Wednesday, March 28, 2007
I. Jesus is “Greatly Disturbed in Spirit”
Please read Chapter 11 of the Gospel of John.
The first part of Chapter 11 narrates the raising of Lazarus, which we all know too well and so don’t really “hear.” So, read it slowly, letting the story unfold moment by moment as though you are hearing it for the first time.
Keep asking yourself, “Why is Jesus delaying his arrival?” The author gives us no clue.
Notice v33: Jesus is “greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved” and begins to weep.
Why this reaction?
-- He delayed his own arrival, so he can’t be grieving Lazarus’ death.
-- Maybe he’s moved by other people’s grief,
but he knows what he is about to do, so why grieve?
-- “The Jews” say, “See how he loved him.” But “the Jews” are never portrayed positively in John, so their observation must be wrong.
Why would Jesus weep?
Each time Jesus performs a miracle, called a sign, in the Gospel of John, opposition grows. Some followers leave him. The religious leaders attack him. Even his family thinks he is mad.
So, what might he be thinking as he prepares to raise Lazarus from the dead?
“People have started to oppose me more and more, including the Jewish leaders. What will they do to me if I raise Lazarus from the dead? Their opposition could turn violent, and they might kill me.”
Have you ever been close to making a decision that you know will bring you criticism and opposition? A decision in your family or where you work?
Can you feel what Jesus must be feeling when he is “greatly disturbed in spirit”?
Now reread the remainder of the chapter.
What is happening? The Jewish leaders hear of the raising of Lazarus and decide to kill Jesus. Just what he was worried about!
In your prayer and reflection, be with Jesus as he is surrounded by Mary, Martha, and the other mourners. Feel his anxiety, yet also his sense that this is his mission.
Thank him for being faithful to that mission.
Ask him to help you be with him as he pursues his mission.