Summary: The 2nd step in the biblical process of Healing the Hurts You Don’t Deserve
Healing the Hurts You Don’t Deserve:
The Healing Power
It had happened suddenly.
Lazarus of Bethany,
the brother of Mary and Martha
and friend of Jesus, fell sick.
His strength ebbed as his fever crept upward.
He took to his bed,
and Martha prepared and brought his meals
while Mary sat at his bedside,
wiping his brow
and whispering loving words to him.
Soon his condition grew worse, and the sisters agreed to send for the Teacher. They dispatched a friend of the family to the region of Perea, to find Jesus and deliver a terse message: “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
Then the sisters waited. . . And worried.
Within a few days, their brother died.
Almost immediately the machinery of mourning that was customary among Jews of their day lifted the sisters up and began to carry them on.
Friends and neighbors surrounded them day and night, sitting with them, eating with them, sometimes speaking, usually silent.
Within hours after his death, Mary and Martha’s women friends helped them prepare their brother for burial: hair and nails were trimmed, and his body was washed, anointed, and wrapped in the most expensive linen the two sisters could obtain.
And then began their oneneth, a time of mourning and lamenting prior to the funeral. The sisters sat on the floor in a room with their brother’s body. Martha ate sparingly, shunning meat and wine; when she did eat, it was always in another room. Mary refused all food.
When the funeral began, Lazarus was placed on a bier and his body was carried toward his garden tomb by a group of barefoot neighbors.
A group of professional mourners—
flute-players and sobbing women—
followed the body,
pausing frequently on the path to the grave
to moan and wail for the departed.
Behind the mourners, Mary and Martha were supported by a large crowd of relatives,
from their own village as well as from Jerusalem, two miles up the road.
After the funeral, the crowds all went home, while a handful of relatives and friends remained.
And then the news came.
“The Teacher is coming,” someone told Martha breathlessly, pointing up the road.
Martha hurriedly wiped her hands, dashed from the house, and met Jesus on the outskirts of the village.
“Lord,” she said, practically falling into his arms, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Then, realizing her words might have sounded reproachful, she added. “But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
Jesus gently gripped Martha’s shoulders in his large hands. “Your brother will rise again,” he said.
“I know,” Martha answered. “He will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
“I am the resurrection,” Jesus said, still gripping her shoulders in his hands, “and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
“Yes, Lord,” she answered. “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”
Then Jesus lifted his gaze and looked beyond Martha, toward her house. “Where is your sister?” he asked.
Martha’s eyes widened. Without another word, she turned and bustled away. She went back and whispered to Mary. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.”
Mary jumped up and left the room so quickly, that the others who had been with Mary in the house followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there, as she had done several times in the past few days.
When Mary reached the place where Jesus waited for her, she threw herself at his feet.
“Lord,” she said through tears, unknowingly echoing her sister’s words, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
Jesus looked from Mary’s weeping face to the others who had come along with her, who were also weeping. His own eyes began to cloud.
“Where have you laid him?” he asked.
The mourners offered to show him the tomb, while Mary stood, clinging tearfully to his side. Jesus and Mary looked at each other, then,
and his own tears mirrored hers,
trailing down his cheek,
as he let her see him hurt
for the pain she had been feeling.
Then, after a long moment of sharing her sorrow, he nodded to Mary’s friends to lead the way to the tomb.
“See how he loved him!” whispered one of the mourners to another as they walked.
But another shook her head. “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
Moments later, when they arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone laid across the entrance, Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”