As Jesus explained in the previous text, he now arrives at the scene where Lazarus has been in the tomb for four days–he is dead. Both Martha and Mary cry out to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” This was a family that Jesus knew well, they must have spent many days together talking about everyday normal stuff…they were great friends. That alone makes me pause.
Martha hears Jesus is coming and she goes out to meet him; Mary does the same. These are significant words on many levels. In a culture that shuns women and prevents them from any leadership role, here we see the Apostle John highlighting their story for all to read. Of the hundreds of stories and angles, God inspired John to write in these women into the story of the Gospel.
Jesus sees them and the others who have come to comfort them in their time of loss. He know what is about to happen, but he must have been swept away with human emotion as we read the most often quoted, shortest verse in the Bible,
The Jews that saw this were divided: some see the love that Jesus had for Lazarus while others are immediately cynical, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” Jesus wept for so many reasons, but I think he wept because he felt the pain of their loss. They weren’t pointing fingers at Jesus when they said he wouldn’t have died had Jesus been there, they were lamenting, grieving, reaching out to their friend. This isn’t a time for great lectures and preaching sermons. Jesus have very few words to say as he comforts his friends first of all by being there with them.
What he does next is way over the top, extraordinary, miraculous and dramatic. Before the incredible moment, Jesus prays,
Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.
He walks to the tomb, has the stone rolled away and calls out to Lazarus to “come out!” and the “dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen…”
Fully human, fully God. Both evident in these few verses.