The Loosing of Lazarus and Our Release from Sin

After the Lord cries out that Lazarus arise we read,

“Jesus saith unto them, Loose him and let him go.”

And this too is representative of the general resurrection, when, being loosed from sin and the corruption of death, every one will be set free. For, falling into sin, we have wrapped the shame of it like a veil about the face of our soul, and are fast bound by the cords of death. When therefore the Christ shall at the time of the resurrection bring us out from our tombs in the earth, then in very truth does He loosen us from our former evils, and as it were remove the veil of shame, and command that we be let go freely from that time forward; not under the dominion of sin, not subject to corruption, or indeed any of the other troubles that are wont to cause suffering; so that there will be fulfilled in us that which was said by one of the holy prophets: ‘Ye shall both go forth and leap as calves let loose from bonds. (Malachi 4.2)’

And consider I pray you the miracle as regards its inner meaning. For if our mind be dead like Lazarus, it behoves our material flesh and our nobler soul, like Martha and Mary [respectively,] to approach the Christ with a confession of faith, and to entreat His help. Then He will stand by us, and command the hardness that lies upon our memory to be taken away, and cry with the loud voice of the Evangelic trumpet: “Come forth from the distractions of the world,” and loose the cords of our sins; so that we may be able in full vigour to devote ourselves to virtue.” St. Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on John, Book 7. On John 11. 43,44.

In reading of the raising of Lazarus, we obtain a foretaste of the Resurrection. Christ reverses the grips of death on this one man as He will very soon destroy death itself by descending there. We celebrate His entry into the Jerusalem of our own lives on Palm Sunday crying out Hosanna (save or rescue). He will then descend into death and Hades itself to save us and rise triumphantly, raising us with Him. As St. Cyril tell us, we then must obey the command of the Lord to ‘come forth’ and arise from the sleep of sin/death to rise unto life. This is the repentance which we will try to enter during this period of intensified fasting and services in Holy Week.

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