In this passage we meet 3 siblings. People who are Jesus’ friends and are deeply loved by him. The story opens with Lazarus in the tomb for four days. Death, grief and devastation. Martha, Mary and Lazarus interact with Jesus in different ways. Jesus also responds in different ways – tailoring his response to the person’s needs, each one reveals his glory, each one cares for the person in their immediate need and therefore each one is a microcosm of his greater agenda – of what he is seeking to do on a cosmic eternal scale.
Imagine the scene, a house, a tomb, the grief, the destitution, a journey that allowed Martha to know when Jesus was close.
Martha – out of the house immediately asking questions, responding to what Jesus has said, talking, going backwards and forwards.
Take a moment. Carefully and with compassion, watch & listen again to Martha and Jesus.
Mary – is inside the home & then quickly goes to Jesus. Mary is prostrated with grief, she is weeping.
Take a moment. Carefully and with compassion, watch & see again what Jesus does alongside Mary.
Lazarus – is in the tomb. Silent. Dead. (John 11:14) Wrapped in grave clothes.
Take a moment. Carefully and with compassion, watch & see again what Jesus does for Lazarus.
Martha, Mary & Lazarus – have different needs & Jesus responds to them in different ways. Consider the differences and why this is the case.
Look at vs. 40-42 – consider the cosmic, greater purpose that is being revealed.
Our story closes with the command “Take off the grave clothes and let him go” – where are your grave clothes?
James, Carolyn Custis When Life and Beliefs Collide : How Knowing God Makes a Difference
Original artwork © Katherine Dahler 2020 used with permission from artist.