It has always been interesting to me that Jesus spent His down time, his rest time, in the town of Bethany. Jesus' friends lived there, people he could relax around, people who seemed to want nothing from him except to listen to him, feed him.
The name Bethany, is translated to be House of Suffering. The people who lived in this little community just two miles outside of Jerusalem where there because they where suffering, they where sick, dying, and hurting. Those unwanted, unclean, with out value to the Jerusalem community would live there or be sent there. Lazerus died there, with some kind of sickness, Jesus hung out at Simon the Lepers house. Many, many times the Bible refers to Jesus spending his nights in Bethany. In fact I cannot recall right now that the Bible says Jesus ever spent a night in Jerusalem during His ministry, except to be beaten and killed, in other words to suffer himself.
The incredible power to bring life to the dead happened there, Jesus spent his last days before going to his death there, he ascended to heaven there. Why so much power in a place of so much suffering, why would Jesus choose to be with this community of people regularly?
I have no particular Bibical answer. I can only say that I understand why this was, I know the draw to that place. The people there had extreme faith in Gods power, they loved Jesus, they listened to Jesus, they served Jesus. Those are the people I love to be with, those are the people who have taught me most of what I know about love, compassion, faith, prayer, honesty, humbleness, serving, and grace. In this community I have seen God's power active in ways I have never seen anywhere else. The spiritual giants in my life have come from this community. What was their common denominator... suffering.I so badly want people to know that a church body cannot be full without this element. We need those who know suffering to be with us. During this Easter season we celebrate our freedom, our victory, our life that was wrought in suffering and rejection, humbleness and love, through the cross. As we celebrate lets commit to those Jesus loved enough to call his friends through his time, actions and power. If we want the church to be all it can be, we must take a walk outside the golden palace walls, to the foot of the mountain, to a place like Bethany and embrace those with leprosy, sickness, and suffering, just like Jesus did.