Saturday

27 March 2010

"Jesus began to weep." (v.35)

Background

Just before this passage, Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, has died and has been lying in his tomb for four days. Jesus has travelled to Bethany, to the home of Mary and Martha, and in today's passage, to the amazement (and in some cases, horror) of the witnesses, raises Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-27).

In verse 28, Mary describes Jesus as "the Teacher", which is a significant description to be given by a woman. The rabbis (Jewish teachers) would not teach women, but Jesus taught them frequently.

Wailing at a tomb was a common custom at the time, and those with Mary thought that this was what she was about to do. Because they followed her, to console her in her grief, Jesus got maximum publicity for his miraculous deed. The 'weeping' of Mary and the mourners would have been a loud and outward expression of grief (verse 31). This is different however to Jesus' quiet and personal tears of verse 35 and the words used in the original Greek denote this contrast. Such descriptions of Christ's actions illustrate that he was a human man with human feelings.

Many Jews believed that the soul remained near the body for three days after death in the hope of returning to it. So the fact that Lazarus had been dead and buried for four days meant they would have most likely thought all hope of bringing Lazarus back to life had gone. But Jesus does the unthinkable and "the dead man came out".

By the raising of Lazarus, both God and God's son would be glorified. And even though miracles displayed the glory of God in Jesus, they would also, ultimately, lead to his death on the Cross.

To Ponder

How can you make sure that you never lose the wonder of everything that the Lord Jesus has done?

In what ways can we understand the enormity of this miracle?

Read the lyrics of the Tim Hughes' song 'Never lose the wonder'. What do the words say to you?

Bible notes author: Sanya Strachan

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