April 27, 2024

Christ, Lazarus and the Cross (Monk Moses the Athonite)

By Monk Moses the Athonite

The resurrection of Christ's friend Lazarus in Jerusalem a week before the Jewish Passover, where a crowd of celebrants had gathered for the feast, definitely increased Jesus' popularity. He did not cause it, He was not interested in it and He had no desire for self-advertisement and self-promotion. He never wanted to create noise around His person. He didn't want fans cheering and clapping. Nevertheless, the scribes, Pharisees and chief priests of the Jews became seriously worried.

The physically dead Lazarus came out of the tomb with a word from the Lord. The spiritually dead are very difficult to raise. All the spiritually dead considered the presence of Christ near them dangerous. They were afraid of being exposed, revealed and unmasked. They are meeting to exterminate Him by any means. They don't want to allow this miracle worker to bother them anymore, who spoils their plans and takes the people away from them, sowing weeds on their prestige and authority. They wanted to destroy Lazarus as well, so the people would forget the miracle. But it's not that easy.

Some think they defeated the miracle-giving and miracle-flowing Christ. The believers, however, kept extolling the miracles He performed in their lives. They welcomed Him with palms and loud cries of "Hosanna!" They constantly talked about the wondrous things in their lives. They sometimes become like donkeys for the "uncontainable one" to sit on. They too, like the donkey, become Christ-bearing, for their great humility.

The good sisters of Lazarus, Martha and Mary, were waiting for the visit of their teacher and friend Jesus, to heal their brother. They did not expect to see a resurrection. They remained stunned, speechless, admiring of the event. With them are many admirers of Jesus. After this greatest miracle, we could say that the popularity of Jesus had increased considerably. He had previously done two other resurrections of two young people, the son of the widow of Nain and the daughter of Jairus. In one week, however, we will have the unique event in history, the self-resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Christ does not desire popular uprisings in His favor. He is not a demagogue, rabble-rouser and artificially popular. The attention of people upon Him greatly disturbs His enemies. They do not tolerate the projection of anyone but their cruel hypocritical selves. They have fallen into a willful death and do not understand that they dwell in unlit and stinking graves. Their graves are full of treachery, malice and aggression. They do not desire bright light. They fear the revelation of their dark deeds. The projection of Christ that excited, magnetized and seduced the crowds is unacceptable to them. They must quickly squash it. It destroys what they have woven for so many years and is now in danger of being lost.

The mere presence of Christ disturbs them unimaginably. Much more His miracles. Thus, His extermination is now necessary for them. So the Jews meet and decide to definitely kill the God-Man. The people with the palms welcome the Messiah with joy. They take to the streets and shout "Hosanna!" No one can restrain them in their spontaneous manifestations. But in a little while the same mouths, incited and misguided, will cry out the horrible "Crucify Him!"

The cheered one comes to Jerusalem to be crucified. He knows where He is going. He is progressing steadily. Voluntarily. The dispassionate one comes for those who are passionate, the sinless one for us sinners. The king of the Jews, the king of glory, the king of creation enters the holy city on a donkey and not in a golden chariot. His dispassion does not move the passions of the Jews, but also many Christians, who continue to diligently cultivate wild passions and deny the cross in their lives. On the cross let us crucify our passions and bury them, so that they can be transformed into holy virtues.

Source: From the newspaper ΜΑΚΕΔΟΝΙΑ (April 17, 2011). Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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