The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
John 11:32-37 is often visited. Verse 35 wins the award for being the two-word verse in English versions. “Jesus wept.” Other than that, this passage is probably glossed over too quickly much of the time. I’d like to mention just three points in brief, hoping my mention will spur more consideration.
Notice how the Mary and Martha family had a lot of support during their time of loss? People had followed Mary from the house to the gravesite because they assumed she was going there to mourn. They were not going to let her face her brother’s death alone. I have observed many times that it is a funeral that brings a family, a church, even a whole community together. While we don’t make light of the reality of death, we do see that a funeral, and especially a meal together afterward, is a time of healing.
Again, notice that Jesus is not some sort of cardboard cut-out superhero macho cool guy who is not moved by genuine human emotions. He is the complete man. His friend has died. His other friends are distraught. It is sad. Jesus understands sorrow. He understands pain. He understands all the depth of suffering we confront. And notice that I said he “understands” it. Sometimes we don’t understand it. We “confront” but often without knowing the depth of sorrow. Jesus is really man. He understands.
Finally, notice how the people gathered around know Jesus’ reputation. He is the one who is able to heal. He is the great teacher. Surely he can do something. All too often we confess belief in Christ but we deny that he would be able to do anything. Maybe he wouldn’t care. Maybe we are just fatalists. But the people gathered around Lazarus’ tomb knew that Jesus was able to take care of things.
As we read on we will see how the rest of the events play out. We will find that Jesus is indeed able to take care of things. He still can.
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