Synaxarion – Lazarus Saturday
(Taken from the Maronite Divine Praises)
As the season of Great Lent draws to a close the Church turns to the person of Lazarus and the story of his resurrection from the dead. Lazarus was the brother of Mary and Martha and lived in the town of Bethany. Lazarus and his sisters were friends of Jesus and always offered him hospitality when he was in the area.
The sickness and death of Lazarus is the occasion for Christ to perform a miracle which would clearly show his messianic power. As a result of this miracle God’s son would be glorified and his power over death would be manifested.
This miracle is a crowning of all the other miracles of Christ for it reminds us as we prepare to follow Christ up to Jerusalem, where he will suffer and be crucified, that death has no power over him, the Lord and giver and life. Lazarus Saturday is thus clearly meant to console and strengthen us and arouse in us the same faith that Jesus called forth from Martha:
“I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me,
though he should die, will come to life;
and whoever is alive and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
Even as we face the death of Christ on the cross we are asked to profess our faith in him who will rise to glory on Easter morning.
Lazarus is also a reminder for us that we will not suffer eternal death if we are faithful to him, but rather, we will rise to eternal life in the Lord. Death, for Christ’s faithful, no longer is to be feared, it has no power over us.