The Father Who Hears

Scripture Reading — John 11:1-7, 17, 38-44

Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.” — John 11:41

Crime and Punishment is Fyodor Dostoevsky’s famous novel about a poor young man, Raskolnikov, who comes up with a plan to kill an unscrupulous pawnbroker for her cash. The murder that he commits pushes him into a profound personal crisis and anguish.

The major step on his long road to confession and repentance comes as a result of hearing the story of Lazarus. Raskolnikov’s new friend Sonya reads John 11 to him, with unusual power and authority in her voice.

Dostoevsky masterfully interwove much of John 11 into his narrative. But why did he choose the story of Lazarus? Perhaps because it is such a powerful testimony to Jesus as our only hope in the face of death and despair. Jesus enters the most hopeless situation and in a miraculous way fills it with hope. He turns tragedy into ­triumph, and death into resurrection.

In the prayer of Jesus that we read today he addresses God as his personal Father. We know that the Father and the Son are part of the holy Trinity. It’s no wonder that Jesus expresses his thanksgiving and full commitment to his Father’s will.

As followers of Jesus, we have the privilege of praying to God our Father, who always hears and loves us and who gives us the sure hope of resurrection.

Prayer

Father, we praise you for the hope we have in Jesus. As your children, we can come to you with the ­assurance that you hear and respond in your love and mercy. Thank you for that amazing blessing. Amen.