Spiritual Enrichment: April 2014
We sit on the edge of our seats, watching the clock tick down… And, we watch with our hearts in our throats as the hero/heroine works fervently to avert disaster. We breathe a sigh of relief as the bomb is defused with seconds to spare…
So the sisters sent to Him, saying, ‘Lord, he whom You love is ill.’ But when Jesus heard it, He said, ‘This illness is not unto death, it is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by means of it’. John 11:3-4.
Every time I hear the account of Lazarus’ death, I find myself contemplating on how Lazarus’ sisters must have felt upon the passing of their beloved brother. They had sent for Jesus, who was staying in Jerusalem, only two miles from the town of Bethany, where Lazarus and his sisters lived. I imagine they expected Jesus, who ‘loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus’ (v5), to arrive shortly after receiving word of his illness, and avert the impending death of His beloved friend. Yet, Jesus does not arrive until Lazarus had lain in the tomb four days! Their response upon Jesus’ arrival indicates both their expectation and their disappointment, as both sisters exclaim, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” (v21/32) Even though they knew Jesus well, their responses show their human frailty and their doubt. While they know Jesus could have prevented Lazarus from dying, they can not imagine him being raised from the dead, especially after lying four days in the tomb.
And, how does Jesus respond? We see this in the shortest of all verses in the Bible, “Jesus wept.” He shows us His perfect humanity and His understanding for our fallen humanity, with all of our frailty and doubt. He offered us a miracle beyond our ability to conceive so that we may believe!
So, when each of us face difficulty and disappointment, we should remember Mary and Martha, and how Christ responded to their sorrow, weeping not only with them, but with all of humankind, giving hope to all.
As we finish Great and Holy Lent, let us pray for perseverance;
As we begin Holy Week, let us experience His Passion by participating as fully as possible;
As we celebrate Pascha, let us remember the hope He brings through His Glorious Resurrection!
Additional Scripture Reading: John 11:1-45 and Hebrews 11:1-3
Prayer: Dear God, We thank You for the hope You brought to the world with the Glorious Resurrection of Your Son.
Our Guest Author is Gregory Tsikerdanos who is a fourth-year student in the Master of Divinity Program at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. He and his wife, Tara, have been married for 9 years and are from the community of Sts. Raphael, Nicholas and Irene in Cumming, GA. They have a daughter, Anna, who is 8 years old; a son, Andrew, who is 2-1/2 years old; and Eleni, who is 1-year old.