23 Jesus said, “Your brother will be raised up.”
24 Martha replied, “I know that he will be raised up in the resurrection at the end of time.”
25-26 “You don’t have to wait for the End. I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all...
38-39 Then Jesus...arrived at the tomb. It was a simple cave in the hillside with a slab of stone laid against it. Jesus said, “Remove the stone.” The sister of the dead man, Martha, said, “Master, by this time there’s a stench. He’s been dead four days!”
40 Jesus looked her in the eye. “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
41-42 Then, to the others, “Go ahead, take away the stone.”
They removed the stone. Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and prayed, “Father, I’m grateful that you have listened to me. I know you always do listen, but on account of this crowd standing here I’ve spoken so that they might believe that you sent me.”
43-44 Then he shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And he came out, a cadaver, wrapped from head to toe, and with a kerchief over his face.
Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him loose.”

Luke 24The Message (MSG)

Looking for the Living One in a Cemetery

24 1-3 At the crack of dawn on Sunday, the women came to the tomb carrying the burial spices they had prepared. They found the entrance stone rolled back from the tomb, so they walked in. But once inside, they couldn’t find the body of the Master Jesus.
4-8 They were puzzled, wondering what to make of this. Then, out of nowhere it seemed, two men, light cascading over them, stood there. The women were awestruck and bowed down in worship. The men said, “Why are you looking for the Living One in a cemetery? He is not here, but raised up. Remember how he told you when you were still back in Galilee that he had to be handed over to sinners, be killed on a cross, and in three days rise up?” Then they remembered Jesus’ words.

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