Saturday, April 4

Reader: “Did I not tell you that if you believed,”

Response: “you would see the glory of God?”

Scripture: John 11:36-45

Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him! But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” 

Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, (literally, “he already stinks!”) for he has been there four days.”

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 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.”

When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 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.” 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.

Some thoughts:
Mary, Martha, and the mourners get to see the rest of this story! Jesus enabled all of them to get to see the glory of God in raising Lazarus from the dead. In Jesus’ own resurrection from the dead, recall his empty grave clothes were left in the tomb, never to be needed or used again. In Lazarus’ case, he came out of the tomb wearing his grave clothes. Lazarus would need them again, not so with Jesus! Notice Jesus’ words as he prayed . . . “that they may believe that you sent me.” The point in the raising of Lazarus was that Mary, Martha, and their friends would discover who Jesus really was, the one sent from God on a mission to bring redemption, the one with victory over death. As a result of the raising of Lazarus, many more Jews put their trust in God. They had seen Jesus exercise power over death. Word spread. 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, as some witnesses to the raising of Lazarus made a beeline to the Pharisees to tell them what had happened. 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, they believed 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 it looks at any given moment in our life. If we continue to trust, we will see “the glory of God.”  The empty tombs of Lazarus and Jesus still speak!

Music:  “Steal Away”   Mahalia Jackson and Nat King Cole   None like her!        I can almost imagine Lazarus singing this song after being raised from the dead!

Lord Jesus, here I am again praying with words, words, and more words. I seem stuck with the same 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 on the cross, there would be no hope at all. I cannot begin to imagine what that would be like without you. I would be depressed and have to pretend that somehow life made sense, but based on what I wouldn’t know. To keep sane, I wouldn’t think about it but live for the moment getting lost in basketball or music or technology or . . . something. Thank you Lord, that is not the case! 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