Today’s gospel – the very long story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead – (JN 11: 1-45) offers several themes worthy of reflection. It’s easy to give it a cursory reading because we know the story from the moment Jesus got the word from Martha and Mary that Lazarus was ill, through the delays, the strange behavior of Jesus (not rushing to the home of the sick man, his dear friend), theological conversation about the end times when all will be raised, to the cinematic moment when Lazarus emerges from the tomb still bound in burial bands, when Jesus gives the order to untie him and let him go and John concludes that many people came to believe in Jesus from that day. (Whew! Try to diagram that sentence, if you will.)
What I noticed today more clearly than ever before when reading this story was the authority in the voice of Jesus at every turn. Clearly, he had come to understand his mission – the reason he had come into the world – and perhaps how Lazarus could illustrate something that Jesus knew about God’s willingness to save us all.
I’m still ruminating on the themes…so I urge you to read the text aloud, stop at each juncture and wait listening (as Psalm 130 urges us today) for deeper understanding of what Jesus was saying and doing to ready us for the events that await us in the remaining days of Lent.