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Showing posts from April 18, 2021

Jesus Raises Lazarus (John 11:38-44)

 Jesus is still very emotional when he arrives at the cave where Lazarus is buried. He orders that the stone be removed. Martha asks him if he realizes that the smell is going to be bad after four days. Jesus, however, has the glory of God in mind. They take away the stone, and Jesus begins to pray. Jesus thanks the Father for hearing him, but he notes that the Father always hears him. He says that he's praying this prayer for the sake of the people watching, so that they might know that the Father sent him. "Lazarus, come out." Lazarus comes to life again, and Jesus orders that they unbind the formerly dead man, and let him live his life. I suppose there are a lot of us who have read this story before, and so we're used to it. But seriously, we don't hear stories of dead people coming to life again very often. And Jesus did it by His own power; it wasn't a mystery, or a quirky medical oversight. This was a bonafide miracle. Even though this was not the resurr

Jesus Wept (John 11:28-37)

 After Martha confessed Jesus to be the Son of God who has come into the world, she left, going back home to get her sister Mary. Jesus was still outside of town, and Mary met him there, in the same place where Martha came to meet him. People had seen Mary get up quickly to go somewhere, so they followed her. When Mary said a similar thing to what Martha had said, that Lazarus would not have died if Jesus had been there earlier, the emotion of it moved Jesus deeply. He asked to see the grave, and where they had laid Lazarus. Jesus has a human soul, just like you and me. We know that it's tough to keep our emotional control, when our loved ones are very sad. Jesus went to the grave of Lazarus, and he wept. This is another of those great mysteries. I think that--given what Jesus is about to do--it is a mystery worth contemplating. Death is so wrong, and the sorrow so deep, that the Son of God couldn't tolerate it for even a moment. We should be mindful of this, when we are tempte

Jesus and Martha Speak (John 11:17-27)

 When Jesus got there, Lazarus had been dead four days. They surely had many friends, neighbors, and well-wishers to console them. Martha went out to meet Jesus, while Mary stayed in the house. Martha believes enough in Jesus to wish that he had gotten there sooner. Maybe Lazarus wouldn't be dead. She still believes Jesus could do something, if he pleaded with God the Father. Jesus tells her that Lazarus will rise again, and she reasonably assumes that Jesus is talking about the resurrection of the dead at the end of time. Jesus says, "I am the resurrection and the life," and it is bold. Jesus is trying to tell us that he doesn't just have something to do with what we hope for; He is what we hope for. Martha confesses Jesus to be the Messiah, the Son of God.

Lazarus Dies (John 11:1-16)

 Lazarus was seriously sick, and his sisters Mary and Martha were obviously worried. Jesus knew them, and they may have been relatives. Jesus was informed by a message from the sisters that Lazarus was sick. The answer Jesus gives is strange, but they may have thought that Jesus knew Lazarus would survive. Jesus does the strangest thing next, upon finding out that Lazarus is sick: he stays where he is, not going to Bethany, to help Lazarus. Then Jesus tells the disciples that it's time to go back to Judea. They respond like sensible people, reminding him that they left Judea so that the authorities would not stone Jesus to death. Jesus responds with a parable, or what seems like a parable, because he could be saying that the authorities could only try something underhanded under the cover of night. I think the Jesus is saying that if you walk by the Light, it doesn't matter what others try to do against you. Jesus is the Light of the world. If he is with us in and in us, we can

Getting Away, But Still Finding Followers (John 10:40-42)

 We don't really know if Jesus remaining in that place would have been harmful to him, but we know that he got away, so that they wouldn't arrest him. He went back to the place where John the Baptist was baptizing, and if you remember, that was basically the place where Jesus started his ministry, and announced himself to the world. I think one of the reasons why St. John records the people saying that John the Baptist "did no sign" is to emphasize that John the Baptist was not testifying about himself; his whole purpose was to tell us about Jesus. (See John 3:29-30) Maybe being away from large crowds and the hostile leadership allowed people to judge for themselves about Jesus. And St. John tells us that many believed in Jesus there.

Jesus The Blasphemer? (John 10:31-39)

It's hard to miss that the opponents of Jesus believed him to be a blasphemer. They are supposed to stone anyone who commits blasphemy. Jesus wants the audience to look at the works he does, and by those works, to see the work of the Father, and the sending of the Son by the Father. By quoting the Psalms here, Jesus is pointing out that the sons and daughters of God are like God, and we might seem like gods ourselves. The stakes are pretty high: if these leaders reject the Messiah, then we have a broken covenant, and God must again forgive. If Jesus is not telling the truth, we have no reason to be Christians. Christians adore Jesus as God, as the only-begotten Son of the Father. I think a lot of people think being a Christian involves a lot of rules, and effort at good behavior. There is some of that, which is common in all religions. But the reason we pursue holiness is important. If God in Christ has redeemed us from sin and death, and the Father has made us part of his family b

Arguing on the Feast of Dedication (John 10:22-30)

 We know the Feast of Dedication more commonly as Hanukkah. There were several attempts to throw off the foreign domination suffered by Israel even after they came back into the land after the exile. Even in the time of Jesus, they had not fully succeeded. The opponents of Jesus asked him to tell them plainly if he is the Christ, also known as the Messiah. He says he already told them, but they do not believe. In fairness, we have already seen that it takes a certain kind of spiritual sight to see Jesus as he intends us to see him. But once we know what Jesus and St. John are saying, then we are understanding Jesus in this spiritual way. Jesus knows who his sheep are, and so he doesn't hesitate to speak bluntly with those who oppose him, knowing that they are not confused or misguided. We who are the sheep of Jesus will never be snatched out of his hand, and we will be given eternal life from him. He also says that no one can snatch us out of the Father's hand, either. Jesus re