Saturday, December 20, 2014

John 11:1-3 -- On Being the Friend of God

"Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.
(It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)
Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick."
John 11:1-3

This is at the beginning of the story of raising Lazarus from the dead.  What strikes me today is all that seems to be underneath the surface here.  Mary was the same woman who had anointed him with oil, and washed his feet with her tears, who is mentioned in Luke 7:37-38.  At the end of that chapter, he forgives her sins and tells her to go in peace, but apparently he meets her family, and grows to love them.  I really like that part... that Christ didn't just encounter people once and touch their lives.  If that is all it was, it would have been enough, of course, but thinking of him following up with these people and developing friendships... for me, that makes Christ more personal, and less distanced and administrative.  The woman who he met in Luke 7 was a sinner, but he didn't stop and worry about her past.  He not only forgave her sins; he became her friend, and friends with her whole family.  I like the idea that even though God is far above us in so many ways, that he when he is among us, he doesn't even separate himself what we would think would be a normal amount in our society.  He doesn't act like he is the CEO and we are the workers.  He doesn't think that he would sully himself by interacting with people who have sinned, or brush people off because he is popular now. :)   Instead, he sits down with them, and loves them, and gets to know them.
I think sometimes when we think of God we think of him as some sterile administrator, looking down and judging us from above, completely inaccessible to the average person.  But God isn't like that even as much as *we* act like that.  God is here, with us, willing to talk all of it out, to listen to the smallest details of our lives, and he doesn't act bored or tune us out because he *isn't* bored, and he really wants to know.  He loves us, on the most personal level, and he wants to be our friends.
The miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead is a great and amazing one, but for me, it pales beside the opportunity we have to be the friend of God.  Today, let's open our minds and our hearts to him, and choose to accept that amazing friendship that we are offered.

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