A man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Master, the one you love so very much is sick.” When Jesus got the message, he said, “This sickness is not fatal. It will become an occasion to show God’s glory by glorifying God’s Son.”
After two days, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.”. When Jesus finally got there, he found Lazarus already four days dead.
Martha heard Jesus was coming and went out to meet him. Mary remained in the house. Martha said, “Master, if you’d been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. Even now, I know that whatever you ask God he will give you.” Jesus said, “Your brother will be raised up.” Martha replied, “I know that he will be raised up in the resurrection at the end of time.”
“You don’t have to wait for the End. I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Master. All along I have believed that you are the Messiah, the Son of God who comes into the world.”
When Jesus saw her sobbing and the Jews with her sobbing, a deep anger welled up within him. He said, “Where did you put him?” Master, come and see,” they said. Now Jesus wept. The Jews said, “Look how deeply he loved him.” Others among them said, “Well, if he loved him so much, why didn’t he do something to keep him from dying? After all, he opened the eyes of a blind man.” Then Jesus, the anger again welling up within him, arrived at the tomb. It was a simple cave in the hillside with a slab of stone laid against it. Jesus said, “Remove the stone.”
The sister of the dead man, Martha, said, “Master, by this time there’s a stench. He’s been dead four days!” Jesus looked her in the eye. “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” Then, to the others, “Go ahead, take away the stone.”
They removed the stone. Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and prayed, “Father, I’m grateful that you have listened to me. I know you always do listen, but on account of this crowd standing here I’ve spoken so that they might believe that you sent me.”
Then he shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And he came out, a cadaver, wrapped from head to toe, and with a kerchief over his face. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him loose.”
When people read this they say they see a new side of Jesus. Like seeing other sides to a friend. Never knew he was like that. Jesus weeping over the death of his friend! A real human being, son of God, God of heaven, man of the earth.
Then the heart of Jesus – a human heart. He liked friends and he found a home, a safe place with them. Just over the hill and away from the mob. Picture him there – the talk, the chat, the prayers, the love. And endless refreshment and love, more love. That’s Jesus.
And for us – is Jesus this type of person? The one who can share a laugh, eat a scone, have a drink or a cuppa. The one who’d give a wink at the sign of peace. And not so all so serious about religion. Sad saints are the bane of our lives. He is a good friend. Friendship gives new spirit.
When life is over we will thank for friends and regret the way we have drifted or hurt each other. Friendship is when another’s thoughts become at least or more important than my own. Jesus needed friends. No harm to say we need friends. And they needed him. He was in their love. In every friendship he is the third. Wherever there is real and genuine love no matter who or what the people are, God is there, the source of love. Family, marriage, friendship of all kinds. The moments of real love, of real care for another – God is there.
So the resurrection and the life is not just for after death. It is for now. We raise each other up in friendship and in love. In that is the grace now of the Lord, himself a friend, for when we love, God lives in us.