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Unbind them, and let them go! (Ezekiel 37:1-14, John 11:1-45)

Colin ThompsonColin Thompson, Sunday, 2nd April 2017

Ezekiel 37:1-14

1The hand of Yahweh was on me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of Yahweh, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. 2He caused me to pass by them all around: and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and behold, they were very dry. 3He said to me, Son of man, can these bones live? I answered, Lord Yahweh, you know. 4Again he said to me, Prophesy over these bones, and tell them, you dry bones, hear the word of Yahweh. 5Thus says the Lord Yahweh to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. 6I will lay sinews on you, and will bring up flesh on you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am Yahweh. 7So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, an earthquake; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8I saw, and, behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh came up, and skin covered them above; but there was no breath in them. 9Then he said to me, Prophesy to the wind, prophesy, son of man, and tell the wind, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Come from the four winds, breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live. 10So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up on their feet, an exceedingly great army. 11Then he said to me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off. 12Therefore prophesy, and tell them, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Behold, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, my people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. 13You shall know that I am Yahweh, when I have opened your graves, and caused you to come up out of your graves, my people. 14I will put my Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land: and you shall know that I, Yahweh, have spoken it and performed it, says Yahweh. (WEB)

John 11:1-45

1Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus from Bethany, of the village of Mary and her sister, Martha. 2It was that Mary who had anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother, Lazarus, was sick. 3The sisters therefore sent to him, saying, "Lord, behold, he for whom you have great affection is sick." 4But when Jesus heard it, he said, "This sickness is not to death, but for the glory of God, that God's Son may be glorified by it." 5Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. 6When therefore he heard that he was sick, he stayed two days in the place where he was. 7Then after this he said to the disciples, "Let's go into Judea again." 8The disciples told him, "Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you, and are you going there again?" 9Jesus answered, "Aren't there twelve hours of daylight? If a man walks in the day, he doesn't stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10But if a man walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light isn't in him." 11He said these things, and after that, he said to them, "Our friend, Lazarus, has fallen asleep, but I am going so that I may awake him out of sleep." 12The disciples therefore said, "Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover." 13Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he spoke of taking rest in sleep. 14So Jesus said to them plainly then, "Lazarus is dead. 15I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe. Nevertheless, let's go to him." 16Thomas therefore, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, "Let's go also, that we may die with him." 17So when Jesus came, he found that he had been in the tomb four days already. 18Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about fifteen stadia away. 19Many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother. 20Then when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary stayed in the house. 21Therefore Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you would have been here, my brother wouldn't have died. 22Even now I know that, whatever you ask of God, God will give you." 23Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." 24Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." 25Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will still live, even if he dies. 26Whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" 27She said to him, "Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, God's Son, he who comes into the world." 28When she had said this, she went away, and called Mary, her sister, secretly, saying, "The Teacher is here, and is calling you." 29When she heard this, she arose quickly, and went to him. 30Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was in the place where Martha met him. 31Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and were consoling her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, "She is going to the tomb to weep there." 32Therefore when Mary came to where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying to him, "Lord, if you would have been here, my brother wouldn't have died." 33When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews weeping who came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, 34and said, "Where have you laid him?" They told him, "Lord, come and see." 35Jesus wept. 36The Jews therefore said, "See how much affection he had for him!" 37Some of them said, "Couldn't this man, who opened the eyes of him who was blind, have also kept this man from dying?" 38Jesus therefore, again groaning in himself, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to him, "Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days." 40Jesus said to her, "Didn't I tell you that if you believed, you would see God's glory?" 41So they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, "Father, I thank you that you listened to me. 42I know that you always listen to me, but because of the multitude that stands around I said this, that they may believe that you sent me." 43When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" 44He who was dead came out, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Free him, and let him go." 45Therefore many of the Jews, who came to Mary and saw what Jesus did, believed in him. (WEB)

About Colin Thompson: Revd Dr Colin Thompson is Associate Minister of Wheatley URC and Emeritus Fellow, St Catherine's College, Oxford.

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