“What a friend we have in Jesus,” the hymnist sings. But maybe Mary
and Martha are not as close to Jesus as they thought.
Mary and Martha did all the right things. They have been there
for Jesus. Surely, he would return the favor? It’s good to have a friend
like Jesus—except that’s not what this relationship is for.
You might think that Lazarus should have been higher up on the
prayer list given who his sisters were and given their service to Jesus.
Some might argue that, given their proximity to Jesus, they should
receive special treatment and this small favor.
But Jesus does not rush, and Lazarus remains on the waiting list.
Jesus clearly has no fear of death. He reassures the disciples after they remind him of his recent death threats before they set out on a return trip to Judea. Jesus talks about death so casually that the disciples think he is talking about a nap. But Jesus will go and give Lazarus a wakeup call that no one will be able to forget.
At Lazarus’ tomb, Jesus will break new ground in a miracle that will also allude to Jesus’ own death—though Thomas thinks they are all going to die. Put him on your prayer list as well. Jesus will eventually get back to him, too.
What do I expect from Jesus and what are my expectations based on?
God, I confess that sometimes I want your plans to fit into mine. Amen.