Sunday, April 6, 2014
Lent XXXIII...The Fifth Sunday
Some great Biblical characters have walked across the stage during these Sundays of Lent. Of course, the first Sunday it was Jesus doing battle with Satan in the wilderness. And then, even thought Nicodemus wanted no one to see him going to Jesus under the cover of darkness, we watched and witnessed the conversation. The next week it was in the broiling noon day sun that we saw the woman of Samaria as she went to the well for water and found Jesus waiting there for her. And last week it was a man who never would have been bothered by the spotlight since he was born blind. All of them are great stories told by John and this week he continues with the unforgettable story of Lazarus who was dead in the beginning of the story but alive at that end.
What holds these stories together is the issue of belief. Of course, there is no surprise there. The gospel of John is often called the Gospel of Belief. Over and over folks are confronted with the question of Jesus. How is life lived once He comes in the room? Nicodemus had to figure it out. It may have taken awhile, but he ended up saying, "Yes." The woman at the well came around to believing and spoke of Jesus in such a way as to enable others in her village to believe as well. Reading the story of the man born blind is both intriguing and sometimes hilarious as various people struggle with what they will do about believing in Jesus. And, at the end of the story of Lazarus, there is this announcement that many believed.
"To believe, or not believe" is the question of John. When we read the gospel he wrote through this lens, there can be doubt that as far as he is concerned nothing is more important. The last two verses of the 20th chapter erase any doubt that his readers might have. The question is, "To believe, or not believe," was John's question then and now. What have we decided since Jesus has come into the room?