John’s eleventh chapter is about the story of Lazarus. It is last of the signs that Jesus performs in the section of John’s gospel which bible scholars call “The Book of Signs.” I have discussed elsewhere three levels of meaning one can find in the text. In verse 34, one finds Jesus asking “Where did you lay him?” While Lazarus was dying, Jesus did not immediately come. Instead, he tarried where he was saying “This will not end in death. This happens so that the Son may be glorified through it.” Through death, the Son will be glorified, just as he would be when His hour come. Through the death of Lazarus, Jesus will perform the sign that all have been waiting for: “the resurrection of the last day.” But when Jesus comes, he comes not only as the Messiah, but also the friend of Lazarus, distraught at his demise. “Lord, come and see”, answered Martha. “Come and see the reason of our grief; come and see the reason for our tears. In Chapter 1, at the beginning of the Gospel, it was Jesus who, when asked by the disciples “Where do you live?” answered “Come and see.” (1:39) He wanted his disciples to see where he “remained”; his “home”, that is, the Word of the Father. Again, when Nathanael asks who Jesus was, Philip answers “Come and see.” (1:46)
The “Come-and-see” of the first chapter is an invitation to discipleship: of seeing the Lord and remaining with Him. In Chapter 11, it is Martha, sister of Lazarus who invites the Lord to look at human misery, the death to which men and women are condemned. The Lord was “deeply troubled” and “he wept.” In the face of death, even God cries; before the grief of humanity, even God sheds a tear. “If you’ve seen me, Philip, you’ve seen the Father,” Jesus would say later on (14:9). If Jesus wept, the Father also weeps. Later on, when Jesus ascends the throne of the Cross, He would take upon Himself all of humanity’s grief and — in the words of Paul — affix it on the wood of the tree; and affixing it on the Cross, he would transform His own suffering and death into an occassion.for life.
Originally posted 2005-03-12 05:16:08. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
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