(full reading: John 11.1-45)
In the Gospel for this Sunday, the fifth Sunday of Lent, we hear about a family whom Jesus loves. There are two sisters—Martha and Mary—and a brother named Lazarus. At the beginning of the reading, Jesus learns that Lazarus has become very sick.
The sisters of Lazarus sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.”
When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days.
While Jesus walks to the town where his friends live, Lazarus dies. In the Bible, when someone dies, people wrap the dead body in cloths smelling of beautiful oils and spices. This shows how much they loved that person. They place the body in a tomb—a cave made out of rock—and roll a large stone over the opening. This keeps animals out of the tomb. Tombs are dark. There is no air inside. But this does not matter because the person is no longer alive. The dead do not need light or air.
We hear that,
Jesus began to weep.
We know that people often get very sad—they feel sorrow—when someone dies. Jesus does, too.
What does Jesus do?
Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”
When Jesus says, “Take away the stone,” people are confused. Why should they roll away the stone? Lazarus has been dead for four days. He cannot see light or breathe air anymore. But the people do what Jesus says.
Then Jesus calls out in a loud voice,
“Lazarus, come out!”
What is the first word that Jesus says?
He calls his friend by name.
We know that the Good Shepherd,
calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. (John 10:3b)
Jesus, the Good Shepherd, calls his friend by name.
So, what happens?
Lazarus comes out of the dark tomb! Lazarus is alive once more!
Jesus leads Lazarus out of the tomb by calling his name!
Just think! What kind of voice does Jesus have???
The voice of the Good Shepherd calls his sheep
...out of darkness into light...
...out of death into life...
...out of sorrow into joy...
We have to wonder, does Jesus, the Good Shepherd, only call Lazarus by name?
Or does he call others by name, too?
Whom does he call?