(John 11:35 NIV) Jesus wept.
This morning we continue this mini-series “Lessons from Lazarus.” Yesterday we left off where Jesus finally arrived at Bethany after Lazarus had been dead for four days. Martha came out to meet Jesus and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died… ” Her frustration was evident and understandable. Jesus responded in faith saying, “Your brother will rise again.” She could/should have rejoiced right then and there, but she misinterpreted the statement. She thought Jesus was talking about rising again in the last days. Nevertheless, she appreciated the fact that Jesus was there. She called for her sister Mary to come out and meet Jesus. Mary came out, fell at Jesus’ feet and said the same thing, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Mary too was frustrated and crying, but she was a worshipper and she spoke to Jesus from her position of worship… her knees. At this point something amazing happened. Jesus was accustomed to people falling at His feet. He was even accustomed to people crying. You would think that this would be no different, but somehow it was. Jesus loved this family and they loved Him. When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews that had come along with her began to weep also, He was deeply moved in His Spirit. He tried to hold it in and asked for the location of the body, but then, as if the reality of the situation had overtaken Jesus, the Bible says that He wept. Our Lord literally began to cry physical tears, as an outburst of human emotion, along with all those present. He still had the answer to the problem, and He already knew He would raise Lazarus from the dead, but before He performed the miracle He cried with the family He loved. Wow! Isn’t that amazing?
So what does this mean to you today? Let’s look at two golden nuggets:
1. It is alright to be real with God: Both Martha and Mary had the same response to meeting Jesus; they both said, “Lord, if you had here, my brother would not have died.” Some may consider their statement to be complaining before God, while others see it as simply being open and honest. Either way, they shared their heart with the one they knew would listen. When we pray, our prayer should not be some canned, stale, and prepared prayer. We don’t have to use King James English for God to hear us. We don’t have to pepper our prayer with religious rhetoric. We don’t have to sit or stand or kneel. We don’t have to have our eyes closed or open. There is not set way to pray and there is not set manner in which to come. It is obviously most effective when we pray in the name of Jesus, in faith, and in accordance with the scriptures; but if we are hurting and cannot recall any scriptures at the time, we should at least share our heart with our Creator. He is always willing to hear us. Jesus – God in the flesh – had compassion for Mary and Matha and you can rest assured that He will have compassion for you when you are hurting. So don’t sugar-coat your pain, be real with the God of your salvation.
2. God actually cares about us: God is mindful of us (Ps 8:4) and thinks about us (Jer 29:11). Our Father cares and so did Jesus. In this text Jesus cried like we cry. He shed tears like we shed tears. He was moved like we are moved. The point is that we do not serve a distant and despondent God. We serve a God that came down and lived like we live so that He could meet us where we are. He worked like we work, sweated like we sweat, slept like we sleep, loved like we love, and hurt like we hurt. Jesus loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus and He also loves us. Think about that for a moment. The God that created the universe loves you. The reality of His love is enough to turn any disappointed heart and dark situation around!
Closing Confession: Father, I know that You will not violate Your own Word. I have confidence that You love me as Yourself. You care for me. You think about me. You are mindful of me. You search me, know me, and are acquainted with all my ways. Your love for me gives me the peace and confidence to face this day and anything that may arise in it. Thank you for loving me! Your love is the wind beneath my wings. The reality of Your love transforms me from the inside out. I am able to love others, because I am convinced that You love me! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen!
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper!