April Faith Worship Devotions

Jesus wept. (Part 1)

"He said, 'Where have you laid him?' They said to Him, 'Lord, come and see.' Jesus wept." ~John 11>34

The beautiful story of the life of our Savior Jesus Christ shows that, while He was here on earth, He experienced the fullness of the human condition. The temptations. The range of emotions. The circumstances. The joys and the sorrows. Highs and lows. Yes, Jesus did walk through all that we walk through in life, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15) “Jesus wept,” the shortest Bible verse (in English), is found in John 11:35 and shows that Jesus Christ was even brought to tears at times. But here is what is the most powerful thing about that tiny, little verse: He may have wept at the same time as everyone else, but it was not for the same reasons.

In John chapter 11, Jesus’ dear friend Lazarus had died and by the time Jesus had gotten there, Lazarus had been dead for several days. What disappointed His friends the most was knowing that Jesus had been aware that Lazarus was sick and yet didn’t come in time to save him. Here’s how the story goes:

“When Mary came to where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, ‘Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.’ When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. He said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to Him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus wept.”

The challenge of faith is to walk in something you have no reason whatsoever to believe in

The Jews and the family members were all weeping, as John tells us. Their weeping was the kind of pain-filled screaming and wailing and gut-wrenching sobs of grief and pain that happen when you’ve experience a deep and tremendous loss. This same type of agonizing cry was how Peter wept when he had denied Jesus three times (Matthew 26:75), and when Jairus’ daughter had died (Mark 5:39) and when Jesus said, “Blessed are those who weep, for they shall be comforted.” (Luke 6:21) Grief. Loss. Pain. Despair. Emptiness. Agony. They were weeping for death of their beloved. But.

[Read this next: “Lift Up Thine Eyes”]

While “Jesus wept” with them, His weeping was not the same. According to John’s words in the Greek, Jesus’ tears were much different. A more accurate translation would be this: Jesus had tears in His eyes. He wasn’t wailing and sobbing. Jesus wasn’t overcome with grief and pain at the death of Lazarus. His tears were not tears of loss and agony. Yes, He had tears in His eyes, but not for Lazarus. Jesus cried at this time because He had seen everyone’s grief around Him and, “He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.” Why? Their lack of faith. These people were Jesus’ friends. They’d walked with Him. They’d seen His miracles. They’d experienced His power. They’d seen blind eyes open, lame walk, lepers cleansed, demons cast out. Yet, as soon as life got hard, really hard, they fell right back into fear, doubt and pain, even going so far as to blame and accuse Him for not being there when they needed Him. Have you ever done that? I have. The challenge of faith is to walk in something you have no reason whatsoever to believe in, to behave like a pretender, like every promise the Lord has ever made has already come true. You’ve seen Jesus’ miracles in your life. You’ve witness His goodness, His power. You know Him. Don’t look at the death, pain, loss, the hopeless situation, the diagnosis, behaviors, lack of progress, things getting worse – stand firm in your faith in Jesus Christ, the Savior, because He said, If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (Mark 9:23) 

Thought for today

These friends were weeping and lamenting for a physical loss and Jesus had tears in His eyes so they assumed He was grieving too, or maybe that He regretting not being there in time to save Lazarus. “Then the Jews said, ‘See how He loved him.'” (John 11:36. But no! Jesus’ eyes filled with tears from the inner turmoil He experienced at the spiritual loss – seeing how quickly and easily His disciples fell out of faith. Does Jesus raise every, single person who dies on earth? No. Does every sick person get miraculously healed on earth? No. And so many times we blame Him for the pain and loss saying, “If only you have been there…!” He is there! How will He work it out? I don’t know! Will things turn out how you’d hoped? I don’t know! Faith doesn’t ask questions. Faith speaks faith from the Word of God. We tend to look at life with natural eyes and Jesus sees it all with spiritual eyes, with a perspective of eternity and a Kingdom purpose. “Let us firmly hold the profession of our faith without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23)

[Make sure you catch each devotional in this week’s powerful series about the heart of the Savior expressed in His tears!]

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