Actually thats not an apology for a late post, but its an idea within the passage I read yesterday (John’s Gospel, chapter 11, verses 1-45). Its the passage describing the death and raising to life of Lazarus- if you’re not familiar with it, go and check it out.
When Jesus first hears that Lazarus is ill, his response is to stay put a few miles away. His friends think this is wise, as Jesus has been threatened, so a low profile seems like an eminently sensible idea.
Then, ‘lets go back’… after Lazarus has died.
Jesus gets there, the body is in the tomb, the women etc are weeping (Jesus wept- John 11.35, the shortest verse in the Bible for any other geeks or quiz fans out there). He tells Martha ‘it will be ok’ and she gives him a standard answer- of course Jesus, in God all will be ok, he’ll rise again at the last day’… but doesn’t get his meaning. Jesus is about to do something amazing.
They go to the tomb, open it up, and Jesus calls Lazarus by name… and out he comes.
Quite literally, in the eyes of the crowd, dead man walking.
And so the big question is ‘why did Jesus wait?’
Was it simply for timing? if he’d healed Lazarus it would have been ‘just another healing’? whereas this was a resurrection just outside Jerusalem shortly before the Passover… crowds would have been gathering, news passed on- a good time for a major miracle.
Was it compassion? Jesus was touched by the sadness of the sisters and the crowd, and responded to them, without really thinking?
Looking back at earlier verses it seems Jesus had a plan, but maybe the truth lies between the two- it was always Jesus plan to glorify God and to restore Lazarus to life, AND he was touched by the loss and emotions of people, so rather than prolong their suffering he just went straight to the tomb and called the man out?
Is this a passage that allows us to see the complexity of divine knowledge/plans and deeply human engagement that Jesus held?
The thing is, it sounds like a tension, but it doesn’t read like one- Jesus just lived it. Maybe thats the challenge for us… to try and live our lives closely aligned to God’s will, so that although our timing isn’t perfect and our implementation sucks, and we’ll rub folks up the wrong way as we go, our lives will be shot through with God’s love and that will redeem our mistakes?
What does anyone else think?