“The master is here and he calls for you specifically”
I stand up immediately and follow Martha. I had waited for this moment, rehearsed my lines, carefully chose and arranged the words with which I would let my disappointment show. My hopes had been terribly dashed by this Master. I had seen him do amazing extraordinary things, heard of his works and heard His words. I had experienced the warmth of his love on a very personal level and this fueled my hopes that when my brother, whom he also loved dearly, fell sick he would suspend all he had to do to be here. To save him.
I wipe tears from the corner of my eyes. It hurts to wipe them. Four days of crying had gifted me swollen eyes and it hurt to touch them. “He’s the ressurrection and the life, why, why did he keep this life away when we needed it the most?!” Martha’s words from last night echoes in my head as I walk behind her. I ignore the people following us, not saying a word to anyone or answering their unspoken questions. They have no idea where I am going and I’m in no mood to explain. Martha had informed me of the master’s invitation in hushed tones.
I pick my pace as I sight the place where he stands. Fresh pain sweeps across my chest, possible scenarios of how this day would have been if this master had come four days earlier play through my mind. Lazarus would have been here, among these men surrounding him, hearing him. Each step is painful, filled with agony. He looks at me and my knees tremble and I fall at his feet. The compassion in his eyes confuse me. How can you love someone and hurt them so?. But I’m in no mood for questions. I’m here for another reason.
With all the accusation I can muster into my voice, I say ” Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died”. Fresh , raw pain rises from my bowels, takes a firm grip on my throat, tearing it’s way up in loud sobs. I give in to the agony. My tear glands corporate also, donating a flood of tears. I hear the people who had followed me weeping also. Their tears feed mine and mine theirs until the very air is charged with molecules of mourning.
The master sighs. A troubled sigh. I’m still on my knees, at his feet. This place he had once commended me for, but this time it’s different.
“Where have you kept him?”
I’m startled by his question. I follow dumbly as we walk to where my brother lay. I watch everything as in a daze, the master asking for the stone to be rolled away, Martha arguing that the body would stink terribly and the master emphasizing that believing him leads to seeing the glory of God.
The air stinks, just as Martha had said it would. The master is raising his hands now. The air still stinks but something different wraps around the atmosphere as the master prays to his father. Silence sweeps through the crowd. The air holds still. The Master’s voice breaks through the shield of silence, bounces through each molecule of oxygen and hydrogen until it lands in the tomb where my brother lay. Lazarus comes out. All bound. How did he walk?
I’m too dazed to reason. Too shocked to brainstorm. Fresh tears fill my eyes as understanding dawn on me. In this moment of witnessing the present tense of the Master’s personality. I too have walked out of my tomb of unbelief. I who sat at the Master’s feet and was commended for choosing the better thing, I had missed it. The Master is the resurrection and the life. Is. Not was not will be. He is.
I weep again as my sin of unbelief stares me in the face. I make a decision to believe him from now on. To never again doubt or interpret his words to suit my understanding. He meant what he said and I will take his words Literally!
I see him seated at the table, the expression on his face that of one who was enjoying his meal. I shut my eyes as I imagine how that face will look stonecold and dead. I open my eyes. It’s no use fighting it, if he said he would be killed, then he would.
I disappear back into the room. If I could give him my life, I would. I reach for my clothes drawer and pull out my alabaster box. Touching it reminds me of Solomon’s temple, it’s the same stone. Although costly, its price is nothing compared to the price of the oil inside it.
I move towards him. I had played this scene over and again in my head. I would make him, my master, the best smelling corpse in the history of corpses. The last time we met, I displayed such unbelief that troubled him. As I kneel, I quietly hope this shows him I believe. I have faith in his words. He means what he says, difficult to accept that he would die, but I believe him.
I break open the box. The gasps above me and around the room informs me the scent is recognized. They know it’s pure nard. His feet has dust in them. It reminds me that he is as human as me and just as he can be drenched in earth’s dust, he can also die. Imagining him dead brings fresh tears to my eyes. I weep for him, his death and for me, my great unbelief all along.
I can’t pour oil in tears so I wipe them off his feet with my hair. Dried, I pour the oil on his feet. Its redness reminds me of blood. Will he bleed before dying? I shut my eyes, trying to savour the moment. Surprised screams and an upset voice steal the sacredness of the moment.
“What waste?!!!! We should have sold this oil and helped a million poor people!”
He is right. But he doesn’t get it. I hear the master sigh. In my defense he says “You always have the poor with you, but I won’t always be here. She’s preparing me for my burial”
Warmth hits my heart and spreads all over me. He gets it. He gets I believe. I believe him. But the tears keep flowing. I love this man. I raise my head and our eyes meet. We both hold an unspoken understanding that this is true , this will happen. He will die. For me.
Matthew 26:6-13 Mark 14:2-9. John 12:1-8.