Devotional - The Weeping Of Christ And Our Lives

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. John 11: 35 Jesus wept. (NIV)

    Two little words tucked away in the middle of the story of raising Lazarus from the dead. The shortest verse in the entire Bible. The assurance that Jesus Christ felt the same emotions you and I must wrestle with in our lives. Jesus wept. God does not waste anything in His Word beloved. Every Scripture should say something to us. From the grandest and most theological to the smallest and seemingly most innocuous. Jesus wept. There are two lessons to consider from this tiny verse; one more obvious than the other. There is instruction in this verse. There is assurance in this verse. There is comfort in this verse. Jesus wept.

    The more obvious lesson is that we serve a God who truly understands the heartaches this life will throw at us. Jesus is not some Dagon statue that we have to carry to and fro. He walked the earth as 100% God and 100% man. He had a life filled with emotions. He had a family like we have. He worked a job like we have to. He had friends like we have. He lost people He loved like we have. He understood pain, suffering, loss and betrayal. This verse is our assurance that God is not some distant, detached or uncaring God. The Psalmist records:

    You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. – Psalm 56: 8 (NLT)

    God does not waste our tears, He records them. He is infinitely aware of every tear that falls in our lives. This should provide assurance because we often feel like we live in a world that could simply care less about our suffering. We can often feel alone in our misery. Our pain can often feel as if no one understands what we are going through; or cares to stop their own lives long enough to pretend to care. God says no to all of those assumptions through this one verse. You have to realize that when those thoughts are emerging within our pain, that it is the enemy who is planting his seeds of doubt in our hearts against the goodness of God we know. Remember, all the enemy can do is give you something to consider. We often give him too much power. The devil never made you do anything. All he did was give you a choice but the “doing” is always all us. This is why when dealing with spiritual warfare, the Apostle Paul deals with how we think:

    For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. – 2Corinthians 10: 3-5 (NIV)

    But the sad truth is that we often do not wage our side of the spiritual war we are in. It becomes something we talk about in church but do not live in during the week. The problem is that Satan wages war on us every day. And we go through life with these disobedient thoughts running amok in our lives. “God doesn’t love me.” “I am all alone.” “No one understands.” But for every rogue thought there is a Bible verse and promise from God that assures you Satan is lying to you. God doesn’t love you? Not according to the Bible:

    “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. – Isaiah 49: 15-16 (NIV)

    You think you are all alone? Not according to the God you serve:

    And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28: 20b (NIV)

    You think no one understands? God does:

    Jesus wept. – John 11: 35 (NIV)

    That is what taking our thoughts captive means. It means we can read a story like Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead and realize that we serve a God who is intimately aware and concerned about everything we go through in this life. If you asked most people to name the thing they lack the most in their lives I am sure peace would be at the top of the list. That is because we live in a world that is in constant turmoil. Our lives run from one crisis to the next and we often do not deal well within those crises to begin with. We carry things over. We internalize things. We can sabotage the very peace we seek by refusing to live by the faith we claim to have. The recipe for peace is provided to us by God:

    Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4: 4-9 (NIV)

    There is so much theology in these verses. First of all – the Lord is near! We keep thinking He is not but the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the grave is alive inside ever believer. Secondly, live a life of rejoicing, not anxiety. God did not give us a spirit of anxiety but of love, power and a sound mind. It is the devil that wants us living lives bound to anxiety and depression. Worldly terms used to describe the helpless state we USED to live in. But we must present our requests to God through prayer. That doesn’t mean that we beg God to take it from us and then we hold firmly to it. It means we let it go. We trust that God is working all things out for our good as Romans 8: 28 assures us. And if He is working everything out for our good, exactly what is there to be anxious about? That is how you heart and mind is protected. While we often hear these verses being preached, the following verses are just as important if we are to feel the God of peace be with us in our valley. And look again at where Paul is teaching – the mind. What do we think about? What do we focus our minds upon? In this world we are taught to “cope” with our problems, that is – how to live with them. God does not want you living with your problems beloved – He wants you conquering them! The world encourages us to talk, often to no end, about our pain. God wants you to let it go. Things like pain, depression and anxiety are parasitic in nature. They feed off themselves and the attention we pay them. There are simply too many Christians leading completely bound lives. We must change our thought life efforts to focus on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. That is where peace resides. Peace resides in the assurance that God will be God and take care of the things that I might be worried about. Therefore, I will concentrate on God and let Him concentrate on me. God is not far away from you beloved. He is always right there, collecting your tears, recording your pain, and in many instances, carrying you through.

    The second lesson from the key verse may hit closer to home. Have we stopped to ask ourselves why did Jesus weep at this particular instance in the Gospels? Many would say that it was because His friend Lazarus was dead. While I can see that I think it misses the mark. Remember, it was Jesus who delayed in coming to Lazarus, specifically because He knew that he would pass away and God would be glorified in his being raised from the dead. Remember also that Jesus knew full well that He was about raise Lazarus from the dead. No, I think Jesus wept at this point because of His friends and their mourning. Here are some of the preceding verses to the key verse:

    “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.
    When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. – John 11: 21; 32-33 (NIV)

    If only you had been here. His friends falling at His feet in tears. He shouldn’t be dead. Jesus loved Mary and Martha and Lazarus. They were His friends. He cared deeply for them. The end result here is that He was “deeply moved in spirit and troubled.” Jesus wept because His friends were hurting. He wept because He cared about the turmoil His friends were going through and felt their pain. Let me close the devotional today by suggesting that we do not often do this very well in the modern church. We are sometimes better at creating peripheral friendships than real ones. We can more easily say that we will “pray for you” but maybe not take the time out of our own lives to actually spend time with someone. To see their tears. To feel their pain.

    Jesus wept to show us what should really matter in our lives. What is truly worth weeping over. In our society we cry over our careers, our 401K plan, the economy, or even such trivial things as our favorite sports team. But then when faced with a brother or sister who is living their lives in pain, we can often shut it out. Or use trite Christianisms to ease their suffering. When Jesus saw His friends crying, He did not say, “Well the joy of the Lord is your strength!” He didn’t say, “Well, you just got to walk in the spirit!” No; instead He said, “take me to your pain”:

    Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. – John 11: 34 (NIV)

    Where have you laid your sorrow? Where have you entombed your pain? Where is the source of your grief – let me go there. Let me go and see what I can do to ease your suffering. Not just on the periphery but at the heart. This was how Jesus envisioned His church. Lifting each other up. Supporting each other. Early on here is how the church was described:

    All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need. – Acts 4: 32-35 (NIV)

    Our greatest needs are not material in nature. They are emotional. They are in our soul. But as Christians sometimes we only know how to speak to each other’s spirit. We over-Christianize everything. The soul doesn’t need a Scripture but it may need a hug. The soul doesn’t need doctrine recited to it but it may need someone to spend some real time with. To mourn with. To weep with.

    Realize that the Gospel account could have just had Jesus come to town and raise Lazarus and everything would be fine. God would be glorified and His power would be evident for all to see. But the Gospel pauses for two simple words in verse 35 to assure us of what kind of God it is that we serve. A God who is intimately connected to us and is genuinely concerned about what troubles us. But it also pauses to remind us who we are supposed to be to each other. We should not be the religious leaders who walked by the wounded man in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. People who can see someone lying in a pool of blood and walk on by. But unfortunately we see it every day in the church. We see our brother or sister lying in their emotional pool of blood and walk right on by. Maybe we can offer up a platitude or Christianism. Maybe we will assure them we will pray for them and maybe we even actually do. Then we run back to our own little world and think that we have done our religious duty.

    And we have. But we have not done our Christian duty. Being Christian should not be about religiosity but about people. About stopping our lives long enough to weep. About caring if our brother or sister is in pain. Jesus wept and I thank God that He did because it assures me that I serve a caring God and teaches me that if I truly aspire to be more Christ-like then I too must care. I too must weep.

    Reverend Anthony Wade – December 26, 2011
  2. Given the ongoing heartache up here after Hurricane Sandy, I thought this devotional from last year might minister to someone...blessings.

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