I’m sure there are some of you who read that title and immediately thought of the rock band that became popular during the turbulent 1960s. This group of musicians was famous for their wholehearted celebration of the San Francisco drug culture and hedonistic lifestyle. Several of them died as a direct result of that deadly embrace. Trust me when I say that today’s blog has nothing to do with that notion of “The Grateful Dead,” but rather with the life of those who have placed their trust in the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on their behalf.
Where should those who were once dead and are now alive (Colossians 2:13) be found? There can be only one place: communing with Jesus.
Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him.(John 12:1-2)
When Jesus arrived at the home of Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead, we see the beating heart of a man who had been raised from death to life, sitting among those who were enjoying a meal with Jesus—drinking in His presence and listening to His every word. How inappropriate and ungrateful would it have been for Lazarus to be found anywhere else—except by the side of His Savior?
Beloved, we too were dead at one time. We were dead to the things of God. We were dead to the spiritual life. We were dead to the Savior Himself. We were dead and buried, our souls putrefying in the grave of our trespasses and sins . . . and then Jesus called us forth from the dark, terrible tomb that held us in the grip of death and damnation. It was Jesus who removed our graveclothes of sin and corruption and draped the rich robe of His righteousness on our shoulders. It was Jesus who brought us near when we were far away (Ephesians 2:13).
The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came upon me;
I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord: “O Lord, save me!”
The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.
The Lord protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, he saved me.
You, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living. (Psalm 116:3-6, 8-9)
Can we, His adopted children, whom He saved from an awful eternity of separation from God, be satisfied living at a distance from Him? God forbid it! We, the “grateful dead,” must not live at a distance from our Savior. Lazarus set a wonderful example for all of us who have been brought forth from the grave. The grateful dead who have been raised to new life in Christ live lives that reflect their gratitude. They seek first the kingdom of heaven, knowing that everything else necessary for a life of godliness will be given to them (Matthew 6:33).
The grateful dead seek that new life in . . .
- Bible study
- Church attendance
- Our homes, our workplaces, and in our communities
Lazarus could not imagine not sitting at the table of our Lord. Can you?
One last thought: If it has been a while since you have communed with Christ, fear not! Your place at the table has not been taken away or given to someone else. It is simply sitting empty, and Everlasting Love is eagerly waiting to embrace you when you return.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!