I believe that Jesus felt extra joy when He came near to this scene.
Last Sunday I shared a watercolor of the Pool of Bethesda by English painter David Roberts. This is his painting of Bethany.
Bethany is near Jerusalem. It was the home village of Jesus’ friends Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. How Jesus must have looked forward to greeting these close friends, going inside, taking off His sandals, washing His feet (or having them washed), sitting down after His journey, and sharing the sweet companionship of people He loved who also loved Him.
How Lazarus, Mary, and Martha must have relished His visits and dreaded the moment when He left.
I know they must have missed Him when He went back to Heaven. However, before He left, He offered them the same offer He gives to us. The opportunity to have Him with us always.
I will ask the Father,
and He will give you another Helper,
that He may be with you forever;
that is the Spirit of truth,
whom the world cannot receive,
because it does not see Him or know Him,
but you know Him because He abides with you
and will be in you.
I will not leave you as orphans;
I will come to you.
After a little while the world will no longer see Me,
but you will see Me;
because I live, you will live also.
In that day you will know that I am in My Father,
and you in Me, and I in you.