“After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied.35 Jesus wept.36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” John 11.28-37
“The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. 9 The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.” Psalm 145.8-9
Perhaps the greatest attribute of the Lord is his compassion. He shows it to his people, his children, when they are in the deepest time of need.
Jesus is on his way to heal Lazarus. He knows what is going to happen. It’s no surprise to him that he will raise this man from the dead. He is doing it, as he’s said earlier, so that God might be glorified. Yet he is still human. He’s moved by what he sees. He loves these people, especially the sisters who one after another have gone to meet him saying, “If you had been here he would not have died.”
Jesus, fully God and fully human, sees Mary, who falls at his feet weeping. He sees the one he loves and the God of the Universe, Messiah of the World, King of Creation, the Word made flesh weeps. Jesus, who knows the outcome, endures our pain.
We all know what is going to happen. He knows it. He sees it. He allowed it and he will redeem it. Yet until that point, the pain is great. It is real, persistent and present. The pain Jesus felt was the hardship that would lead him to the cross.
This is why I love God. I love how he’s defined in Psalm 145 as being “gracious and compassionate….slow to anger and rich in love.” He is “good to all, he has compassion on all he has made.” And so shall we. He who ordered the world into existence is full of love for his creation. We too are called to be like him. We are to show compassion to all we meet whether or not they show compassion in return. We are to imitate his example even if the world doesn’t reciprocate our response.
“O Lord God, you are gracious and compassionate. You are slow to anger and rich in love. I thank you Lord for loving us! Even when we are filthy in sin, distant from grace, removed from forgiveness — you love, you care, you do not condemn. Just as you restored the physical body of Lazarus, so you will restore us. Even today when hearts, minds and souls are hurting, when wounds are deep and the cut is straight to the heart, you care more than we could ever imagine. Thank you Lord for loving your people. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen