Mary knows that the world brings death even upon the one through whom it was created in the first place. I think that’s a good lesson for us—especially now. As everyone is trying to deal with life as it is now, we could be facing a future that looks radically different from the past—even within the Christian church itself.
I think that this time of physical distance between us and the ones we care about might be an opportunity—a time of honest reflection. How do I normally interact with those around me? How might I better endure for the sake of those around me? Not just to feel good about ourselves or to do the right thing, but all inspired and captivated by the unending love that Jesus has for us. In his enduring he forgives us for when we fall short and promises us mercy and grace in his kingdom.
As Jesus stands there with Martha and Mary—with all those other people who have followed Martha and Mary to Jesus in their mourning—even as he himself mourns, Jesus has his mind on something greater than anything that they could have expected. And he tells Martha, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” Martha, you’re going to see something that you never thought was possible.
At that moment, John writes, “Jesus wept.” Jesus wept. Jesus sees the people in their sorrow. Jesus sees Martha and Mary, and something inside of him changes. He’s shaken to the core, and he just can’t take it. On the way to the tomb, knowing fully well what he is about to do, surrounded by so many mourning the death of Lazarus, crushed by what has happened, Jesus finally just loses it.
The love that Jesus has for Lazarus, the love that Jesus has for Martha and Mary, which will become increasingly more evident as the story unfolds—this selfless, unending, unconquerable love—is something so valuable that Jesus will risk his own life for it. Later in the story, he will give his own life for it—that God might be glorified.