There was a void in the world around him, without light or sound.
A heaviness weighed on Lazarus’ soul as he grasped for being. He sensed in the darkness there had been light only moments before but he could not grasp what that light was.
Suddenly he felt a pulse in his chest. Something heavy held his body firm. Memories flooded through his mind of heat, cattle… family. Where are my sisters? What has happened to me?
The world was somehow wrong.
He tried to move but found he could not, could not raise the heaviness above him. He smelt earth.
Then, with a thrust, he pushed his bound arms out of the cave soil he was buried in and braced them on the earth, using his weakened strength to pull upward. Earth caved in about him as he rose from his grave, his arms and legs bound with bandages. There was a cloth over his face he could not remove. He saw a faint light before him through the cloth.
“Lazarus, come out,” a voice beckoned.
He walked slowly in his bandages toward the light and could feel a warm breeze move about him. The sun radiated in the cloth over his eyes.
“Unbind him, and let him go,” the voice returned.
He felt coarse hands on his arms as bandages were unwrapped from him. Coolness came over his skin where they had been. Lazarus breathed heavily, unsure of what was happening. He had a vague memory of being sick before this. He was barely aware of who he was.
The cloth over his face was pulled away and he squinted as sunlight blinded him. A bearded man with long wavy hair stood in the light. Jesus, he thought in disbelief as the man approached, placing his palm on Lazarus’ forehead.
“You are healed, brother,” Jesus told him as Lazarus’ sisters rushed to his side. “You are still needed in this world.” There was a crowd gathered beyond the cave’s entrance.
“Brother…” Martha cried and kissed his cheek. Her soft hands grasped one of his. Tears streamed down her face. “What a blessing…”
Mary had embraced him and was kneeling before Jesus now. “Thank you, Jesus. How could we doubt you are the son of God?”
“Rise, sister,” Jesus told her. “There is no need to kneel for me. God’s grace is given freely. It is him who we should praise.”
“And through you he has raised our brother from his tomb. We are forever in your debt.”
Jesus took her hand and helped her to rise. “All I ask is your belief and your mouths to spread God’s word in the coming days. Our people will soon face days when believing is much harder than it is now. But come, let us rejoice in what God has done.”
He turned to Lazarus, embracing him. Lazarus felt the warmth of the man and felt his sense of confusion change to a feeling of peace. When Jesus pulled his arms away Lazarus walked out into the sun, through the awestruck crowd toward his home.
A sheep baaed as he passed. He opened the front door to his home and headed to his room, lying down on his straw bed, closing his eyes and giving in to darkness and rest.
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