Friday, January 20, 2017
When Lazarus seemed to be getting no better, only worse, the sisters, Mary and Martha, decided to send a message to Jesus. Of course, that day was not this day. There was no telephone, or email, or texting, or anything else we might use to reach a friend. The scripture says, "So the sisters sent a message to Jesus." (John 11:3) In other words, the sisters sent a messenger to find Jesus and tell him to come quickly. The messenger is really one lost in Biblical obscurity. He had to have a name, but no one knows. He went as he was asked. He found Jesus. And what he went back to report was a rather ambivalent, non-committal Jesus.
While we are sure this was not the response expected by the sisters, it surely must have been a surprise for the messenger as well. What he must have expected was an expression of concern and a promise to carry back the promise that He would be there right away without any delay. This was one time Jesus did not act according to expectations. The messenger went home without the message from Jesus he expected to carry and Jesus waited two more days before heading to Bethany. When Jesus finally arrived four days after the fact, Lazarus was already dead and in the tomb.
Most all of us have had those encounters with Jesus which can only be described as disappointing. There are even those times when we feel let down by what He could do, but apparently chooses not to do. We have gone to Him needing something in the present and He waits for what seems like forever before acting. What we find out later in the Lazarus narrative is that He used the time to pray. It makes us wonder what He might be doing for us when it seems that He is doing nothing.