“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus” (v. 5). To me, this is one of the most beautiful sentences in scripture. The naming of specific people is comforting; it’s so different from the generic “blanket” love of Jesus for all people that I heard about growing up, as if there’s no difference between his friends and enemies, believers and unbelievers. This is a very personal love for his friends.
But I also love that this sentence is followed by, “So…” Everything that follows happens because Jesus loved these three friends. Jesus stayed put for two more days BECAUSE he loved them. Lazarus died BECAUSE Jesus loved them. Mary and Martha suffered in mourning for four days BECAUSE Jesus loved them. Lazarus was raised from the dead BECAUSE Jesus loved them.
If only I could see my struggles through that lens. Whatever I’m going through, however I’m feeling, it’s because Jesus loves me, and he sees the bigger picture. In fact, he’s the artist. Today I’m struggling for several reasons — recent sin, concerns for a friend’s health, worries about the future. I hope that as I meditate on this verse for a little while longer, I can see myself in this love: “Now Jesus loved Bryan. So…”