Sunday Reflection – Lent V, March 26, 2023


Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead

John 11 1-2  A man by the name of Lazarus was sick in the village of Bethany. He had two sisters, Mary and Martha. This was the same Mary who later poured perfume on the Lord’s head and wiped his feet with her hair. The sisters sent a message to the Lord and told him that his good friend Lazarus was sick.

When Jesus heard this, he said, “His sickness won’t end in death. It will bring glory to God and his Son.”

Jesus loved Martha and her sister and brother. But he stayed where he was for two more days. Then he said to his disciples, “Now we will go back to Judea.”

“Teacher,” they said, “the people there want to stone you to death! Why do you want to go back?”

Jesus answered, “Aren’t there twelve hours in each day? If you walk during the day, you will have light from the sun, and you won’t stumble. 10 But if you walk during the night, you will stumble, because you don’t have any light.” 11 Then he told them, “Our friend Lazarus is asleep, and I am going there to wake him up.”

12 They replied, “Lord, if he is asleep, he will get better.” 13 Jesus really meant that Lazarus was dead, but they thought he was talking only about sleep.

14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead! 15 I am glad I wasn’t there, because now you will have a chance to put your faith in me. Let’s go to him.”

16 Thomas, whose nickname was “Twin,” said to the other disciples, “Come on. Let’s go, so we can die with him.”

17 When Jesus got to Bethany, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was less than three kilometers from Jerusalem, 19 and many people had come from the city to comfort Martha and Mary because their brother had died.

20 When Martha heard that Jesus had arrived, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 Yet even now I know that God will do anything you ask.”

23 Jesus told her, “Your brother will live again!”

24  Martha answered, “I know he will be raised to life on the last day, when all the dead are raised.”

25 Jesus then said, “I am the one who raises the dead to life! Everyone who has faith in me will live, even if they die. 26 And everyone who lives because of faith in me will never really die. Do you believe this?”

27 “Yes, Lord!” she replied. “I believe you are the Christ, the Son of God. You are the one we hoped would come into the world.”

28 After Martha said this, she went and privately said to her sister Mary, “The Teacher is here, and he wants to see you.” 29 As soon as Mary heard this, she got up and went out to Jesus. 30 He was still outside the village where Martha had gone to meet him. 31 Many people had come to comfort Mary, and when they saw her quickly leave the house, they thought she was going out to the tomb to cry. So they followed her.

32 Mary went to where Jesus was. Then as soon as she saw him, she knelt at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33 When Jesus saw that Mary and the people with her were crying, he was terribly upset 34 and asked, “Where have you put his body?”

They replied, “Lord, come and you will see.”

35 Jesus started crying, 36 and the people said, “See how much he loved Lazarus.”

37 Some of them said, “He gives sight to the blind. Why couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?”

38 Jesus was still terribly upset. So he went to the tomb, which was a cave with a stone rolled against the entrance. 39 Then he told the people to roll the stone away. But Martha said, “Lord, you know that Lazarus has been dead four days, and there will be a bad smell.”

40 Jesus replied, “Didn’t I tell you that if you had faith, you would see the glory of God?”

41 After the stone had been rolled aside, Jesus looked up toward heaven and prayed, “Father, I thank you for answering my prayer. 42 I know that you always answer my prayers. But I said this, so the people here would believe you sent me.”

43 When Jesus had finished praying, he shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The man who had been dead came out. His hands and feet were wrapped with strips of burial cloth, and a cloth covered his face.

Jesus then told the people, “Untie him and let him go.”

Performed by Margaret Whisselle

Kids Korner: Lazarus is alive again (Lent V, March 26th)

Read John 11:1-45 with your family.

There are some interesting facts in this story.

  • The shortest sentence in the Christian Scriptures is 11:35 “Jesus wept.”
  • In ancient Hebrew tradition, the person had to be dead for three days in order to believe they were truly dead. Anything shorter was considered a mistake that had been made. That is why Jesus waiting three days was important – Lazarus was really dead.
  • Every time the word ‘Jew’ is used, read “Judean”, meaning the people of Judah. Martha, Mary and Lazarus lived in Bethany, which was a small village just east of Jerusalem, so their friends and neighbours would be Judeans.
  • Martha and Mary were ministers in the early Christian church. There is no information about Lazarus.
  • In the scripture before this story we find out that people in Jerusalem had tried to kill Jesus by stoning him, and Jesus left to go to a safer place. Jesus risked being hurt or killed by returning to Jerusalem to visit Lazarus, Mary and Martha.
  • Jesus thanks God in a prayer in v. 41-42, proving to everyone that it is God who brought Lazarus back to life, not Jesus.

I story of Lazarus is interesting. We have a friend of Jesus who has died, Jesus risking death to come back to see him, Martha, Mary and others being sad and wanting Jesus to do something, and after three days God brings Lazarus back from the dead. On its own it is a very good story.

But this is the Gospel of John, where everything really points to Jesus, so this story isn’t just about Martha, Mary and Lazarus, this is also about Jesus facing his own death.

Jesus risks his own life returning to Jerusalem to help people understand about God. Jesus is surrounded by friends and family who are sad and want Jesus to make a different choice. After he is dead for three days, Jesus comes back to life in the Resurrection.

The story of Lazarus points to the story of Jesus.

Sunday Reflection – July 17, 2022


Mary & Martha

38  The Lord and his disciples were traveling along and came to a village. When they got there, a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who sat down in front of the Lord and was listening to what he said. 40 Martha was worried about all that had to be done. Finally, she went to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it bother you that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to come and help me!”

41 The Lord answered, “Martha, Martha! You are worried and upset about so many things, 42 but only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen what is best, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Performed by Margaret Whisselle

Kids Korner: Mary & Martha (July 17th)

Read Luke 10:38-42 with your family.

The story of Mary & Martha has often been seen as a housework story, because people in past decades and centuries thought that was what “women’s work” meant. They were wrong, so we have a history of not understanding either Mary or Martha.

Mary and Martha were sisters, and were friends and disciples of Jesus. Martha set up a ‘house church’, which meant people gathered to worship in her home (they didn’t have church buildings at the time), and she had some responsibility for that worship. In Greek (not translated into the English versions of the Bible, unfortunately), her work was called ‘Diakonos‘ which meant ministry. Martha was a minister in the church that met in her house.

Mary, we are told ‘sat at the feet of Jesus’, which was an idiom that meant she was a student or disciple of Jesus and went with Jesus wherever he was, continuing to study and work with him on the road.

Martha was stressed about the work of her church and wanted Mary’s help, so she asked Jesus to intervene. Jesus said no… Mary had her calling, which was different than Martha’s, but just as important.

Anyone who tells you this is a story of Martha wanting Mary’s help in the kitchen does not know the real story.