John 11: 28-44
When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, ‘The Teacher is here and is calling for you.’ And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’ But some of them said, ‘Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?’
Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, ‘Take away the stone.’ Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, ‘Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead for four days.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?’ So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upwards and said, ‘Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.’ When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.’
“Lazarus, come out!” Can you hear Jesus calling into the tomb to invite his friend back to life? “Lazarus!” I can almost hear the cry of Jesus. It contains an imperative instruction, a new-life invitation, and an expression of potent hope that comes straight from the heart of God.
Maybe we could stretch things just a bit and imagine what that call of Jesus would sound like with your name in the cry. Not that God is going to call us from the tomb or awaken us from death. But that we would be stirred to respond, to wake up, to set moving when it comes to our faith journey.
In a broad sweeping way that is the purpose of Lent. It is a wakeup call. It is a time of reflection that invites us to action. Our action must always be toward greater degrees of discipleship.
I believe that most of us already know what areas of Christian discipleship need to be improved in our lives. We don’t need someone to point it out or to teach us something new. We just need to listen to the voice of God calling our name…Come out!