Monday Morning Devotion-September 6, 2021
MaryÂ°said, "Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died." When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within Him, and he was deeply troubled. "Where have you put him?" he asked them. They told Him, Lord, come and see." Then Jesus wept. John 11:32-35
It's the shortest verse of scripture in the entire Bible. Two words. One noun, one verb. It's a powerful, yet in some ways puzzling verse. John 11:35 simply says: Jesus wept.
What's up with that? The one we call Master! Savior! Lord! The one who can give sight to the blind. The one who can heal the lame and have them walking again. He's crying? In public no less? That's not something we would expect from the One who was about to perform another dramatic miracle.
And just before that we read that Jesus experienced deep anger that welled up in Him. Also, we see that Jesus was deeply troubled. These don't seem characteristic of the powerful Lord of the Universe. The Son of the Living God. The one who was there at the creation of the World. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. John1:1-2. Quest Study Bible (QSB): "In this verse the Word refers to Jesus who is the personal presence of God."
We know that Jesus has displayed a temper, i.e., showed anger before when he turned over the tables of the moneychangers in the temple and ran them out. We can only imagine that many times the foolish, irresponsible actions and lack of faith by people troubled Him. But, for Him to cry in public? That's OK for us because we are weak, emotional humans at times. But Jesus crying? Not something we would have expected.
To get a grasp on this let's look at some Bible commentaries for assistance. QSB says that it was the first century custom of Jewish Mourners to "wail loudly" when they came to comfort those who had lost a loved one. But in this verse, "a completely different word is used that expresses the idea of quietly shedding tears. Even so, it seems strange that Jesus would weep knowing He was going to raise his friend from the dead. It seems most likely that Jesus cried because of the agonizing impact of Lazarus's death on the family and friends."
The Life Application Bible (LAB) says: "John stresses that we have a God who cares. This portrait contrasts with the Greek concept of God that was popular in that day---a God with no emotions and no messy involvement with humans. Here we see many of Jesus' emotions-compassion, indignation, sorrow, even frustration. He often expressed deep emotion, and we must never be afraid to reveal our true feelings to Him. He understands them, for He experienced them. Be honest, and don't try to hide anything from your Savior. He cares."
In a recent sermon on "Who is Jesus" Pastor Jason Fritz said: "When Jesus saw Mary weeping and when he saw the others around her weeping he was deeply moved in His spirit and troubled. He could feel their pain and their loss. And in the crowd, there were those who said. 'See how he loved him."
There were also those in the crowd who were critical of Jesus. You know those kinds of folks. They are out there. Ready to criticize. To find fault. To blame. Their nature is to be negative. They said: "This man who healed a blind man. Why couldn't he keep Lazarus from dying?'
Hey, Jesus knows how to shut those types up. He calls on the glory of God, the Heavenly Father, to show them Who is boss. Who is in control. Ignoring the concerns that there might be a stench involved, since Lazarus has been in the grave for four days, He reminds his friends (verse 40) "Didn't I tell you that you will see God's glory if you believe."
As His command to roll the stone away is being obeyed Jesus looks to the heavens and says: "Father thank you for hearing me." He knows that his Heavenly Father always hears Him, but He has a point to be made publicly that a miracle is about to happen and where the power for that to happen comes from. It comes from the same place that every answered prayer of ours comes from. Heaven.
Now this same Man who was weeping with the rest of the people moments ago shows that He has certainly regained his composure (which He never really lost) and these folks can just step back and watch the grandeur of Heaven unfold. They are about to see a real miracle take place. Right before their very eyes.
Jesus shouted: "Lazarus, come out!"
I love this next command. "Unwrap him and let him go!"
Boom! Game Over! God wins again!
The reason I like that final command so much is that it happens with every one of our prayers.
When we are facing problems no matter how big or how small. When we pray in faith, like Jesus did, for the Heavenly Father to lift our burdens. As we experience our grief, helplessness, desperation or whatever we prayed for help. It's time for the weeping to end. It's time for giving thanks as those words, will joyously resonate with us.
"Unbind them and let them go!"
Prayer: Jesus, thank you for showing us that it is OK to weep because you will "unwrap us" from whatever is threatening our peace of mind and will let us move forward. Amen!