Today I’m reading John 11:28-37.
I’ve read this passage many times and I’ve heard others read and preach on it many times as well. I’m pretty sure I’ve even written a devotional on it.
That being said, I have several thoughts on this and I’m not sure how to best share them.
Let’s go with the what feels different this time, as in not the usual take I’ve heard.
Mary hears from Martha that Jesus has come and she rushes out to meet him. Many of their friends follow her thinking she is going to the tomb. Mary is crying, the friends are crying and Jesus is “deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.” He asks where they’ve lain Lazarus and they point him to the tomb and the Bible says, “Jesus wept.”
The people there say, “See how he loved him!”
My thought though, was see how he loves her and all of those there grieving. I’m not saying that he didn’t love Lazarus too but haven’t you ever been with someone who is crying and grieving and you can’t help but want to cry with them. Your heart breaks for them! I’ve experienced this many times over as I’ve met with grieving families and presided over funerals/celebrations of life and watched the family grieve.
I imagine that this is how Jesus is feeling in this passage too. His heart, his spirit is deeply moved by the grief of the sisters and their friends and family. I imagine that this is also how he feels for each and everyone of us in our grief as well.
Lazarus was no longer in pain or discomfort. Lazarus was dead, and Jesus knew he was about to resurrect him so why would he be crying for him? I think he wept for those left behind who were grieving.
Grief is hard, so hard and Jesus was witnessing that very thing in the moment, in real time and I think he felt their grief with them and he wept.
But then, some in the crowd said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”
And that’s the reason Jesus waited to return. He knew this would be a moment when he could glorify God and show the people who he was, the son of God.
But let’s take a moment to go back to the Jesus wept and the other thoughts I had.
I’ve been on both sides of grief… the side of the griever who has lost someone dear to them and also the side of the friend trying to be there for the grievers.
It’s hard sometimes to know what to do for those who are grieving and I think Jesus is teaching us a lesson here.
He saw Mary weeping, the friends and family weeping and he joined them where they were in the grief and wept.
He didn’t say they should have prayed harder, he didn’t say he was a sinner, he didn’t say “he’s in a better place” (I actually don’t know what they believed then or even now about the afterlife in the Jewish faith but I’m just making a point). He didn’t offer words. Jesus wept… in their presence, as they wept. He wept with them.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard some … not so comforting words given after some one has passed. They were probably meant to be comforting but honestly, when someone is grieving, there are no words that will make them feel better, but you know what will? Our presence. Our showing we care. That’s it. Jesus was there and he wept with them.
It doesn’t have to be in grief either, it can be in any hard times, depression, illness, stress and any situation that makes us feel any of these things or that just makes us feel bad.
This is a part of that whole Day 2 Community thing I was talking about. When we are in community with one another, we just offer our presence to one another, our love, we share what we have with one another even if just our time or strength.
So what is my take away from my reading today? Jesus wept. Not for Lazarus but for those whose hearts were breaking with grief. He was present with them, sharing their tears and their grief. He was in community with them.
What’s this mean for me today in my life? How am I to die to this so that I can be reborn? Maybe I need to stop trying to fix things for others, maybe I need to be quiet more and just listen, just be present and be that community that someone else needs.
Until next time… ♥️
Sherri not a comment but just a warning about this storm tha just left us and is on its way to you! It is REALLY bad. I don’t remember ever in Ca having one this bad, make sure your generator is up and running! Prayers for you and the rest of the middle of the country
Thank you! Be safe!
Thank you! You be safe!