Virginia Barton

4 April 2017: “Come out!”


4 April 2017


The_Rising_of_Lazarus (2)

“Lazarus, here! Come out.”


The extraordinary event which took place in Bethany not long before Jesus’s death and resurrection is so vividly described by St John, one might have been there oneself.

If you have been to Bethany, less than two miles from Jerusalem, you won’t have forgotten the stoniness of it or the light; a small village in New Testament times that was home to Lazarus and his sisters.

It’s easy to imagine the scene. The tomb with the big stone being rolled away. The people pressing forward, craning and elbowing to be sure of getting a good view of what would happen next. Some, like Martha and Mary, would have hung back, tearfully hoping against hope. We are told there were sympathetic friends and neighbours who came to mourn with them over the death of their brother. Then there were the curious, the sceptical, and those folk only too ready to jeer. And the inevitable group of gawpers.


Jesus said:
“Lazarus, here! Come out.”

Lazarus would have shuffled out, still bound in his grave-clothes, to a chorus of moans and gasps: of horror — or amazement.

Did the people fall to their knees? Did anyone scream or run away? Was there horrified consternation as if a ghost had appeared?


Jesus said:
“Unbind him, let him go free.”

Words which seem to me remarkably apt as Lent draws to a close.

Unbind me from my sins, let me be free of them.






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