Read­ing Time: 3 minutes



Rein­ter­pret­ing the text of Isai­ah (61:1–2a) in Luke 4:16–20, the Evan­gel­ist Luke presents the mis­sion of Jesus as a mis­sion of hope, encour­age­ment, susten­ance, motiv­a­tion, lib­er­a­tion, and psy­cho­lo­gic­al reas­sur­ance. We saw this in last Sunday’s Gos­pel read­ing (John 9), and this Sunday’s Gos­pel con­tin­ues and con­tains the same theme. Laz­arus’ sick­ness and even­tu­al death are events that will mani­fest the shek­i­nah (glory) of God. It alludes to the death and resur­rec­tion of Jesus. The name Laz­arus is men­tioned only in chapters 11 and 12 of the Gos­pel accord­ing to John. He is also men­tioned in the Gos­pel accord­ing to Luke 16:19–31 as a poor beg­gar but who became rich after his phys­ic­al death. His two sis­ters Mary and Martha are also men­tioned in Luke 10:38–42. This fifth Sunday is the last Sunday of the 2017 Len­ten peri­od. The Sundays have dif­fer­ent themes whose sole scope is to pre­pare the faith­ful for the cel­eb­ra­tion of the paschal mys­tery, and which joined togeth­er, por­tray God’s plan of sal­va­tion. The First Sunday warned us not to allow food, power, and wealth to suf­foc­ate our desire for God. The Second Sunday explained to us the right atti­tude whenev­er we appear in the pres­ence of God. The Third Sunday taught us that God is spir­it and there­fore, must be wor­shipped in spir­it and truth. While the mes­sage of the Fourth Sunday was the mani­fest­a­tion of God’s work through the blind­ness of the man born blind, the mes­sage of the Fifth Sunday is that the Son of God might be glor­i­fied through the sick­ness of Laz­arus. The death and resur­rec­tion of Laz­arus are about des­per­a­tion and reas­sur­ance. Faith in God is a reas­sur­ance that what is lost will be regained.

Jesus wept

Jesus wept – edak­rusen ho Iēsous” (John 11:35). When Jesus heard about the death of his friend, he hur­ried to vis­it his fam­ily friends. When he saw the tomb of his friend Laz­arus, John says Jesus wept. That is, Jesus lit­er­ally cried. Inter­est­ingly and sur­pris­ingly too, John 11:35 has only two words fol­low­ing the Eng­lish trans­la­tion. Although this is not the only verse with two verses in the Bible (cf. for instance 1Thess 5:16.17), but this one is par­tic­u­lar. It is par­tic­u­lar in the sense that it has to do with grief. In the face of pain, lengthy words serve little or noth­ing. In fact, they are super­flu­ous and bor­ing. John 11:35 por­trays the human­ity of Jesus. There are only two instances in the entire Gos­pel where Jesus wept. After John 11:35, the next instance is Luke 19:41. As Jesus approached Jer­u­s­alem, when he saw the city, Luke says he “wept over it.” The reas­on for the weep­ing is giv­en in the fol­low­ing verses (Luke 19:42–44). Jesus foresaw the destruc­tion of Jer­u­s­alem and wept over it. Jer­u­s­alem will be des­troyed because it did not recog­nize the pres­ence of God in its midst. In Luke, while Jesus wept for the future cata­strophe, in John, he wept for an imme­di­ate sor­row. If in Luke Jesus wept for the pain the inhab­it­ants of Jer­u­s­alem will under­go when that city will be reduced to ashes due to their stub­born­ness and unbe­lief, in John, he wept for the phys­ic­al anni­hil­a­tion of his friend.

Conclusion – Always Be Hopeful!

No mat­ter what hap­pens, do not ever lose hope. As the Itali­ans say: La sper­anza è l’ultima a mori­re – hope is the last (thing) to die. In John 11:17, we read that when Jesus arrived, he noticed Laz­arus had already stayed four days in the tomb. Many Jews believed that the soul remained near the body for three days after death, in the hope of return­ing to the body. This was why people lost hope and con­cluded that Laz­arus was irre­voc­ably dead, after four days. Again, in John 11:39, when Jesus asked them to remove the stones cov­er­ing the tomb of Laz­arus, Martha com­plained that there must be bad odour from the body since it has been there four days. Imme­di­ately, Jesus inter­vened by ask­ing her “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (John 11:40).

SUNDAY REFLECTIONS” (vols. I‑II-III)!! The reflec­tion for the Fifth Sunday of Lent is found in
The Word of Life, vol. I, pages 191–201. Happy reading!

For details on how to get it, con­tact the author on this link: https://m.me/uchennabiblia?fbclid=IwAR2yeg4a6sDGBp9QGkIvKj6FSADumMokN6lshdE0zuo-JHs6qOmlhA7jyHo
or email me at: postmaster@uchennabiblia.com
or simply send an SMS on 08116100926, and I will get back to you.

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