So here we have that well known story about Lazarus.
In short he gets ill no-one comes and he dies but , of course , that is not the end of things . We know that Jesus brought him back to life .
Now we could look at this as just another Story about the wonderful things Jesus did and often that’s where people go but today I want to take a look from a just a different angle.
Who do we have here ?
Firstly poor old Lazarus – although I don’t know how old he was at this point !
Then we have his sisters Mary and Martha along with various maybe relatives and friends – not forgetting those important people the professional mourners , I guess the modern equivalent would be the funeral directors .
Finally we have Jesus and the disciples.
The story starts a little before our reading but that is just a scene setter . Jesus is somewhere out of town with the disciples . He gets a message that his mate Lazarus is seriously ill so what does he do ? he carries on with what he has in hand.
A few days later he decides to respond by going to see Lazarus – so you think well either he didn’t think Lazarus was that ill or he wasn’t that close .
Finally he arrives and Lazarus has been in the grave 4 days. Well Martha comes to meet him and is pretty blunt- she says If you had come when we sent for you My Brother would not have died but I know that whatever you ask now God will grant (what faith !)
You’d think that Jesus would be very apologetic and get on with whatever he thought he could do but No! he starts a theological discussion with Martha about the resurrection . I should think by now Martha and maybe some of the others are getting a bit fed up with the delay- they want to get back to the funeral .
So Jesus re-iterates who he is and at that Martha fetches Mary , who is equally blunt with Jesus .
At this point Jesus gets all emotional and cries for his friend, which makes the rest of the people start to ask why , given what he has already done couldn’t he come and save Lazarus .
Jesus asks where is he and is shown but warned that the decaying body will stink.
We know that Jesus then calls Lazarus out of the tomb and he comes – still in his shroud. Jesus just says ‘ take the shroud off – only hope they had left some clothes on underneath !.
What I wonder were the responses of the sisters – well they certainly thought he’d drop everything and come . I wonder how disappointed they were when he didn’t and then when Lazarus came out of the tomb after 4days how did they feel . I wonder how Lazarus felt suddenly not dead anymore .
These are things I think we all experience in our walk with Jesus .
Sometimes we ask for some help or something to be done and it just doesn’t happen -. do we feel well where is Jesus , do I have to pray louder or in a different way .
I wonder what we expect of Jesus – after all we follow him the best we can ( or think we do) .
What is our response at our experience of no show . Is it , well if that’s how much you care I give up.
Of course our perception of ‘ no show’ is simply that a perception.
Do we do the same as Martha and Mary and say why weren’t you /are you here?
Do we go on to tell others that it’s all not worth it .
What about what happened to Lazarus . I think he would have been maybe bewildered but really glad . It’s that feeling ( if you’ve ever had it ) that I’ve had where you lose consciousness in one hospital and then come round in a different one.
Someone’s looking out for me and that is my best friend Jesus , even when I don’t think he’s there he is .
How do we respond to our experiences of Jesus .
We need to realise that whatever happens Jesus is NEVER going to leave us to fate / destiny or whatever you want to call it .
We need to get closer , close enough to realise this truth and we need to tell those we meet .
Even in a position like Lazarus was Jesus will always be there for us .
This is something so wonderful it is too good to keep to ourselves it is something we need to share with those we meet day to day .
To tell them that Jesus can be there for them , however bad they think things are – just as he’s there for us and how good it feels to know that our best mate Jesus is always there for us and them . he will NEVER let us down!