by Marilyn Jenkins
The Fifth Friday of Lent
Jeremiah 29:1, 4-13 Psalms 22, 141, 143 Romans 11:13-24 John 11:1-27 or 12:1-10
In John 11, we read the story of Jesus raising Lazarus to life. This is a story we hear in full on the fifth Sunday in Lent year A. For me the story has always been one of great love, faith, and has provided a glimpse at Christ’s humanity. This year, a new dimension of the story has been added for me.
On the eleventh day of our Holy Land trip, we started the day at Beth-phage where we were to begin our walk down the Palm Sunday road. Beth-phage is just down the hill from Bethany, the town where Lazarus lived with his sisters Martha and Mary. Outside of the church at Beth-phage, our “teacher” John Peterson, began our lesson, not with Palm Sunday, but with the day before. He explained that on the Saturday before Holy Week, the Orthodox Church commemorates a major feast of the year, the miracle of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead after he had lain in the grave four days. As John explained, this miracle foreshadows Christ’s own Resurrection eight days later. For the disciples who were present that day, the miracle provided a true manifestation of the power of God that would bring them assurance during the events of the week that lay ahead.
This year will be the first of many that I will read John 11 and 12 in preparation for Holy Week– not just as a story of love and faith, but also as a foreshadowing of Jesus’ death and resurrection.