Friday after Exaudi
Scripture: St. John 11:28-44 (NKJV)
28 And when she had said these things, she went her way and secretly called Mary her sister, saying, “The Teacher has come and is calling for you.” 29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to Him.
30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the town, but was in the place where Martha met Him. 31 Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and comforting her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, “She is going to the tomb to weep there.” 32 Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. 34 And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!” 37 And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?” 38 Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”
41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” 44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”
Jesus is not troubled by death. He is troubled by unbelief. He knew He would overcome death after He laid down His life for the sake of the world. He stated previously, “I am the resurrection and the life.” However, He is grieved by the faithlessness of His beloved people.
God loves the world and does not rejoice in the death of anyone. He made the world good and sinless because He wanted mankind to enjoy the blessings of His benevolence for all time. But sinful faithlessness brought death and more faithlessness into the world. That is what grieved our Lord. He blesses us, seeks to restore us, and even lays His own life down for us, yet we continue as though we are blind and deaf, resisting His Spirit.
The resurrection of Lazarus was an important miracle for two reasons. First, it showed that Jesus did indeed have power over life and death. Faithful Martha knew He had this power, which would be manifest at the resurrection of all flesh. But He also used the opportunity to show He also had such power at that time, emphasizing that the Father does hear Him, because He and the Father are one. Second, this miracle gave a sort of preview of His own resurrection. His own grave would be a cave with a stone over the doorway; and He would be wrapped in linens. But no one would need to move the stone and call Him forth, nor would anyone need to loose Him from His graveclothes. He would free Himself from these restrictions as He would raise Himself from death!
Let us give thanks to God that our Savior does show us great patience and mercy as He teaches us to have faith in the life we receive by His death and resurrection. Amen.