We all have a different understating about Jesus. Recently, I read somewhere ‘who is Jesus?’ and the message goes like this; according to chemistry, Jesus turned water into wine (John 2: 6-10, John 4: 46). According to biology, He was born without the normal conception (Isaiah 7:14, Luke 1:26- 37). According to physics, He disapproved the law of gravity when He ascended into heaven (Mark 16:19) and the list goes on. The same question, we encounter in today’s gospel, who is Jesus?
Today is a final Sunday of Lent before the Holy Week. Our gospel of John is a microcosm of the journey of the Holy Week. The death and the resurrection of Lazarus is the last and greatest of Jesus’ life restoring sign recorded in John. In Lazarus’ narrative, we can see a rehearsal of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. After the sign of Lazarus, our Lord triumphantly enters into Jerusalem.
Lazarus’ long narrative can be divided into five major parts; I. Jesus comes from Bethany to Bethany (11: 1-19), II. Martha comes out to meet Jesus (20-22), III. Jesus declares: “I am the resurrection and the life” (23-27), IV. Mary comes out to meet Jesus (28-32), and V. Lazarus comes out of the tomb (34-44).
When Lazarus got sick, Jesus was preaching on the eastern side of the Jorden. Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem. A messenger was sent, but Jesus remained at the eastern side of Jorden for more two days. Jesus knew that the sickness and death of Lazarus is for the “glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by means of it.” When Jesus arrived at Bethany, it was a sad moment because Lazarus whom Jesus loved (11:3) has already died. Martha took the initiative to meet Jesus and she confessed, Lord, if you would be here, Lazarus would not have died (15: 21). Later the same expression, we also hear from her sister Mary (15:32). Martha and Mary along with other people believed that Jesus is a healer, but Jesus is more than healer.
To change the understanding of Martha, Mary, the disciples and other people, Jesus said, take away the stone. As the stone was removed, Jesus prayed to the Father and called out Lazarus, “come out.” A dead man came! This sign of Jesus has proofed that Jesus is not only healer, but a life-giver Messiah, the Christ, therefore if we are holding any idea of Jesus, it is a time to change our understanding and allow Jesus to work in our life as the Messiah!