I have a print by the Swiss painter Eugene Burnand (d. 1821) hanging in my office. It is a copy of his most famous work, entitled "The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Supulchre on Easter Morning". The painting is based on the Gospel of John 20:1-9, "Peter and the other disciple went to the Tomb. They ran side by side". They are running, of course, because they have just been told by Mary Magdalene, "They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him".
Bulletin Article for Sunday April 13: Palm Sunday
Today is Palm Sunday. It's the beginning of Holy Week. Christ and His apostles are in Jerusalem for the climax of His earthly ministry. Our Lenten journey nears its conclusion. However, our Lenten walk with Christ attains its fulfillment through our spiritual participation in His trials this week. This means that we'll share in the Last Supper with Christ and His apostles. Soon after we'll pray in the Garden of Gethsemane with Christ while empathizing with His sorrow and anguish at what's about to happen. We'll be with Jesus, both times, when He finds His disciples sleeping despite His repeated pleading that they remain awake. During the culmination of His betrayal by one of His closest friends we'll listen to Christ denounce the use of violence and then we'll notice that all His disciples have disappeared and He's alone. We'll watch Christ rejected and condemned by His people. We'll hear the crowd yell "let Him be crucified, let Him be crucified." As Christ struggles and stumbles while carrying His cross we'll recognize that He's also endured a scourging from the hands of Roman soldiers. We'll witness Christ nailed to a cross, hoisted up, mocked and eventually die.
Jesus is moving towards the tomb of Lazarus. Jesus is moving into the territory of the dead. Jesus is moving into the place that strikes mortal terror in our hearts, the place of death. As a matter of fact Jesus waited on purpose for Lazarus to die. Jesus wanted to reveal not his power to heal, which he shows many times, but his power over death. Jesus is moving there because he loves us. Lazarus represents you and me and Jesus loves Lazarus; Jesus loves you and me. Jesus is moving into enemy territory because he loves us and his love is stronger than death.
Many early church fathers saw in the blind man a figure of the entire human race- blind, alone, (his parents shunned him) and desperate. It all started with something called original sin that resulted in physical afflictions, spiritual blindness and dysfunctional relationships. We don't just have blind spots, we are blind.
Isn't it strange that Jesus chose a person of questionable reputation (a sinner) whose was a member of a group subordinate (a woman) at that time which was also despised (Samaritans) to have a theological discussion. Why didn't he go to the head of the local ministerial alliance or the local college if he wanted to have a theological discussion? Well, I think because this is not a head trip for Jesus, it is about searching for lost souls and hearts. God always looks for a way into our hearts through the wounded parts. Jesus is always looking for heart country.