April 8, 2011

April 8: Offensive in unexpected ways


By Adriel Santiago, a senior communication and theater double major from Souderton, Pa.
SCRIPTURE: John 11:1-45 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

While reading today’s Scripture, I find myself asking, why is Jesus so disturbed? The word “disturbed” in v.33 and v.38 is embrimáomai, which can be literally translated to something like, “to snort with anger.”

Jesus has known since v.4 that Lazarus’ sickness will not lead to death. He tells his disciples so again in v.11, and he tells Martha directly that her brother will rise again. She thinks he is talking about the final day spoken of in Revelation 20. However, Jesus’ response is to point out that he is the resurrection and the life. Furthermore, he adds that those who believe, “even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Jesus is not speaking in parables, but plainly. If we believe, we can be raised from death (not just on the last day). The second part is even harder, if we live and believe we will never die. Wait, what? Come on Jesus, when has that ever happened? Well, Enoch was taken and did not see death because of his faith (Hebrews 11). Elijah was also taken.

That is crazy! I know, I thought so too. Yet I can’t escape his simple question, “Do you believe this?” To be called and shaped by Jesus is no easy task. Often he offends us in unexpected ways. Nevertheless, we can be sure that radical faith is seen and honored by God. “Did I not tell you if you believed you would see the glory of God?” I pray we too may see God’s glory.

SCRIPTURE: John 11:1-45 (NRSV)
1 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. 3 So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4 But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” 5 Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, 6 after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. 7 Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8 The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. 10 But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.” 11 After saying this, he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.” 13 Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15 For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” 17 When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.” 28 When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. 34 He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus began to weep. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” 38 Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” 45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.</em



Comments (3)

  1. I really love this particular passage of Scripture. How disturbed we are too about the “sleep” or death of a loved one! Through it all…Jesus sees and loves us and even demonstrates to us the larger hope and reality of resurrection!! .

    Joy April 8, 2011 |
  2. It is always comforting to me to know that Jesus himself weeps when he is sad. We can be sad, but soon have new life.

    Flo April 8, 2011 |
  3. I love Jesus’ plain way of talking in this lesson, and I love the plain approach to the passages by Mr. Santiago. Thank you.

    Mary April 8, 2011 |