Reine Duell Bethany - Author and Illustrator
My Blog

We Want What We Want But We Don't Listen

In the Gospel of John, chapter 11, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.
     This one event -- the resurrection of Lazarus -- enacts a repeating phenomenon: the meaning of the event is obscured by the imposition of people's desires.
     When Jesus arrived at the village of Bethany, he knew that Lazarus had died. He had received notice that Lazarus was deathly ill four days before. When the four days ahsd passed, he point-blank told his disciples that Lazarus was dead and that this death would result in glory for God.
     Martha and Mary, Lazarus's sisters, both greeted Jesus by saying, "If you had been here, our brother would not have died." They saw only from their own point of view, as we all do. They didn't ask Jesus what was happening; they only wanted their brother alive.
     God's point of view, apparently, was to reveal his awesome, overwhelming reality. I don't think the resurrection of Lazarus was a mere power display on Jesus' part. Instead, God was revealing, again, the reality of himself as creator.
     To a degree, God got the result he wanted: some of the witnesses to Lazarus' resurrection put their faith in Jesus, and by extension, in God.
     But not everybody was looking for someone in which to put faith. The chief Jewish priests were looking for ways to maintain the stability of the Israelite nation. They didn't see the possibility of uniting the world under the loving reality of God through Jesus. They saw only that Jesus was more popular after Lazarus arose. This popularity could make Rome feel its power was threatened, and Rome might act mercilessly to maintain its hegemony.
     Therefore, the chief priests plotted to kill Jesus AND Lazarus -- as if the deaths of two more people would solve anything.
     Don't we always believe that if So-and-So would disappear, our problems would go away?
     The chief priests, who considered themselves leaders of people's relationship to God, nonetheless failed to notice God's work in Jesus' resurrection. They didn't think to themselves, "If Jesus can raise people from the definitively dead, then we had better not oppose him or even irritate him." They didn't even care that a beloved family and community member had been restored. They only saw from their limited and self-serving point of view.
     Don't we all look at a single event from our limited points of view, and too often miss the import of the event itself?
     My next Shu novel will deal with the blind desires of people who miss who Shu is, and see in him nothing more than an opportunity to get what they want.

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