Blogging Towards Sunday, July 10, 2011
Chosen by a member of my church community as a challenging Bible passage, this story contains the shortest verse in the whole Bible: John 11:35 “Jesus wept.” In this story of the raising of Lazarus from the dead, we also see the encounter of Jesus with Lazarus’ sisters. The story points to the power of Jesus over death, to Jesus as more than just a human being – as the power of God divine incarnate in the human condition. But the text just might ask more questions of us and our faith, then supply us with answers. Why does Jesus weep? Why didn’t he heal Lazarus before he died? If Jesus was divine, wouldn’t he also know what would happen?
While those questions are poignant they also can distract us from the deeper level of the story: Jesus weeps at the death of his friend. He who can heal the sick, chase off demons, feed the hungry and even raise the dead, feels emotions. His friendship with Lazarus was such that the though of losing it rips his hearts in two. He doesn’t just shed a tear, or ask for a Kleenex, he weeps, a wailing bitter sadness, an audible brokenness at the experience of loss. The philosophical questions about the limits and extent of Jesus’ miraculous power are interesting to discuss, but the passage invites us more than to just debate. Jesus models a radical deep love of others, specifically of Lazarus. He who is above all, didn’t deem himself to be separate from creation, but rather called to relationship, intimately involved within the intricate web of relationships that we also navigate as part of our human condition. Jesus love isn’t from a remote place on high, but is a risky love, lived and given in the concrete reality of daily life.
· What word, image or phrase in this passage grabs your attention?
· How does that word, image or phrase touch your life and what you’re living or wrestling with these days?
· How do you hear the Spirit of God inviting you – or us as a church – to act, speak or be through this passage?
· How do you struggle to follow Jesus in your relationships & community life?
· How do you need God to heal, transform or liberate your relationships?