When I come to a complicated passage of Scripture which seems to challenge my beliefs about a compassionate, just and merciful God, I have learned to pause and turn to wonder. I prayerfully enter the swirl of the story and ask God for help to see the overarching story line. I look for life. Where do I see God's work of renewal in the story? I choose life. As I prayed with this passage, these are the words which came as I wrote in my journal. I share them that they might encourage you to journal with Scripture for yourself. These words are not meant to be a complete exegesis on the text.
Come, let us go see him. Come, we go together. I [Jesus] will truly teach you how to see your brother - how to see to the shalom of your brother. Watch me. Watch my response. Watch my grief. Watch what I will do. You are right. This will feel like going to the death with me. You are about to learn to die: to your own way of seeing what is really happening; to your fear of persecution because of being with me. You will come to know faith in a whole new way. Come, we go together. I'll hold your hand. I'll have your back.
Jesus, I want to be continually looking to the shalom of my brothers and sisters. Give me your heart for my brothers and sisters, in each person I meet. Help me not hurry past them. Help me to see the person in my every interaction. Show me what to pray, when to speak or act, and how to do it.
John 11:11-16 (NLT)
Then he said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up.”
12 The disciples said, “Lord, if he is sleeping, he will soon get better!” 13 They thought Jesus meant Lazarus was simply sleeping, but Jesus meant Lazarus had died.
14 So he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15 And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come, let’s go see him.”
16 Thomas, nicknamed the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go, too—and die with Jesus.”
For Reflection and Prayer:
Was there a word, phrase or image which “stood out” for you as you listened to or slowly read the text? Quietly reflect on it in your prayer with Jesus. Journal your conversation.
Was there any particular emotion which emerged as you listened to the scripture? Talk it over with Jesus in your prayer.
Using all of your senses, place yourself in the story. Who are you and what are you witnessing or experiencing? Write out the story in your own words, allowing the story and conversation to be your prayer.
Savor any consoling words or pictures as you quietly rest in God.