Devotional: June 5, 2020
32When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ 33When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. 34He said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ 35Jesus began to weep.36So the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’
John 11: 32-35
The death of Lazarus was hard for his sisters Mary and Martha, but it was also difficult for Jesus. We know this because of the tears Jesus shed upon hearing the news of the death of his friend.
John 11:35 is a well-known verse in the King James version because it holds the distinction of being the shortest verse in that KJV: “Jesus wept.” Perhaps the two-word sentence was given its own verse number to emphasize that Jesus shared our emotions. We weep, and Jesus weeps. He really did enter completely and totally into life in our world. Emotions are part of Jesus’ earthly life. Sadness and grief are part of that earthly life.
On Thursday afternoon, June 4th, I was with the Monroe family as we held the private graveside service for Dick at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery. It was incredibly sad for me to say goodbye to a friend I have known for two decades. Dick served on the Pastor Nominating Committee which brought me to East Wenatchee. He served on numerous church committees, sang in the church choir, and was someone with whom I enjoyed snowmobiling.
As people of faith, we cling to the hope of the resurrection to eternal life, as promised to us by Christ in scripture. Yet even God’s promises do not take away the pain of losing someone: even Jesus learned this reality when his friend Lazarus died.
What happens next in John 11 is the amazing story of Jesus resurrecting Lazarus from the dead. Jesus knew that He had the power to resurrect his friend, but that fact didn’t stop Jesus’ tears! Jesus wept…
Perhaps the story of Lazarus is a reminder to us not only of Jesus’ depth of emotion, but also a demonstration that all of us who believe in Him will eventually see our loved ones resurrected.
On this day especially, I pray that God will comfort all who mourn.
I claim Jesus’ promise made as part of the Beatitudes, when He said,
‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.’ (Matthew 5: 4)
God of life and hope,
It is comforting for us to know that Your son and our Lord, Jesus Christ, felt pain and grief and sadness over the loss of a friend, just as we do. We thank you Lord, for You are the great comforter, especially in times of deep sadness and grief. Thank you for your promise of hope through the salvation of Jesus Christ your Son. Help us to remember to turn to you, for you will wipe our tears, and hold us close.
We pray this prayer in Jesus’ name.