Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Dividing Point

Jesus went about doing good. He was known for doing all things well. One day, Jesus did something a little too well. It would cost him.

Here's what happened. Jesus had received news that his friend Lazarus was ill, and he took his sweet time going back to Bethany to visit. By the time Jesus arrived on the scene, Lazarus was dead and buried. Lazarus' sisters, Mary and Martha, were at once sorrowing and casting blame on Jesus: "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." How could they be so sure? God is everywhere, and people die every day.

But Jesus was so moved with compassion for Mary, Martha and Lazarus that he wept. Or did Jesus weep because he was about to call a man back from paradise? Whatever his reason for weeping, this endears Jesus to us each time we read the Eleventh Chapter of John's Gospel.

Some people in Jesus' day were not endeared to Jesus even though he shed tears of compassion and raised Lazarus from the dead. In fact, this was a real turning point in Jesus' life. From this point on, those who were determined to kill Jesus became more intentional in finding ways to do just that. They could not contain him or control him. Jesus had gotten out of hand.

For a fuller account of this incident in Jesus' life and the importance of Bethany in Jesus' ministry, start reading in John's Gospel at chapter 11 and follow through to the end (chapter 21). These chapters are appropriate reading during this week leading up to Palm Sunday, and would be even more meaningful next week (Holy Week) as we walk the way of the cross with Jesus into his death, burial and resurrection. The big difference between Lazarus' resurrection and Jesus' resurrection is that Jesus rose from the dead never to die again.

Pastor Linda
The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

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