I can only image how hard it is to be my friend sometimes. When I laundry list my faults, the list is huge. However, I also can’t image being Jesus’s friend, who has no faults. I know he was human with human emotions, but to have a friend who is always righteously angry? I would have no chance in an argument with Jesus. I also can’t imagine sitting next to your friend who has come to town for dinner on his way to Jerusalem, for the last time. Clearly Jesus had talked to Martha, Mary, and Lazarus about this. After raising Lazarus up, I’m guessing Jesus had some ‘splainin’ to do – or at least some summing up.
In words, Martha and Mary believed. They knew the right words. Martha responded, “Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.” She knew the answers, but Jesus knew she didn’t believe fully in her heart the answers, or she would have said, “Oh, thank your dad you are here, now you can wake Lazurus up and we can have dinner.” when Jesus asked the stone to roll, Martha would have helped push it aside versus try to block and protect JC from the smell. Jesus is crying with anger by this time. Mary is weeping and mourning, Martha is defying, and the disciples are wishy-washy at best. In fact, Jesus made them come with him so they would believe, “And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come, let’s go see him.”
How frustrating it must be for someone suffering and facing death to be surrounded by people who say they get it, but just don’t, can’t, won’t. How amazingly patient Jesus was and is.
So now, as he sits at the table with his three friends and they are making that silent eye contact, that soul to soul connection in which there is sorrow and understanding, the time spent preaching and proving is worth it. Here are three people who know Jesus. They are his persons, his BFFs, and his sanctuary. Here he can kick back at the table and just be.
It is in this moment, this intimate moment when every person at that table is completely on the same page. It is in the moment, this pause in time, when there is no question and only answer. This one single breath in time when Mary says, “sorry, and thank you” with the pouring of perfume and wiping with her hair, that we see the humble connection of true friends of Jesus. The paradox of balancing that cool, collected confidence and the feelings of such unworthiness twists my brain, and I understand, sadly Judas’s reaction.
But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, “That perfume was worth a year’s wages.t It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself.
And there is that awkward silence, briefly, before Jesus says something, in which the people in the room stare at Judas and wonder what is wrong with him, to ruin such a tender, intimate moment. It is the moment when people leave they talk about on their way home, “What do you think was up with Judas tonight?” and theorizing begins. Maybe he was jealous, maybe he was bored, maybe he was tired of waiting for his “king” who was supposed to “rule and govern with fairness and judgement from the throne.” Maybe that’s it, this thief who was tired of Rome getting its way, wanted, waited, desired the blood bath, the war, that was supposed to be delivered with the Messiah. How could anyone with deceit and blood thirst on the mind connect with what was happening with Mary and Jesus?
How much do I miss because my expectations of God and Jesus are just that, mine?
In this story I am at times Martha, knowing with my mind, but not with my heart. At times I am Lazarus, just so happy to be alive. Other times I am the disciples, wishy-washy about what I know to be true. Sometimes, as rare as they are (which is hard to admit) I am Mary, caught in that moment, that gorgeous, wonderful moment of rich understanding. However, I am mainly Judas in this story, impatient, jealous, deceitful, and full of myself.
Today I will choose to be more like Lazarus, happy to be alive. And, like Norman Greenbaum, I will just know that when I die, I will go to the spirit in the sky.