Tuesday, August 9, 2016

John 11:35

Jesus wept.

This is perhaps one of the shortest verses in the Bible, but it gives us so much insight to the nature of our Lord.

Jesus cried outwardly for His friend.

John tells us, in Chapter 11, that Lazarus lived in Bethany with his sisters Mary and Martha.  The Gospel also tells us that Lazarus was a dear friend.

I had an old friend who was a priest and a missionary.  His travels took him all over the United States and Canada.  When he was home he would often get together with my family.  We told jokes, talked about the new music we've discovered, reminisced about early days in his ministry and laughed.

Was the relationship Jesus had with Lazarus similar?

Although the Apostles were in a close relationship with Jesus, it seems he was constantly teaching them the same parables as those who sat at His feet.  Lazarus might have been a breath of fresh air.

Maybe I read more into the passage than there actually is.  But here is what we know, Jesus knew Lazarus would die.  He knew the moment when Mary and Martha's brother would breathe his last.  There was a purpose to the death of His 'dear friend'.

So why did He weep?
He knew He could raise Lazarus from the tomb.
He thanked His Father for listening, knowing He would be heard.
He thanked His Father for showing His glory to those who witnessed.

And He wept, enough so that those nearby took note.

Perhaps the deepest portion of Jesus' pain for His friend was the truth that Jesus is the key to unlocking Heaven.  Jesus had not yet gone to the cross.  He had yet to take the sin of the world onto himself.  The soul of Lazarus had nowhere to dwell for four days except Hades.

I read of a tradition that says Lazarus never smiled after Jesus resurrected him, worried by the sight of the lost souls he encountered during his four days in Hades.

I wonder if the tears Jesus shed were because of what His friend endured, dying without having been saved, dying before grace paved the way for us to achieve Heaven.

I believe this is how Jesus weeps for us.  When we direct our lives away from Him, away from His grace and embrace sin instead of His love.

Jean-Baptiste Jouvenet - The Raising of Lazarus

copyright 2016 - Donald P James Jr

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