According to biologist Dr. T. Ombello: 

“When the soil is moist after infrequent rains, a Resurrection Plant absorbs water and grows rapidly, producing a flat rosette of scaly stems up to one foot across. As the soil dries, it cannot store water like its succulent neighbors, so it folds up its stems into a tight ball as it desiccates and goes into a state of dormancy. The folded plant has a limited surface area, and what little internal moisture is present is conserved. All metabolic functions are reduced to a bare minimum and it appears to be dead. The plant can remain in this dormant condition for years. When the rains return, the plant’s cells rehydrate. The stems unfold, metabolism increases, and growth resumes. Even dead Resurrection plants will unfold if given water, since rehydrated cells expand even if there is no living protoplasm in them.”

Have you ever felt like you were in a dormant stage spiritually?  Have you ever felt “dead”?   Lazarus was … and to have life again … he required the Lord, Jesus.  So do you.  There is no other way … no other place to go … no other source. 

Jesus was so deeply moved by the pain and the loss and the suffering at this scene.  He could not hold back the tears – even knowing what He was about to do.  You see, it is the pain that death causes those left behind that is worthy of tears.  One who has trusted their life to the Savior does not see death.  But those standing around his/her bed … they see it … and the agony of separation and loss washes in like a tidal wave.  I can well remember standing by the casket of my dad – with an ache so deep that I have no words to describe it.  He did not see death … but I felt its blow.  It was at that moment that I began to get a sense of the seriousness, the horror, of sin.  Death was not part of God’s original plan for His precious creation.  It came in on the heels of rebellion and sin. Paul tells us in the book of Romans that the “all sin and fall short of the glory of God” and that the “wages of sin is death”.  But he does not stop there.  He goes on to shout in Romans 8:1-2 … “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”  Yes … Jesus brings life.  He is the source.  Jesus IS the resurrection and the life.  Do you know Him?  Are you free from the law of sin and death? 

One other thing I want you to notice in this chapter.  Watch Martha.  Can you identify both elements of doubt and elements of faith in this friend of our Lord? 

  • verse 21 … “if You had been here” … ever felt that way?  Lord, if you had been with me this would not have happened … little faith, doubting the wisdom of the Lord! 
  • verse 24 … Martha states her theology … she verbalizes her religious belief … but it falls short in the face of the death of her brother … I feel a little “so what” in her statement … little faith!
  • verse 22 … I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask … great faith!
  • verse 27 … I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God” … pinnacle of faith!

I refreshes me no end to see this fluctuation in Martha!  Why?  Because I see it so often in me.  How about you?  There are times when my faith stands so firm … and times when it seems so weak and fragile that I wonder how it is alive.  It is at those times that we must remember … the resurrection plant! 

Remember in previous chapters how the Lord has cried out … “If anyone is thirsty, come to me”.  He is the water.  When His very presence is applied to our lives … we, too, begin to unfold and grow and gain strength. 

Jesus called for Mary … and she was able to get up from her debilitating grief.
Jesus touched Martha … and she was able to make the greatest statement of faith of all times
Jesus called for Lazarus … and he walked free from death.

He calls you as well.  He would touch you.  He would give you life …
Are you listening?