Reading Time: 8 Minutes
Jesus is here and calling for you.
John 11.28-29 – When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him.
The Gospel of John is my favorite book in the New Testament. I love to remember the lives that Jesus transformed by “calling” them into a relationship with him, just as he called Mary in verse 28.
Chapter 4 – An outcast woman from a troubled people group was “called” by Jesus and given living water.
Chapter 5 – A paralyzed man was “called” by Jesus and made to walk.
Chapter 8 – A woman caught in the act of adultery was “called” by Jesus to a new life of freedom and joy.
Chapter 9 – A man blind from birth was “called” by Jesus to see, both physically and spiritually.
Chapter 11 – Two grieving sisters were “called” to experience Jesus at the point of their greatest suffering.
We, too, are “called” to meet with Jesus and to receive exactly what is needed for our lives. When Jesus called Mary, she immediately got up and went to him (verse 28-29).
Today, Jesus is “calling” to us with the invitation of a lifetime. Let’s get up quickly and go to him and begin living in a friendship-relationship with him.
Mary – layers of grief
John 11.30-32 – Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
The people that I highlighted above had something in common. All of these people were profoundly acquainted with suffering. Mary was no different. Like her sister, she expressed her disappointment that Jesus did not come to heal their brother, who had been in a tomb for four days.
If you are like me, you are probably tired of talk about suffering. Several times each day we are reminded of the numbers of people who are dying from the corona virus pandemic. Even in this current portion of the Gospel of John, there is a heavy emphasis on suffering.
Let’s not despair. Jesus has been present in every instance of suffering we have seen in John’s Gospel. All of these stories in John are not fictional. They are the reality of what God does and is willing to do for us today. God is present with us though the Holy Spirit. When we recognize he is “calling” us to live in a relationship with him and when we go to him, it will make all of the difference in our lives.
“Weep with those who weep” (Romans 12.15).
John 11.33-37 – When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved.
34 He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.”
35 Jesus began to weep.
36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
My counseling professor in seminary made a big impression on my life. I make short visits to the hospital, because Dr. Rutledge told us that was the best thing to do. I work at listening to people when they come to see me, because my professor taught us how helpful this is. I, also, remember him vividly telling us that when people are grieving, just to grieve along with them.
He related to our class of going to a hospital to meet with a man whose wife had just died. The man turned his head to the wall and wept. Dr. Rutledge did the exact same thing. He turned to the wall, put his hand on the man’s shoulder and wept alongside of him. Later, the man related to my professor how comforting he had been to him in the hospital.
Could it be that my professor learned his method of dealing with grief from Jesus? In the face of grieving family and friends, Jesus joined them and wept right along with them.
Mary and Martha sent Jesus a note which was a prayer to their friend Jesus. They said, “Lord, he whom you love is ill” (John 11.3). This prayer set in motion all of the events that ended in the miracle of Lazarus being raised from the dead. (Tomorrow’s blog article will cover this event.)
What prayer can you send to your friend, Jesus, in this time of world-wide crisis? Please take ten minutes today to ask God how to pray for the your family, friends, work associates, our country’s leaders, and the world. That’s a big task, but God is a big God!
When God gives you direction, please do as did Mary and Martha. Simply tell God what is needed. There are ample prayer promises in the Bible that assure us he will respond.
Dear Jesus, the world whom you love is ill. Our sickness is within and without. Within, we have served the idols of our culture and we have disregarded your clear directions. Without, there is this pandemic. Please come and cure your sick world.