Have you ever found yourself in a position where your mistakes are irreversible or the situation hopeless? It could be the death of a loved one, your personal failure which led to irreversible consequences or even handling a difficult child or ageing parent.
Nothing could have been worse for Mary and Martha when their dearly loved brother died. The sisters had sent a message two days before his death, asking Jesus to come. They made a desperate request, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” They were expecting something out of their Lord, they believed that their bond between siblings and Jesus was close enough and therefore had the freedom to ask freely. It was also an appeal to Jesus’ compassion… He whom you love is ill…
Have you ever pleaded with the Lord for something? For hours? Days? Months and years? Don’t despise a few hours of fretting as compared to days of suffering… Three hours can seem like forever if your child goes missing or your loved one is in the operating theatre undergoing major surgery…
Well, Jesus response was to tarry. John 11:5 says “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus”, but what was His response? He stayed longer in the place where he was! Seems like dear Jesus was dilly-dallying. Have you ever felt like God was too busy? Or you begin to think it’s the lack of faith that causes unanswered prayer…
When Jesus finally arrived at the hometown of Lazarus, Lazarus had already been dead for four days. Now Mr L could not have been any deader, for want of a better word. 🙂 Martha said, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” I can hear the grief in her voice, disappointment, and maybe even slight resentment at Jesus’ apparent apathy towards their pain and desperation.
Jesus continued by saying, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha must have felt quite irritated by now, and replied, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” There are times when we feel frustrated, tired of being given cliche answers… Here are some samples – “God has a purpose and plan for you, just trust Him.” “He has gone to a better place.” “Look at the brighter side of things”… Haha, annoying isn’t it when people do not seem to understand your pain and throw out careless, thoughtless advice.
Jesus, still patient and unfazed by Martha’s emotional state continued, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” Martha replied, “Yes Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
Martha called for Mary who then quickly left her home and ran to the village street where Jesus was. When Mary saw Jesus, she fell to His feet and wept. “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her weeping, along with her Jewish companions, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. (John 11:33) What was in Jesus’ mind? Deep grief and love for His brethren. Very likely, He was also thinking about His impending death on the cross. Anger could have been present too, anger at death and the thought of how He would be the answer to conquering death and evil…
Jesus wept. Jesus wept.
What sacred words. Our Lord. Whom we judge as far away, inattentive, too busy, neglectful.
Our shepherd weeps. He hurts. Do we even feel His pain, or are we so focused on our own pains and sufferings? Do we share our Lord’s grief when we see our fellow brethren suffer, when we see injustice in this world, poverty, suffering, brokenness in families? Maybe we are the ones who are really apathetic.
The story goes on about how Jesus commands Lazarus to arise… and how a miracle was performed that day.
My purpose in this post is to draw more attention to what happened prior to the miracle, because that’s where many of our struggles lie. We focus so much on wanting answers and solutions, when God is really more interested in the journey of our faith. If we resist these challenges, we will fail to learn about His goodness and character. We will fail to see His loving provision even in the moments of silence.
Let these moments of desperation, despondency, utter helplessness throw us down at the feet of Jesus. And lest we forget His humaneness, ponder on these words – Jesus wept.