Sunday 28 August 2022

John 11:28-44

28 Then she returned to Mary. She called Mary aside from the mourners and told her, “The Teacher is here and wants to see you.” 29 So Mary immediately went to him. 30 Jesus had stayed outside the village, at the place where Martha met him. 31 When the people who were at the house consoling Mary saw her leave so hastily, they assumed she was going to Lazarus’s grave to weep. So they followed her there. 32 When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled. 34 “Where have you put him?” he asked them. They told him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Then Jesus wept. 36 The people who were standing nearby said, “See how much he loved him!” 37 But some said, “This man healed a blind man. Couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?” 38 Jesus was still angry as he arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. 39 “Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them. But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.” 40 Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” 41 So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. 42 You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.” 43 Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!”

Now grief is something I am very familiar with. However, we are all affected by grief at many points in our lives- whether it’s the loss of someone we love or have connection to, or maybe we experience the loss of a dream, a goal, a relationship or an item that is precious or important. Whatever the case these losses invoke a response in us that is emotional, physical and mental. Jesus and his friends are here confronted by the loss of Lazarus, and their grief is profound. What I notice is that Mary’s faith in Jesus was not dependent on the outcome- she didn’t ask for a miracle, but she knew He was capable of it none the less. Secondly Jesus/God was greatly moved by the grief. In the same way I believe Jesus demonstrates his love and compassion to us when we are hurting. Just as he did not abandon Mary and Martha, neither does He abandon us in our despair. Jesus never tells Mary not to cry- he is moved by her grief and honesty but not uncomfortable with it. Lastly Jesus allowing Jesus into the situation brings the unexpected. Mary expected a really bad smell, but Jesus bought life. We can be real with God about our feelings and disappointment, but it’s also good to always allow God to move.

Heavenly Father, thank you that you are always close to me even when I can feel you. I thank you that in all things and at all times we can trust you to love and care for me. I ask for strength to keep going when I feel lost and help me to see your hand at work. In Jesus name I pray. Amen

Written by Christine Knight

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