Last night I slept like the dead. Unlike the dead, I woke up feeling great. So I guess I slept more like Jesus.
I shared that with some friends on a blog, and in a torrent of responses it was suggested that I probably slept more like Lazarus. I suppose it was too much for my friends to think I might do anything like Jesus.
Lay down your pitchforks and snuff your torches. I didn’t say I was like Jesus. As close as I ever got to being Jesus was when I wore my curly hair very long with a scruffy beard, and favored flowing linen and leather sandals. One morning in church a little girl looked at me sweetly and asked, “Are you Jesus?”
If she would have said “George Carlin” I would have lied and teased and pretended. I personally know three friends who have been struck by lightning. Clouds gathered over my head while a clear voice inside me advised, “Don’t even.”
“No, little angel,” I smiled. “I’m Michael. But Jesus thinks you’re a great little girl and He said to tell you hi.”
Should I have said I slept like a baby? When I owned Mick’s Music & Bar, I slept like a baby: I woke up screaming every two hours.
I once had a dream about Jesus. He was a woman, and lived in a sand castle. After She saved my life, by literally lifting me up, she gave me a kiss. I awoke and wrote it all down. So if you are inclined to torches and pitchforks, there you go.
I didn’t sleep like Lazarus. Lazarus, according to the New Testament story, went to bed gravely ill. He sent for his friend Jesus to visit him. Jesus, trolling about another town, promised to go but dawdled in the crush of admirers. By the time he arrived at the home of Lazarus, he was harshly informed by the poor man’s shrill wife that Lazarus had been dead in his tomb for four days, and who do you think you are? and, so—now you’re too good to visit your dying friend? Shame!
Jesus did what any man would do under such a blistering admonition: He squirmed. “Dead? Nobody’s dead,” Jesus shrugged innocently. “Lazarus isn’t dead.” They rolled away the stone, and out stumbled a bleary, cloth-wrapped Lazarus, feeling his way blindly out of the cave to many ooohs and ahhhs. Neat trick.
My mind reels at all the trouble I could have avoided if I could just change the circumstances after the fact. “I didn’t forget your anniversary, honey! Look—[pling!] our anniversary is tomorrow!”
Of all the miracles Jesus performed—healing the sick, feeding the hordes, water to wine—this seems to be the only stunt he pulled to get himself out of a jam. Yes, he walked on water, but that was to prove a point. He didn’t jump out of the storm-swamped boat to save himself. After he gave his friends a good scare and gave a little speech, he got back in the boat.
You could argue that he blew life back into Lazarus to impress the onlooking Jews, many of whom converted on the spot. But they would have been just as impressed if Jesus had turned the yelling woman into a slab of salt.
As a child I learned a song about “Lazarus was a wee little man…” I try to remember it but I always end up singing the words to “Old King Cole.”
Jesus arose. Lazarus was awoken by Jesus.
I woke up alone.