12 August 2014

John 11:28-37

“He said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, come and see.’” (v. 34)


Following on from yesterday's passage we now see the accusations continue as Lazarus' other sister Mary now comes to meet Jesus. When she hears that he has finally turned up, she goes out to find him, accompanied by her friends and family. Her words are identical to those used by Martha: "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died" (vv. 21, 32).

This family knew, trusted and believed in Jesus - and felt betrayed when he wasn't there in their hour of need.

While Jesus' response to Martha was to reassure her that all would turn out ok, faced with Mary and her cohort, he becomes "greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved" (v. 33). He asks where his friend has been laid to rest and is told to "come and see". These are the very words with which Jesus had called his first two disciples to follow him (John 1:39) and with which they in turn had called others (John 1:46). But now it is a call to witness to death, rather than life.

Jesus weeps.

Whatever the reason for his delay in coming, Jesus is clearly overcome by grief and sorrow at the situation. Knowing the end of the story - the happy resurrection of Lazarus - does not seem to detract from his distress.

But even with his tears, the accusations that he could have prevented this situation continue (verse 37) and it is time for Jesus to take a walk to Lazarus' tomb.

To Ponder

  • How do you feel about having a Messiah who weeps?
  • Is there anything in your life that you'd like to invite Jesus to "come and see"? What might that be? And what do you want Jesus to do?

Bible notes author

Anna Drew

Anna Drew is Director of Communications for the Diocese of Canterbury. She is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4's Daily Service and Prayer for the Day and a freelance writer on faith issues.