Healing the Dead and Dying

 

Healing of the dead and dying is the fourth category of healing Jesus does as reported in the Gospels. Jesus heals the daughter of Jarius, a synagogue leader, who has either just died(Matthew 9:18) or is close to death(Mark 5:23-9) and the son of a royal official who is close to dying in Capernaum when the official meets Jesus in Cana(John 4:46-54). Then, in the longest healing story of the New Testament, he raises Lazarus from the dead after he has lain in a tomb for four days(John 11:1-12:19). Interestingly, Jesus took his time getting to Lazarus—he stayed where he was for two more days after Mary and Martha, Lazarus’ sisters, had sent word that he was very ill.

Jesus’ faith, confidence, knowing, trust, and hope in God is so clearly demonstrated in this story. He took his time  getting to Bethany. [Even today the body of a Jewish person is buried within twenty-four hours.] He waited until Lazarus had been dead for four days. He knew all that time that Lazarus would be raised. Amazing!  The Gospel writer of John presents this story as a demonstration of the pure healing power of Jesus in a much more than the human capacity to heal, as a proof of the divinity of Jesus.

What more can we learn from Lazarus’ story and the ones of the healings of the dying son and daughter? It is love for this brother, son and daughter that brings their fathers and sisters to Jesus. And it is their faith in him that has his attention. And then healing can take place in the moment, or remotely, in the case of the son who was at some distance from Cana, or even days late, in the case of Lazarus.

Death is final, an end to life on this earth. For us Christians it is not the final word on life; Jesus’ resurrection shows us that there is life after death, as does nature which uses the decayed and dying and transforms it into life-giving properties again, and thereby into life. But from a human perspective it is the end of life as we know it. In past centuries people focused so much on life in heaven as a far better place than here that they forgot sometimes to really participate in the life here. It was almost as if they couldn’t wait to die so they could live.

Today I feel we are called to live the life we’ve been given on this earth fully and to be content in it. These healings of the dead or dying remind us that what needs to be healed are the conditions that keep us from living fully, from being who we were created to be. We can be dead in spirit, afraid to live the abundant life that we were promised.(John 10:10) Are there parts of your life that are dead?  Where you are not living to your fullest? Have you forgotten crucial parts of your make-up that would, if incorporated again, bring new life and vitality to your existence? 

This is the crucial question about life and death: are we living fully? Are we living someone else’s life? Or the life someone else envisioned for us? Are we true to ourselves? To our Creator and his vision for us?

Next week I’ll write about healing into life and healing into death—both healings available at the time of this passage in our lives—but for today I want to tell a story out of my own life. I am a widow; my husband died eleven years ago. Everything in me was clinging to my husband’s living as the only desirable outcome. This narrow focus of mine exhausted me. By three o’clock in the afternoon I’d wish I could go to bed and just pull the covers over my head.  In the midst of this exhaustion I was given to understand that if I could just hold all possible outcomes equally, well, then…. As soon as I could do this–and give up clinging to his life– my energy rebounded and I was filled with joy and sorrow. Soon my faith went wide and deep, a gift for this journey and for the rest of my life; no one could have pushed, shoved, or wrestled me off the rock of faith that I was standing on. 

For the rest of the time, about two and one half months I held all possible outcome equally even when it was clear he was dying.  Then I thought, “now the possible outcomes are fewer, but still his dying isn’t the only one.” I was totally supported through this passage; in turn I was able to support him, our kids and our friends as well. Then when he died, I dropped into the grief.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healing of the dead and dying is the fourth category of healing Jesus does as reported in the Gospels. Jesus heals the daughter of Jarius, a synagogue leader, who has either just died(Matthew 9:18) or is close to death(Mark 5:23-9) and the son of a royal official who is close to dying in Capernaum when the official meets Jesus in Cana(John 4:46-54). Then, in the longest healing story of the New Testament, he raises Lazarus from the dead after he has lain in a tomb for four days(John 11:1-12:19). Interestingly, Jesus took his time getting to Lazarus—he stayed where he was for two more days after Mary and Martha, Lazarus’ sisters, had sent word that he was very ill.

Jesus’ faith, confidence, knowing, trust, and hope in God is so clearly demonstrated in this story. He took his time  getting to Bethany. [Even today the body of a Jewish person is buried within twenty-four hours.] He waited until Lazarus had been dead for four days. He knew all that time that Lazarus would be raised. Amazing!  The Gospel writer of John presents this story as a demonstration of the pure healing power of Jesus in a much more than the human capacity to heal, as a proof of the divinity of Jesus.

What more can we learn from Lazarus’ story and the ones of the healings of the dying son and daughter? It is love for this brother, son and daughter that brings their fathers and sisters to Jesus. And it is their faith in him that has his attention. And then healing can take place in the moment, or remotely, in the case of the son who was at some distance from Cana, or even days late, in the case of Lazarus.

Death is final, an end to life on this earth. For us Christians it is not the final word on life; Jesus’ resurrection shows us that there is life after death, as does nature which uses the decayed and dying and transforms it into life-giving properties again, and thereby into life. But from a human perspective it is the end of life as we know it. In past centuries people focused so much on life in heaven as a far better place than here that they forgot sometimes to really participate in the life here. It was almost as if they couldn’t wait to die so they could live.

Today I feel we are called to live the life we’ve been given on this earth fully and to be content in it. These healings of the dead or dying remind us that what needs to be healed are the conditions that keep us from living fully, from being who we were created to be. We can be dead in spirit, afraid to live the abundant life that we were promised.(John 10:10) Are there parts of your life that are dead?  Where you are not living to your fullest? Have you forgotten crucial parts of your make-up that would, if incorporated again, bring new life and vitality to your existence? 

This is the crucial question about life and death: are we living fully? Are we living someone else’s life? Or the life someone else envisioned for us? Are we true to ourselves? To our Creator and his vision for us?

Next week I’ll write about healing into life and healing into death—both healings available at the time of this passage in our lives—but for today I want to tell a story out of my own life. I am a widow; my husband died eleven years ago. Everything in me was clinging to my husband’s living as the only desirable outcome. This narrow focus of mine exhausted me. By three o’clock in the afternoon I’d wish I could go to bed and just pull the covers over my head.  In the midst of this exhaustion I was given to understand that if I could just hold all possible outcomes equally, well, then…. As soon as I could do this–and give up clinging to his life– my energy rebounded and I was filled with joy and sorrow. Soon my faith went wide and deep, a gift for this journey and for the rest of my life; no one could have pushed, shoved, or wrestled me off the rock of faith that I was standing on. 

For the rest of the time, about two and one half months I held all possible outcome equally even when it was clear he was dying.  Then I thought, “now the possible outcomes are fewer, but still his dying isn’t the only one.” I was totally supported through this passage; in turn I was able to support him, our kids and our friends as well. Then when he died, I dropped into the grief.

 

 

 

 

 

Healing of the dead and dying is the fourth category of healing Jesus does as reported in the Gospels. Jesus heals the daughter of Jarius, a synagogue leader, who has either just died(Matthew 9:18) or is close to death(Mark 5:23-9) and the son of a royal official who is close to dying in Capernaum when the official meets Jesus in Cana(John 4:46-54). Then, in the longest healing story of the New Testament, he raises Lazarus from the dead after he has lain in a tomb for four days(John 11:1-12:19). Interestingly, Jesus took his time getting to Lazarus—he stayed where he was for two more days after Mary and Martha, Lazarus’ sisters, had sent word that he was very ill.

Jesus’ faith, confidence, knowing, trust, and hope in God is so clearly demonstrated in this story. He took his time  getting to Bethany. [Even today the body of a Jewish person is buried within twenty-four hours.] He waited until Lazarus had been dead for four days. He knew all that time that Lazarus would be raised. Amazing!  The Gospel writer of John presents this story as a demonstration of the pure healing power of Jesus in a much more than the human capacity to heal, as a proof of the divinity of Jesus.

What more can we learn from Lazarus’ story and the ones of the healings of the dying son and daughter? It is love for this brother, son and daughter that brings their fathers and sisters to Jesus. And it is their faith in him that has his attention. And then healing can take place in the moment, or remotely, in the case of the son who was at some distance from Cana, or even days late, in the case of Lazarus.

Death is final, an end to life on this earth. For us Christians it is not the final word on life; Jesus’ resurrection shows us that there is life after death, as does nature which uses the decayed and dying and transforms it into life-giving properties again, and thereby into life. But from a human perspective it is the end of life as we know it. In past centuries people focused so much on life in heaven as a far better place than here that they forgot sometimes to really participate in the life here. It was almost as if they couldn’t wait to die so they could live.

Today I feel we are called to live the life we’ve been given on this earth fully and to be content in it. These healings of the dead or dying remind us that what needs to be healed are the conditions that keep us from living fully, from being who we were created to be. We can be dead in spirit, afraid to live the abundant life that we were promised.(John 10:10) Are there parts of your life that are dead?  Where you are not living to your fullest? Have you forgotten crucial parts of your make-up that would, if incorporated again, bring new life and vitality to your existence? 

This is the crucial question about life and death: are we living fully? Are we living someone else’s life? Or the life someone else envisioned for us? Are we true to ourselves? To our Creator and his vision for us?

Next week I’ll write about healing into life and healing into death—both healings available at the time of this passage in our lives—but for today I want to tell a story out of my own life. I am a widow; my husband died eleven years ago. Everything in me was clinging to my husband’s living as the only desirable outcome. This narrow focus of mine exhausted me. By three o’clock in the afternoon I’d wish I could go to bed and just pull the covers over my head.  In the midst of this exhaustion I was given to understand that if I could just hold all possible outcomes equally, well, then…. As soon as I could do this–and give up clinging to his life– my energy rebounded and I was filled with joy and sorrow. Soon my faith went wide and deep, a gift for this journey and for the rest of my life; no one could have pushed, shoved, or wrestled me off the rock of faith that I was standing on. 

For the rest of the time, about two and one half months I held all possible outcome equally even when it was clear he was dying.  Then I thought, “now the possible outcomes are fewer, but still his dying isn’t the only one.” I was totally supported through this passage; in turn I was able to support him, our kids and our friends as well. Then when he died, I dropped into the grief.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healing of the dead and dying is the fourth category of healing Jesus does as reported in the Gospels. Jesus heals the daughter of Jarius, a synagogue leader, who has either just died(Matthew 9:18) or is close to death(Mark 5:23-9) and the son of a royal official who is close to dying in Capernaum when the official meets Jesus in Cana(John 4:46-54). Then, in the longest healing story of the New Testament, he raises Lazarus from the dead after he has lain in a tomb for four days(John 11:1-12:19). Interestingly, Jesus took his time getting to Lazarus—he stayed where he was for two more days after Mary and Martha, Lazarus’ sisters, had sent word that he was very ill.

Jesus’ faith, confidence, knowing, trust, and hope in God is so clearly demonstrated in this story. He took his time  getting to Bethany. [Even today the body of a Jewish person is buried within twenty-four hours.] He waited until Lazarus had been dead for four days. He knew all that time that Lazarus would be raised. Amazing!  The Gospel writer of John presents this story as a demonstration of the pure healing power of Jesus in a much more than the human capacity to heal, as a proof of the divinity of Jesus.

What more can we learn from Lazarus’ story and the ones of the healings of the dying son and daughter? It is love for this brother, son and daughter that brings their fathers and sisters to Jesus. And it is their faith in him that has his attention. And then healing can take place in the moment, or remotely, in the case of the son who was at some distance from Cana, or even days late, in the case of Lazarus.

Death is final, an end to life on this earth. For us Christians it is not the final word on life; Jesus’ resurrection shows us that there is life after death, as does nature which uses the decayed and dying and transforms it into life-giving properties again, and thereby into life. But from a human perspective it is the end of life as we know it. In past centuries people focused so much on life in heaven as a far better place than here that they forgot sometimes to really participate in the life here. It was almost as if they couldn’t wait to die so they could live.

Today I feel we are called to live the life we’ve been given on this earth fully and to be content in it. These healings of the dead or dying remind us that what needs to be healed are the conditions that keep us from living fully, from being who we were created to be. We can be dead in spirit, afraid to live the abundant life that we were promised.(John 10:10) Are there parts of your life that are dead?  Where you are not living to your fullest? Have you forgotten crucial parts of your make-up that would, if incorporated again, bring new life and vitality to your existence? 

This is the crucial question about life and death: are we living fully? Are we living someone else’s life? Or the life someone else envisioned for us? Are we true to ourselves? To our Creator and his vision for us?

Next week I’ll write about healing into life and healing into death—both healings available at the time of this passage in our lives—but for today I want to tell a story out of my own life. I am a widow; my husband died eleven years ago. Everything in me was clinging to my husband’s living as the only desirable outcome. This narrow focus of mine exhausted me. By three o’clock in the afternoon I’d wish I could go to bed and just pull the covers over my head.  In the midst of this exhaustion I was given to understand by the Holy Spirit that if I could just hold all possible outcomes equally, well, then…. As soon as I could do this–and give up clinging to his life– my energy rebounded and I was filled with joy and sorrow. Soon my faith went wide and deep, a gift for this journey and for the rest of my life; no one could have pushed, shoved, or wrestled me off the rock of faith that I was standing on. 

For the rest of the time, about two and one half months I held all possible outcome equally even when it was clear he was dying.  Then I thought, “now the possible outcomes are fewer, but still his dying isn’t the only one.” I was totally supported through this passage; in turn I was able to support him, our kids and our friends as well. Then when he died, I dropped into the grief.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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