WEEK ONE•DAY TWO
There are many details of this story that easily perplex us. Perhaps the most blaring question is, why does Jesus wait two days before traveling nearby to see his dear friend, Lazarus, who is ill? On the other hand, there are some details that seem more straightforward and therefore cause us to engage them less. For example, when Jesus encounters the mourners, we have the well known line: “Jesus began to weep” (John 11:35). This phrase has become the tagline for Jesus’ share in human emotions and his deep capacity for empathy and grief. Yet this instance of tears that Jesus sheds does not so obviously convey grief over the loss of his friend, because Jesus is about to raise Lazarus from the dead after all. Instead, the passage says “he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved” (John 11:33). He was grieved by their resignation to the finality of Lazarus’ death, by their allowance for death to have the final say.
Jesus came to liberate humanity from the grips of the death—both physically and spiritually. Exclaiming that he is both the Resurrection and the life, he promises not only to resurrect our bodies on the last day but also that each setback we have in life need not send us in a tailspin to a premature death. Belief in Christ and his promises are integral to abiding in the fullness of life. Even though we may continue to question Jesus’ timing and have different ideas of when and how he should act in our lives, let us remain confident that he will act.
Rachel Gabelman is a Master of Divinity candidate at Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary. She serves as a graduate assistant with Seeing the Word.