Today’s Gospel: John 11:1-45 – Fifth Sunday of Lent
As you spend more time with people you get to know them better, and learn what makes them happy, sad, afraid; you also learn what is in their heart. Doubt was in the hearts of some of the apostles, as Jesus knew. In verse 15 He proclaims “I am GLAD for you that I was not there”. Reflecting on this after reading this entire passage, we can see just how much Jesus felt He needed to prove something to his followers, including the apostles. If His apostles who had traveled with Him, observed His miracles, and heard His teachings required the profound evidence of the raising of Lazarus, how do we believe? Our hope for faith must rely on the Holy Spirit, Who Jesus gave us and Who stays with us and in us. Where the apostles were first witnesses, they did not have the Holy Spirit like we do.
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26).
Being God, Jesus was glad at the opportunity to put the doubts in His apostles to rest. Being man, Jesus just had a friend whom he loved die. “And Jesus wept.” Jesus knew that He was going to raise Lazarus; He knew that Mary and Martha believed He was the Messiah, but He knew His friend suffered. How fortunate are we that our God has experienced our pain and loss. Our God gets down with us in our moments of suffering even though He knows suffering comes to an end. Jesus doesn’t use what He knows will happen to dismiss the current emotions felt by Mary and Martha. Rather, Jesus embraces His humanity and joins Mary and Martha in their grieving. When Jesus ascended He left his Advocate behind and now through the Spirit “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).
What would your reaction have been to witnessing Lazarus walk out of the tomb after being dead for four days? Why do you think Jesus asked Martha if she believed, before raising Lazarus from the dead? How do you lean on the Holy Spirit when life is challenging?
Holy Spirit, we trust You to teach us all things and remind us constantly of all Jesus came to teach us. Strengthen our faith and journey with us through sickness, adversity and grief. Amen.
Copyright 2017 Rhonda Vuch
Rhonda Vuch lives in beautiful Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She and her husband enjoy sharing outdoor adventures with their son and their two dogs. They are blessed to be surrounded by tall mountains and a strong faith-filled community.