Monday, April 23, 2012

John, Chapter 11

Lazarus is sick. We've never met Lazarus before, but we did meet his sisters Mary and Martha back in Luke. The sisters send word to Jesus to come and heal their brother. His reply is kind of heartless: This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. (v. 4) And then it gets worse: as Lazarus is getting sicker and sicker, he hangs out for another two days before casually suggesting to his disciples that maybe they ought to swing through Judea again. The disciples are against this plan, pointing out that the last time they went there, the Jews wanted to stone him. He says the hour of his death has not yet arrived, so chill. 

A bit later, Jesus informs the disciples that Lazarus is sleeping and he needs to go and wake him. They tell him to just let the poor guy rest, so he explains that Lazarus has died and they need to go. They agree to go, even though they fear the Jews will finish off that stoning they started. When they arrive, they discover that Lazarus has already been dead for 4 days.

Lazarus' sisters hear that Jesus has arrived. Mary sulks in the house, but Martha goes forth to rebuke him for not saving their brother and to ask him to ask god to do something. Jesus promises that Lazarus will rise again. Martha's all yeah, right, when the end of the world comes. But Jesus says I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? (v. 25-26) Martha strokes his ego and says yes, then leaves to find her sister.

Mary is sitting at home with a group of ritual mourners and is all too happy to leave when her sister arrives to whisper that Jesus wants to talk to her. The mourners, feeling like they haven't earned their keep quite yet, deduct that she's going to cry by the grave again and follow her. Mary also rebukes Jesus for not being there, which sparks just the tiniest bit of guilt in him. He asks where the grave is, and even manages to squeeze out a tear, which convinces the Jews that he really does love them, and maybe he could even have saved Lazarus?

They come to the cave where Lazarus is buried and Jesus instructs Martha to move the stone covering the entrance. She protests that by now the body stinks. Jesus points out that she said she believed earlier, so she moves the stone. Jesus says a short prayer and shouts Lazarus, come forth. (v. 43) and he does! In his funeral clothes.

Now, some of the people who saw this become Jesus' followers, but others go and tell the Pharisees, who have been oddly absent in this chapter. The Pharisees have a meeting and point out that if they let Jesus continue, everyone will believe in him and the Romans will take their country away. Caiaphas scoffs that they dont' realise it's better to let one person die than to lose all their land. He predicts that Jesus will die for their nation and diaspora. They make the decision to kill him. This causes Jesus to go into hiding, even missing his favourite ritual of going to Jerusalem during Passover to shriek at people in the temple. They kinda miss him but the priests have ordered his arrest if he shows up.

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