Jesus’ Pastoral Care (1 of 2)

What kind of pastoral care did Jesus provide?

I was challenged to consider this question by a co-worker last week who used the story of Lazarus as an example. Here are the opening lines of this narrative from John 11, TNIV:

1 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.)

3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

Mary, Martha and Lazarus may have been some of Jesus’ closest friends outside of the twelve men who traveled with him. Jesus receives word that Lazarus is sick (in the hospital or hospice, if it were today, as we know from the story that he is near death) and Jesus proceeds to respond by staying where is for two days.

Two days is a long time when your best friend is near death.

There is little that is truly urgent in pastoral care.

What do you learn about Jesus’ pastoral care from this story?

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4 thoughts on “Jesus’ Pastoral Care (1 of 2)

  1. I was not his chief concern perhaps? Its interesting I’ve heard Adam say a couple of times now about the health care debate that Jesus spent “most” of his time healing. I think actually its one point where i would politely disagree. Actually he spent very little time healing – though when he did it was spectacular and almost always taught something powerful about the nature of the Kingdom. You’ve got to imagine that there was a lot more healing he could have done, in fact all of his time could have been utilized healing diseases and casting out demons. Perhaps what is interesting is how little time he spent in this activity given the extraordinary power to heal he possessed. I think Jesus understood his mission, something similar to John Wesley’s Charge to his Preachers “You have nothing to do but save souls – so spend and be spent in this regard”

  2. “There is little that is truly urgent in pastoral care.”

    That is quite an exegetical leap. Unless you have the ability to raise someone from the dead, I am not sure that Jesus actions in John 11 are appropriate to copy in our own work of pastoral care!

    I would say John’s point in this story is two-fold, 1. to show us Jesus’ great power over death…that’s important later, no?
    2. to show us Jesus’ great compassion, the fact that he cries over Lazarus tomb is deeply important.

    I would not see this as a lesson on how we care for one another in the family of the church.

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