John 11 v 30 - 35

It would be understandable for the reader to have judged the actions of Jesus regarding his friend Lazarus as rather manipulative up to these verses today. We can note that Mary does not get the time alone with Jesus which Martha had, but her open frankness in this sad situation peels back the layers for any of us who might feel we could get through this type of situation without getting upset. Remind yourself that this would not have been tears quietly shed with embarrassment as in English funerals, but full scale weeping almost hysterical as the view in that place and time was that the more unrestrained the weeping, the greater honour it paid the deceased. Now, we have the shortest verse in the Bible and one of the most powerful and theologically challenging: 'Jesus wept'. Many translations, as in the NLT which I use, tell us that Jesus was angry. The original Greek doesn't say that, the best in English we have is: 'He gave way to such distress of spirit as made His body tremble' (thank you to E.V. Rieu) and when He wept, it would have been such deep emotion that it would have been like a horse snorting, a deep groan would have escaped.   Now, please remember that John wrote this Gospel to reveal to his Greek readers that Jesus was God and many even today regard one of the characteristics of God as a total inability to feel any emotion whatsoever. If anyone is affected by what goes on around them then it can mean that others can manipulate us and have power over us (watch the Mentallist, Derren Brown for proof of this) and no one can have power over God. Jesus showed a God whose heart can be torn apart with sadness for the anguish of His people: God cares! John reveals Jesus as fully human as well as fully God!  People ask, 'Why did Jesus weep when He knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead?' Yes, true, as we read in verse four, but Jesus didn't weep because the personal situation for Lazarus was hopeless, but because the situation for all humanity was hopeless! Jesus knew that even though He would raise Lazarus from the dead, there would come a time when Lazarus, as with every human who has ever lived, would also die and they would die in their sins with no hope of eternity with God. The call of the cross becomes even more imperative because Lazarus represented all humanity and without Jesus' death we would have no hope. We are halfway through a truly remarkable chapter and I would urge you to read it again from the first verse to remind yourself of its grand themes. Please feel free to email me questions.  This is our God!


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