The event of Easter takes us beyond the very limits of our human capacities. We may dream of scientific and technological immortality.
When the Lord asks Ezekiel, “Mortal man, can these bones live?” it prefigures a question of forensic palaeontology wherein today we dare to say, “Yes.” With a little DNA we believe this ancient very dead life can be re created. I wonder if the writer of Ezekiel , in describing these bones as very dry, was telling us that even the possibility of human assisted resurrection is not possible. These bones are beyond it. Not that I am saying that Ezekiel knew anything about modern biological science, rather to say that Ezekiel knew dry bones when he saw them. These bones were utterly bereft of the possibility of life.
So Ezekiel replies, “Only you know, Lord.” Then the Lord says to Ezekiel, “You say the words.” Behind these words, in these words are the words of God. Yet, these bones can grow sinews, muscle, flesh, skin. But without breath there is no life. Just as the command comes from God, so too does the breath.
In God there is the Spirit, which is the breath of life that moved over the waters of creation. In the Spirit there is always hope, new life, eternal life. Death does not have a hold on the Spirit, for the Spirit makes all things new.
When we come to Lazarus, we are taken beyond our euphemisms. Sleep is gone, passed to where Jesus is clear and somewhat blunt and says, “Lazarus is dead.” Just as the bones were very dry, Lazarus was very dead. This time the command and call to life is on Jesus’ lips. He speaks, he acts, he is the life. Again Jesus says, “I Am …”. We are to be left in no doubt who Jesus is.
The dead man came out. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him. Let him go.” We too are now unbound from death, and free to go. Amen.