Reading: John 11:1-37
Verse 33: “When Jesus saw her weeping… he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.”
We end our week with the story known as the raising of Lazarus. That’s the miracle in the passage. It begins with Mary and Martha asking Jesus to come: “Lord, the one you love is sick.” We read into their request an urgency. We can relate because maybe too often our prayers are lifted only when the situation has become urgent. At that point we too are like Mary and Martha: we want a speedy response. If things don’t turn out how we’d like or want, we too can toss up a “Lord if you had…” It is always hard to wait, to have patience, when we bring something important to God, especially if we feel that a response is urgent.
Jesus does show up. It’s just not in Mary or Martha’s preferred time frame. And it’s not the response they wanted – or so they initially think. First Martha comes and he assured her that he is “the resurrection and the life.” Yes, Lord, you are the Messiah. Then Mary comes, full of “if onlys” and filled with grief. It is here that we read, “When Jesus saw her weeping… he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.” He enters their pain and grief. Jesus becomes present in the midst of their sorrow. He is with those who believe. This too is our Jesus. In our pain and grief, in our anger and disappointments, in our loneliness and doubt, in all of life – Jesus is with us.
Yes, Lazarus will walk out of the grave. But in 5, 9, 17 years – he will die again. The pain and sorrow will return. And so will Jesus. In Spirit, he will comfort Mary and Martha once again. This is the good news of this story: Jesus is with us. He weeps with us. He comforts us. He lifts us up. Thanks be to God, Jesus is with us.
Prayer: Lord God, yes, you are present! In the highs, in the lows, and everywhere in between, you are there. You invite us into a personal relationship. You offer to all who believe abundant life now and life eternal. But you don’t wait until we die to become part of our lives. The moment we invite you into our hearts, you enter in and you take up residence. Thank you, Jesus. I need you every day and every hour. Thank you, Lord. Amen.