Beginning today we enter the time in Lent when the Church calendar follows the scriptural account of the days leading up to and including the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. I love it! We have Liturgy this morning and for those who do come, what a treat to see the Church make a preemptive resurrectional strike. Lazarus of the 4 days is raised. What’s the message? There is resurrection for us all! Both today and Palm Sunday the good news spills over unto us all. Let us hear that saving message from our Lord Jesus Christ, “Loose him, and let him go.” After 41 days of Lent, I am ready! You?
The Story of Lazarus
Lazarus and his sisters Martha and Mary, the friends of the Lord Jesus, had given Him hospitality and served Him many times (Luke 10:38-4z; John 12:2-3). They were from Bethany, a village of Judea. This village is situated in the eastern parts by the foothills of the Mount of Olives, about two Roman miles from Jerusalem. When Lazarus became ill some days before the saving Passion, his sisters had this report taken to our Savior, Who was then in Galilee. Nonetheless, He tarried yet two more days until Lazarus died; then He said to His disciples, “Let us go into Judea that I might awake My friend who sleeps.” By this, of course, He meant the deep sleep of death. On arriving at Bethany, He consoled the sisters of Lazarus, who was already four days dead. Jesus groaned in spirit and was troubled at the death of His beloved friend. He asked, “Where have ye laid his body?” and He wept over him. When He drew nigh to the tomb, He commanded that they remove the stone, and He lifted up His eyes, and giving thanks to God the Father, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” And he that had been dead four days came forth immediately, bound hand and foot with the grave clothes, and Jesus said to those standing there, “Loose him, and let him go.” This is the supernatural wonder wrought by the Savior that we celebrate on this day.
His grave is situated in the city of Kition, having the inscription: “Lazarus the four days dead and friend of Christ.” In 890 his sacred relics were transferred to Constantinople by Emperor Leo the Wise.
O Christ our God, before Your Passion, You raised Lazarus from the dead to confirm the common Resurrection for all. Therefore, we carry the symbols of victory as did the youths, and we cry out to You, the victor over death, “Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. ” Apolytikion in the First Tone
Christ, everyone’s joy, the truth, the light, life, the resurrection of the world, has by His goodness appeared to those on earth. He is the archetype of the resurrection, granting divine forgiveness to all. Kontakion in the Second Tone