Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Text: John 11:28-37
28 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”
After Martha’s declaration that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, it was time for Jesus to talk to Mary, who had stayed in the home when Martha went out to Jesus. She left in such a rush, and in such an emotionally vulnerable state, that Mary’s friends who had been trying to comfort her thought that she was returning once again to the tomb of her brother Lazarus, where she had spent most of her previous 3 days mourning. Instead, it was to Jesus that Mary went, collapsing at his feet with the same words as Martha, “Lord, if you would have been here, my brother would not have died.” The feet of Jesus was a familiar place for Mary. In Luke 10, while Martha was a human whirlwind, frantically serving and hosting Jesus and His disciples in her home, rather than assisting her frantic sister, we see Mary again sitting at the feet of Jesus, hanging on His every word.
While Martha had managed to reign in her emotions when she met with Jesus, Mary came open and raw. She wasn’t looking for answers to questions as much as she was honestly expressing her deep pain and sorrow at losing the brother she loved so much. Her weeping was infectious and brought the crowd of supporters who followed her to tears as well. Then, in one of the most profound scenes in the ministry of the life of Jesus, He was “deeply moved in spirit and greatly troubled.” Jesus, the Son of God, the Author and Creator of the Universe, wept.
You might fairly ask the question, as I have done, “Why did Jesus weep?” If Jesus was God, and He knew all things, then that meant that He already knew what He was going to do. Spoiler alert: in mere moments Jesus would call a previously-dead Lazarus to walk out of the grave. But although Jesus knew the end of the story and, as He had told His disciples four days prior, the purpose that “the Son of God may be glorified through it,” Jesus also knew the pain of Martha and Mary was very real. He doesn’t tell them that everything will be okay, even though it will be. He is fully present with them in their time of need. He takes their great burden of pain onto Himself and allows their trouble to become His. Now, historically I have not done a great job of dealing with temporary pain. In fact, I have developed a rather deserving reputation for telling my girls to suck it up and shake it off pretty much any time they are upset. So now, rather than run to Daddy when something is wrong, they will race right past me to the much more compassionate and empathetic Mommy.
That is who Jesus is. Even though He knows the future and is actively working to bring all things together for His glory, He is also full of grace and compassion in our times of need. He doesn’t ever dismiss our emotions or pain as trivial, whatever they may be, rather He is truly present with us. Jesus desires His people, His church, to follow Him in this way. To mourn with those who mourn, to rejoice with those who rejoice. To not just offer quick fixes or empty platitudes with those who are struggling, but to be present with them in their hour of need. Just like He has always done for us.
Prayer for Today:
Lord Jesus, while we may believe intellectually that You are firmly in control of every moment and circumstance that we face, we admit that in our moments of weakness we often feel alone, upset, and afraid. Help us to know with all of our hearts that You are always with us, even in the midst of the most demanding and stressful situations, just as you have promised. We are so grateful that You are always loving, patient, merciful, and compassionate with Your children. Grant us peace and joy in knowing You today. Amen.