“Jesus said: I am the resurrection. Anyone who believes in me, even though that person dies, will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26
This Gospel of John is perfect for Lent as it is the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. It has many varied and important implications concerning life, death, and resurrection; not the least of which is that Jesus, Himself, states, “I am the resurrection.” And continuing, He gives us the road map to salvation, “Anyone who believes in me, even though that person dies, will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”
One of the things I love the most about this Gospel from John is found in these two statements, “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus,” and “Jesus wept.” In both of these statements we see Jesus in a human way, loving just as we do. His love for the three friends is not just Divine Love for children of God, but also a love from humanness. Jesus and the three have developed a real friendship, a real affection for one another, and He knows their relationship is about to be put to the test.
Imagine how hard it must have been for Jesus to delay, and for those with Him to understand why He did not immediately go to His friends: “yet when he heard that he was ill he stayed where he was for two more days before saying to the disciples, ‘Let us go back to Judaea.” (John 11:6-7) When someone you love is dying, the very first instinct is to run to them, to be by their side. The humanness in Jesus must have wanted to do just that. He knew His friends, Martha and Mary, would be sick with worry about their brother Lazarus. He knew they would want Him to be there. However, the Divinity in Jesus knew there was a greater story to be told than just one of human love and friendship. He would have to let His friends suffer in order to bring them the ultimate gifts: the resurrection of their beloved brother, and ultimately His own. Jesus knew Lazarus would have to be sacrificed so that others could witness the greater Glory of God, and believe in Him who was sent by God.
When He finally arrives, both Martha and Mary say to Him separately, that if He would have come earlier, Lazarus would not have had to die. They knew that Jesus could save Lazarus. In seeing the grief of the two sisters, because He loved both of them and Lazarus, He wept too. He knew exactly what this delay had cost them. He loved them humanly, yet divinely enough to use them to achieve His Father’s purpose. There is something very comforting, very fulfilling, in a Savior who loves me humanly, and yet divinely enough to sacrifice all for me.
“So they took the stone away. Then Jesus lifted up his eyes and said: Father, I thank you for hearing my prayer. I myself knew that you hear me always, but I speak for the sake of all those who are standing around me, so that they may believe it was you who sent me.” John 11:41-42