Notes: November 14, 2009

Grief Counseling

What do you say to a friend who has experienced the loss of a believing loved one?

John 11:17-37

Jesus and Martha

  • Jesus arrived four days after the funeral.
  • Martha, upon hearing that Jesus was coming, left the house of mourners and went to him.
  • Her expression of confidence in the healing power of Jesus is straightforward; so also is her confidence in his ability to received whatever he asks in prayer.
  • Jesus, almost in answer to her confidence in his ability to pray, tells her that Lazarus will rise again.  After all, had she not said that he would get whatever he asks in prayer? Then he will pray for the resurrection of Lazarus.
  • Once confident, Martha declares her knowledge of the end-of-the-world resurrection of her brother. Jesus reveals that he is the resurrection and the life—no need to wait longer, to look further.
  • Does she believe this? She simply answers she believes Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of God, who was promised (by the prophets).
  • Martha then went home, leaving Jesus. Once home, she quietly instructed Mary to go to Jesus.

Jesus and Mary

  • Mary left immediately, followed by well-meaning friends.
  • Falling at the feet of Jesus, Mary also expresses confidence that Jesus could have saved Lazarus. One wonders whether the sisters weren’t complaining that Jesus had not prevented the death of Lazarus.
  • She was weeping. Her friends were weeping. Jesus wept (v. 35).
  • The Jews saw the weeping of Jesus as a sign of his great love for Lazarus; and some of them wondered aloud whether Jesus could have prevented the death of Lazarus (v. 37).