Lazarus, Luke 10: 38-42
(I feel for Lazarus. This story made me think of all the times I probably embarrassed my brothers in front of their friends. Sorry, bros!)
I think what we see with Jesus and this family is true friendship. Lazarus, Mary and Martha are mentioned in more than one story and in more than one gospel. These folks were truly friends with Jesus. They had him in their home, they shared with him meals and morning coffee. They were free to be themselves. Can’t you picture this? Mary decides that this is her house and she wants to sit and listen to Jesus in the living room. Martha comes in and asks Jesus to make Mary help her in the kitchen. This is every day, down-to-earth feelings and conversations. This is how Jesus would like us to relate with him.
I would definitely consider all three of these people disciples of Jesus but I do not think they travelled with Jesus, rather Jesus travelled to them. Theirs was the home, the safe haven where Jesus felt comfortable, where he could rest and recharge. Bethany is not too far from Jerusalem and it is believed that Jesus may have stayed with them during the Passover on that last week of his life. Can you imagine what it was like for him that last week? Having a place where he could be at peace, surrounded by friends who didn’t want anything from him was probably one of the greatest gifts that anyone could offer.
Is ours a home that Jesus would travel to for conversation and respite? I don’t mean is it clean and tidy, I mean would he feel like he was welcomed and around friends? Can we sit down and just have a cup of coffee and some conversation with him or do we view him more like a Spiritual Santa Clause, someone we only go to give us what we want? I don’t’ think that Mary, Martha and Lazarus asked Jesus to do parlor tricks when he was in their home. I think they treated him like a friend, a friend they greatly respected and admired, but someone they cared about and enjoyed talking to.
During the season of Lent people typically give up something, so why don’t we give up asking Jesus to do something for us. Why don’t we see if for just the next two weeks, we can be the friend who enjoys Jesus’ company and not the person who only seeks him out when they need something. Agreed?