After witnessing the weeping of Mary and her surrounding community, Jesus is greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved (v. 33). But he does not weep himself until the people entreat him to “come and see” where Lazarus’s body has been laid (v. 34).
“Come and see” is how Jesus begins his ministry. Two of John the Baptist’s followers asked where he was staying and he responds, “Come and see” (John 1:39). When Philip tells him of the Messiah, Nathaniel asks if anything good could come out of Nazareth. “Come and see,” Philip says. At the beginning, “come and see” was an invitation to relationship, learning, and life. Here at the close, it is an invitation to death. In a few days, Jesus will walk into Jerusalem and be killed. But first he must walk to Lazarus’s tomb. “Come and see,” say the mourners. Jesus began to weep (v. 35).
My favorite flowers are pink roses and blue hydrangeas. Those are the flowers I had at my wedding. Two months later, my 20-year-old cousin Santee died suddenly. When I walked into the room to view his body, pink roses and blue hydrangeas covered his casket. Despite the years since, I still can’t enjoy my favorite flowers. They always remind me of Santee’s death, of my deep love for him that now has no place to go.
Jesus’ grief in this scene would not be so deep had his love for Lazarus, Mary, Martha, and also for Nathaniel and Philip and his other disciples not been so deep. “Come and see,” say the mourners. Life mingles with death. One can no longer be viewed without a reminder of the other. “Come and see,” say the mourners. Like Jesus, we too begin to weep.
When have you have seen life mingle with death? What person or memory can you not think of without grieving? Thank God for your deep love.
God who weeps, when I feel overwhelmed by love that no longer has any place to go, help me to also remember the love and joy I experienced. Amen.