In Berlin in 1908, a twenty-one-year-old Polish pianist Arthur Rubinstein was lonely, hungry and in debt, his career at an impasse. He felt there was nothing left for him but suicide; the problem was finding a way. He had no gun, no poison, and the idea of jumping out of the window was revolting. ( "I might have to go on living with broken arms and legs," he explained.) He chose strangulation with a belt from his robe. He went into the bathroom, stood on a chair, and secured one end of the belt to an overhead hook. Then he tied the other end around his neck and kicked over the chair. The worn-out belt immediately came apart, and Rubinstein fell on the floor with a crash. For a time he lay where he had fallen, weeping. Later, going to the piano, he cried himself out in music. Afterwards, on the street, he saw the world as if reborn. The famed pianist never forgot what the experience taught him; "Love life," he said later, "for better or for worse, without conditions."
Is there any greater gift than the gift of having a second chance to live life anew? That was the gift that Jesus gave Lazarus. New life. As if to explain his action Jesus said, "I AM the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. . . ." That is the promise he has given us for the day. Jesus IS the resurrection and the life! It does not mean that we will not have our heart broken from time to time. But it does mean that if we are in Christ neither life nor death will ever defeat us, for the One who raised Lazarus from the dead will give us new life as well.