Monday, November 22, 2010

Jesus Had Friends

“Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’  When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled,” John 11:32-33.  
Well, although I understand the point, it is so badly said.  “Deeply moved” and “greatly troubled” undoubtedly do not import the scene.  Let us try again…
Jesus had friends.  Yes.  Absolutely.  And one of his closest friends was named Lazarus.  I fear we must stop and think on this: Jesus had friends.  
Do you have friends?  At least one that you scrape for opportunities to hang out with?  Do you miss those friends?  Would your heart burst and your emotions rupture if their life was taken away?  I imagine that they would because you have been with your friend.  You have gotten your life interwoven into their own.  You don’t live in separate solar systems - your lives occupy common ideas, desires, dreams and goals.  Your experiences have meshed on many occasions.  
Enter Lazarus.  He is a Jewish man that we know little about.  But we do know that Jesus loved him!  For each of these - Lazarus, Mary and Martha - Jesus loved to get up under their loads and carry them… .for this is love.  Immanuel’s human emotions loved to express sympathy, concern, honor and faithfulness.  He was a true friend who deeply intended to bless His human companions at all times.  Lazarus was a man that Jesus loved.  In ways that we can only conjecture, Immanuel’s life was interwoven with the life of Lazarus.  They must have seen eye to eye at times.  Certainly they laughed together and shared secret jokes.  Lazarus had bonded himself to the Son of David in faithfulness and spiritual truth.  These two human men shared perspective.  Immanuel had found kinship and brotherhood with Lazarus.  Immanuel was with Lazarus.  Lazarus was with Immanuel… .and then he dies.
Enter Martha. “Lord if you had been here…” John 11:21.  She does not understand.  This is a woman of faith.  She has walked and talked and agreed with Jesus.  He is the Son of God to her.  He is the healer.  Why didn’t He come?!   Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again… .Do you believe this?” John 11:23-26.  Jesus comforts Martha with words of insanity.  He commands faith and caresses pain all in one breath.  This is not easy to do in the face of your friends…
Enter Mary.  Jesus loved Mary.  “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he…” …He broke.  The human masterpiece was not so expertly formed and fashioned.. .for death.  The friend of Immanuel was gone - body and soul.  The flesh and blood Mary was slobbering all over His robe.  She was breaking all over Him.   Life had been extracted by a legal enemy.  Lazarus was absent from their earthen company.   Immanuel broke.  He bled in person.  The Resurrection and the Life was absolutely overtaken by losses.  “Jesus wept,” John 11:35.  Lazarus, Mary and Martha are the human mess that Immanuel loved deeply.  And what a mess it was.  He walks into the scene of death and is immediately woven into their present losses.  Death stings and Christ feels it.  
He had waited to visit this mourning family… .He waited until after Lazarus died.  He did not come to His sick friend and many wondered why.  One might be tempted to assume that Jesus waited piously and quietly.  No worries.  Lazarus will be fine.  And Jesus sat around jolly drinking the fruit of the vine with disciples.  I doubt it.  I bet He fasted.  I bet He asked His heavenly Father a thousand times a day to let Him go before Lazarus died and heal him.  I bet Jesus lived on His knees those two days stirring up His own faith.  I bet He paced.  I bet He repeated phrases like, “God will be glorified in this!  I insist!  Death you have not victory!” over and over again… .as He paced…
“Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect…” Hebrews 2:17.
I can imagine that Jesus wept on many occasion.  Isaiah calls Him a “man of sorrows.. .acquainted with grief,” (53:3).  I can imagine that He mourned the human condition and buried His head in His hands every time a companion betrayed Him and walked away.  I can imagine that His broken spirit moaned often over the losses that humanity incurred.  Blind, beggarly, usurped and dying humans both aggravated His heartfelt sympathies and stirred up His faith.  He would move with the Father as He lived with us.  Divinity would get up under humanity on any given day with honest connection and lift up.  
“I go to awaken him,” John 11:11.  Faith.  The interwoven Immanuel would carry the duel load of faith in the Father and sympathy for the human race - a very delicate condition.  He would command waves with authority and caress hearts with compassion.  Only Immanuel could lead us into such contrary and complete intercession.  Immanuel groaned and groaned as He walked to the tomb.  Give Me back my friend!  Return My companion to his beautiful sisters!  It wasn’t easy to wait, to encounter misunderstanding and be baptized in human losses, but the Son of David did it and moved forward and raised up!  All because He loved His heavenly Friend and earthly friends… .God with us…

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