How do you feel about new stuff? Do you like trying new foods? Do you like going to new places? Do you like meeting new people, having new experiences, learning new things? Maybe some of our perspective on new things is shaped by past experiences as well as some of our personality.
In our childhood, we experience lots of new things. Indeed, childhood is a time of discovery, exploring, epiphanies and novelty. As we grow and age, maybe we grow accustomed to doing life in certain ways, with less exploring and new discoveries.
I’m thinking about new stuff because I’ve been reading about Jesus’ interactions with Martha and Mary related to their brother, Lazarus. Martha and Mary were friends with Jesus. They had some vibrant interactions with Him at the end of Luke 10, when Jesus was visiting their house for dinner. After this, we read about Jesus interacting with these sisters in John 11, related to their brother being sick. In this chapter, Lazarus’ sisters sent word to Jesus, to let Him know that their brother was sick. I think they expected that Jesus would come and heal their brother, but that’s not what happened.
When you read this chapter, it’s clear that Jesus delays His coming to Martha and Mary for some days. Indeed, He waited so long that Lazarus was very much dead and the window for healing Lazarus had been closed and locked, never to open again. That was the mindset of both Martha and Mary when Jesus showed up on the scene, after their brother had been dead for four days.
In John 11: 21 and 32, Martha and Mary both say the same thing to Jesus. “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” Martha proceeds to have an educational conversation with Jesus, where He tells her that He is the resurrection. In contrast, Mary is quite overcome with grief, so much that she falls at Jesus’ feet in a puddle of tears, sorrow, anguish and probably extreme disappointment that Jesus didn’t show up in time to heal her brother.
This is where I think that we could take to heart some very important pause and wisdom. Both of these sisters expected that Jesus would appear before their brother died, so that He could heal Lazarus rather than their brother suffering and dying. In the minds of these sisters, Jesus was too late. He missed His chance to heal their brother.
On the other hand, I believe that Jesus showed up precisely when He intended to land, no matter the living or dead state of Lazarus. Further, I would propose to you that Jesus intentionally waited before He landed in Bethany, the village where Martha, Mary and Lazarus lived. I suspect that Jesus intended to do a resurrection rather than a healing – this was something new for Martha and Mary to consider and experience.
In looking at these interactions and outcomes between Jesus, Martha, Mary and Lazarus, we would be wise to recognize that Jesus can often do new things. Jesus can answer our prayers in ways that we don’t anticipate. Jesus can do better timing than our original expectations. And Jesus can do resurrections in our lives and not just healings. Let’s be open to the possibilities that Jesus can do new things in our lives!