The Parable of the Raising of Lazarus
Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. "Take away the stone," he said.
"But, Lord," said Martha, the sister of the dead man, "by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days."
Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"
So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me."
When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" 44The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go."
-- John 11:38-43
No, this is not a parable. The raising of Lazarus actually happened.
But I see in this true life tale a parable of our own salvation. We are dead in sin until Jesus brings us to life.
I imagine it might have been a tad difficult for Lazarus to find his way out of the tomb. You know what it's like when you've watched a dark movie in a dark theatre for two hours and then suddenly walk out into the glaring afternoon sun? It's quite a shock to the ol' optics. Lazarus had been dead for four days, so I imagine coming out of such sleep was hard on the vision. I'm sure the grave garments he was wrapped in didn't help.
I imagine his body was sore and achey. I suppose he might've gotten turned around once or twice on his way out of the dark tomb. Maybe he bumped into the walls, tripped on a loose stone, stubbed his toe.
Are you making the connection? Lazarus was once dead but now alive; finding His way out of the tomb to the "glory of God" (v.40) could have been a messy, confusing, frustrating process. It was likely a short journey, but I'm guessing not a perfect one (from the tired, sore, disoriented, constricted Lazarus' perspective).
Are not our lives like that? We've been raised to walk in the newness of life ever since Jesus saved us, but we find ourselves stumbling and bumbling and getting turned around. This journey of sanctification, which from God's perspective is gradually purifying us, seems from ours very messy and confusing. For now we see very dimly. But someday, we will find ourselves completely removed from the place of sorrow and stumble into the bright, blinding glory of the Son.
Here is an encouragement for me and you straight from Lazarus: We might be sore and hurting, confounded and confused, in the dark and in the depths. Heck, we might completely stink. But thanks to Jesus we are alive.