Thursday, October 4, 2012

Weeping with Jesus

“Jesus wept.”  John 11:35

This is the shortest verse in the Bible and is easily overlooked in our reading.  John is describing Jesus’ response to Lazarus’ death.  The sight of the weeping Savior must have been a moving moment for the onlookers because upon seeing him the Jews exclaimed, “See how he loved him!”  Others sought to detract from our Lord’s grief by saying, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”  Nevertheless, our Lord’s grief was real.  He was truly troubled over the death of his friend.  Later John tells us that when Jesus came to the tomb, he was “deeply moved” yet again.  The tears of Jesus over the death of Lazarus are instructive for us.  They remind us that grief and sorrow are not unspiritual.  Jesus knew no sin.  We dare not think for a moment that Jesus’ tears are the result of sin or unbelief or lack of maturity or any such thing.  Our Savior was a man of sorrows.  The Bible tells us that Jesus wept.  It never once tells us that he smiled.  He may have smiled, but let us not think for a moment that being a mature Christian means that we are not allowed to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and grieve the loss of a loved one.  He was able to grieve even though he had perfect confidence in Lazarus’ future resurrection.  The hope of glory does not nullify the suffering of this present life.  Christians grieve but not as others who have no hope.  Our grief is real; yet it is tempered by the expectation of heavenly restoration.  We also learn from this that we have a sympathetic Savior.  He understands us when no one else seems to feel our pain.  He knows our suffering and temptation.  He knows the trials of life.  He knows what it is like to miss a loved one.  Jesus is not stoic and does not call his followers to stoicism.  We may talk all we want about a victorious Christianity where we have no struggles or sins or shortcomings or hardships, but this is not the way of the cross.  The theology of glory is not the Christian way.  We have a theology of the cross.  We have a way of sorrows.  The good news is that redemption and restoration are coming.  The Lord Jesus shall wipe every tear from our eyes.  But the coming restoration does not mean that our wounds are lightly healed.  Our Lord Jesus is not insensitive to our hurts.  If we come to him in an evening of weeping, he will assure us that joy comes with the morning.  He will rejoice over us with loud singing.  He will quiet us with his love.  No one weeps with those who weep better than Jesus.  He will not break the bruised reed or snuff out the faintly burning wick.  He will not kick us when we are down.  He will be there.  He will never leave nor forsake us.  Let us go to him with our sorrows.  Let us be confident that he understands.  Let us hear the voice of mercy calling.  As the hymn goes, “I will arise and go to Jesus.  He will embrace me in his arms.  In the arms of my dear Savior there are ten thousand charms.” 

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