Happy 5th Sunday of Lent, we have almost made it, the feast of the Resurrection is almost here, don’t give up, we’re all in this together, right? Today at a local parish we celebrated the third Scrutiny since we are having converts coming into the Church for Easter. Something, gave me the desire to write this passage down; as I find it so important to remember in myself that we are all trying to find the glory of God in the midst of our trials and sufferings. This is where we need to place our complete trust in the one who created us, for his purpose and not our own. I sometimes try to figure this out myself, but it is like a dog chasing its tail, I must trust and that is it. Kind of like a little child trusting the parent that says, “No, you must be patient and wait”, and so it goes…
The Message (MSG)
The Death of Lazarus
1-3A man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. This was the same Mary who massaged the Lord’s feet with aromatic oils and then wiped them with her hair. It was her brother Lazarus who was sick. So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Master, the one you love so very much is sick.”
4When Jesus got the message, he said, “This sickness is not fatal. It will become an occasion to show God’s glory by glorifying God’s Son.”
5-7Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, but oddly, when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed on where he was for two more days. After the two days, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.”
8They said, “Rabbi, you can’t do that. The Jews are out to kill you, and you’re going back?”
9-10Jesus replied, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in daylight doesn’t stumble because there’s plenty of light from the sun. Walking at night, he might very well stumble because he can’t see where he’s going.”
11He said these things, and then announced, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep. I’m going to wake him up.”
12-13The disciples said, “Master, if he’s gone to sleep, he’ll get a good rest and wake up feeling fine.” Jesus was talking about death, while his disciples thought he was talking about taking a nap.
14-15Then Jesus became explicit: “Lazarus died. And I am glad for your sakes that I wasn’t there. You’re about to be given new grounds for believing. Now let’s go to him.”
Go to – http://www.comeandseeicons.com/icxc/cst03.jpg and reflect over this icon image of The Resurrection of Lazarus
16That’s when Thomas, the one called the Twin, said to his companions, “Come along. We might as well die with him.”
17-20When Jesus finally got there, he found Lazarus already four days dead. Bethany was near Jerusalem, only a couple of miles away, and many of the Jews were visiting Martha and Mary, sympathizing with them over their brother. Martha heard Jesus was coming and went out to meet him. Mary remained in the house.
21-22Martha said, “Master, if you’d been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. Even now, I know that whatever you ask God he will give you.”
23Jesus said, “Your brother will be raised up.”
24Martha replied, “I know that he will be raised up in the resurrection at the end of time.”
25-26“You don’t have to wait for the End. I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all. Do you believe this?”
27“Yes, Master. All along I have believed that you are the Messiah, the Son of God who comes into the world.”
28After saying this, she went to her sister Mary and whispered in her ear, “The Teacher is here and is asking for you.”
29-32The moment she heard that, she jumped up and ran out to him. Jesus had not yet entered the town but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When her sympathizing Jewish friends saw Mary run off, they followed her, thinking she was on her way to the tomb to weep there. Mary came to where Jesus was waiting and fell at his feet, saying, “Master, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33-34When Jesus saw her sobbing and the Jews with her sobbing, a deep anger welled up within him. He said, “Where did you put him?”
34-35“Master, come and see,” they said. Now Jesus wept.
36The Jews said, “Look how deeply he loved him.”
37Others among them said, “Well, if he loved him so much, why didn’t he do something to keep him from dying? After all, he opened the eyes of a blind man.”
38-39Then Jesus, the anger again welling up within him, arrived at the tomb. It was a simple cave in the hillside with a slab of stone laid against it. Jesus said, “Remove the stone.”
The sister of the dead man, Martha, said, “Master, by this time there’s a stench. He’s been dead four days!”
40Jesus looked her in the eye. “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
41-42Then, to the others, “Go ahead, take away the stone.”
They removed the stone. Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and prayed, “Father, I’m grateful that you have listened to me. I know you always do listen, but on account of this crowd standing here I’ve spoken so that they might believe that you sent me.”
43-44Then he shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And he came out, a cadaver, wrapped from head to toe, and with a kerchief over his face.
Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him loose.”
The Man Who Creates God-Signs
45-48That was a turnaround for many of the Jews who were with Mary. They saw what Jesus did, and believed in him. But some went back to the Pharisees and told on Jesus. The high priests and Pharisees called a meeting of the Jewish ruling body. “What do we do now?” they asked. “This man keeps on doing things, creating God-signs. If we let him go on, pretty soon everyone will be believing in him and the Romans will come and remove what little power and privilege we still have.”
For further reflection:
In this study, we shall examine Jesus’ statement that He is the Good Shepherd, as Jesus gives seven “ I AM” statements in this Gospel, which are a key theme for understanding who Jesus is and what His mission is all about. The raising of Lazarus from the dead is the most powerful sign performed in Jesus’ ministry, anticipating Jesus’ own resurrection and the final resurrection of the dead. The story relates the challenge of having a radical faith in Jesus, seen through the reactions of Martha and Mary. Here we will explore the important theme of faith.