“. . . see the glory of God.”
Scripture John 11:36-45
36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him.”
Reader: This is the word of the Lord. Response: Thanks be to God.
Mary, Martha, and the mourners get to see the rest of the story! Jesus enabled all of them to see the glory of God in his raising Lazarus from the dead. As a result many more Jews put their trust in God. They had seen someone with power over death. Think of it. An inanimate thing such as death, the ceasing of all bodily functions, is subject to one man who actually has power over natural processes. And, the people standing around saw this actually happen. To many people who saw it happen believed in Jesus! But this victory, while bringing joy to many, also was hugely significant in moving things ahead to the completion of God’s plan for redeeming the world. Because of jealousy and hatred from the Jewish leaders, because the status quo and positions of power and influence of the Romans were all being challenged by this itinerant carpenter from Nazareth, Jesus had to be killed. On still a grander scale yet with the crucifixion and death of Jesus, it appears that God missed it again, that things did not turn out as they should have. If anything, we are shown again and again and again in the life of Jesus, that we can trust the Father regardless of how the situation looks at any given moment then or in our life today. If we continue to trust in “thy will be done,” we will see “the glory of God.” The empty tomb still speaks!
Music: “Hark! I Hear the Harps Eternal” Robert Shaw Chorale An American folk hymn on the journey from this world to the next! Note “crossing the river” motif.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, here I am again praying with words, words, and more words. I seem stuck with the same old ones all the time. I have trouble finding the right ones to express my love and complete gratitude for what you have done and continue to do on my behalf. Words are so limiting! If you had not done what you did, there would be no hope at all. I cannot begin to imagine what that would be like. I very much connect with Paul Gerhardt’s phrase, “What language shall I borrow to thank thee dearest friend, for this thy dying sorrow, thy pity without end?” I still don’t have words, but please listen to my heart, it’s trying to tell you what’s in there. This I pray as Jesus intercedes on my behalf, my loving Lord. Amen.
―Daniel Sharp, 2009