Resurrection of Lazarus Saturday

Archbishop Seraphim : Homily
Let us be transparent in Christ’s Love
Resurrection of Lazarus Saturday
27 March, 2010
Hebrews 12:28-13:8 ; John 11:1-45


In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

The words of the Apostle today in the Epistle to the Hebrews are familiar to me from my childhood : “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever”. It is important for us to remember that always, particularly in the context of what is happening today. Today, Lazarus is being raised from the dead in preparation (as we are singing) for our own experience of the Resurrection of Christ. The Lord is always preparing us for what is to come. He is always opening doors ahead of us. He is always going before us, drawing us to Himself, making the way for us because, of course, He is the Way.

In the context of these words from the Epistle to the Hebrews that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever”, it is also necessary to recall the words that our Saviour, Himself, addressed to Martha, saying : “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live”. These words are essential for us to keep in the forefront of our consciousness because we live in such a confused world of philosophies, and all sorts of conflicting ideas. It is crucial that we never forget that Jesus Christ is no mere “idea” ; He is no putative proposition ; He is no meditated nor logically-produced philosophy. He is the Son of the Living God. He is the Word of God. He is the One who loves us into existence. He is truly our life, as He is the life of Lazarus.

Contrary to what some people suppose, Lazarus did not die any time soon after his resurrection in obedience to Christ. Rather, he went on to become a bishop and a missionary in Kition (Larnica) Cyprus, until his death thirty years later. Lazarus continued to witness to the power of Almighty God by his life, his works, and his witness of love and life. We, who have not been raised from the dead literally, have been raised from the death of sin. We have been raised from the death of darkness, delusion, and confusion. We also must allow His life and His love to shine in us, and to shine through us, so that the Lord will be able to draw others to Himself through us. We ourselves were drawn to Him through the love of other Christians. We have to let this same life-giving love, which we are experiencing today in the resurrection of Lazarus, pass through us to other people round about us, who are starved for this love, for this hope. There are many people who have much difficulty in receiving the Lord’s love. They also treat us badly in order to test us because they are so bound with fear or so broken or hurt.

In our prayers and hymns to the unmercenary saints, Cosmas and Damian, and other unmercenary saints, we very often are saying : “Freely you have received ; freely give” (Matthew 10:8). We must freely give ourselves because the Lord gives everything to us. He gives us our life, our hope, our health, our families, our loved ones – He gives everything to us. Therefore, it is for us to affirm this and to confess Him openly. It is also for us to take hold of His protection and salvation so as to keep away from the fear-produced temptation of falling into treating Him as a philosophical construct.

In the same context, let us allow the Lord’s love to continue to shine through us no matter what. As we put our trust in Him, may He accomplish His perfect, life-giving, loving will in those around us. May He draw them to Himself, unite them to Himself, and enable them, with us, to glorify the All-Holy Trinity : the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, now, and ever, and unto the ages of ages.