As a little girl in Sunday School, this particular story always rubbed me the wrong way because the gospel writer went out of the way to state that some of those who watched the miracle of Lazarus being raised from the dead ran to the Pharisees and tattled.
Children learn early that tattling on one another is bad form.
The notion that the chain of events which would lead to Jesus’ suffering on the cross began with a handful of tattletales rubs young people the wrong way.
However, as I’ve grown, I’ve come to understand the fear that those people felt.
Unlike children, they knew that what they had witnessed would have ramifications far beyond Lazarus and his sisters.
People who are dead stay dead. It is one of the uniform laws of the universe that everyone of every culture understood.
Death was the end.
If someone had the power to undo that universal system, what could that mean for the order of the world?
Everything is topsy turvy in that situation.
Worse yet, many of those adults understood that Rome, who ruled by the sword, would not tolerate one of it’s subjects raising people from the dead.
Fear of the unknown, of the unexplained, of the unknowable and the unexplainable sent witnesses to the people they always turned to for advice: the Pharisees.
Now, when I read this story, I take the time to ask myself how I might be like the tattletales.
Part of me is a mystic that loves to dwell on the mystery of faith, but another part of me is a bit of a skeptic. I wonder what I would have thought if I had been at Lazarus’ tomb. I wonder if I would have fallen on my knees in wonder and awe, or if I would have run to someone I thought might be able to explain it better.
Rather than frowning at the tattletales or the misplaced fears of the Pharisees, I have learned to see myself in a story that upsets me so that I might confront my weaknesses head-on.
Do you always believe what your eyes see? Or are you prone to questioning? What are the matters of faith that you struggle to accept? Who do you turn to when you are struggling to understand? What might God be revealing to you through these things?
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