S (Scripture): John 11:32 Now when Mary came to the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 11:33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the people who had come with her weeping, he was intensely moved in spirit and greatly distressed. 11:34 He asked, “Where have you laid him?” They replied, “Lord, come and see.” 11:35 Jesus wept. 11:36 Thus the people who had come to mourn said, “Look how much he loved him!”
O (Observation): The most widespread view of the shortest verse in the Bible, “Jesus wept,” is thought to be a show of Jesus’ emotions – that the death of Lazarus was Jesus experiencing the death of a good friend. I’d like to offer a slightly different angle.
In 11:33, Jesus is said to be deeply moved and distressed. In light of these emotions, because Jesus himself knew that he could raise Lazarus from the dead, perhaps Jesus’ tears are not tears of mourning for the “loss” of his friend, Lazarus. Perhaps Jesus is distraught over the effects of sin and death in this world, and the power of Satan in this realm.
Angry. Indignant. Distraught. Ticked off. All towards Satan.
Perhaps these tears shed by Jesus are those full of all kinds of emotions, beyond simple grief. Perhaps Jesus is beginning to realize what his own glorification would need to look like.
A (Application): Have you been so upset with someone that you would rather do a known evil than to speak with that person? Jesus never did this, but I sure have felt this way. In traffic…at church meetings (yes, it happens)…with family…with neighbors. Sometimes I get so upset that all I can do is cry…because some people are so ignorant, some people are so clueless, some people dehumanize others.
I’m typically a hopeful person, a cheery person, but sometimes, including election time, I get fed up.
We have gone off the tracks. Satan started it in the Garden of Eden. Jesus has known about it all along, and in this text today, I’m reminded that Jesus did something about it. My life, your life, is defined by the response of Jesus’ indignation. Jesus was glorified by going to the cross for us, so that all might come to believe of the saving power of our Lord.
What makes you angry? Indignant? Now that you’ve been saved from sin, and brought to believe in Jesus Christ, what are you able to do with the Authority and Power that Christ the King has entrusted to you?
Is your neighborhood in need of attention? Your school or workplace? What is your next step? What has the Lord laid upon your heart? What’s stopping you from taking that next step?
P (Prayer): Lord, you have overcome the power of sin and death. You’ve raised Lazarus. You’ve defeated Satan through becoming vulnerable. Teach us that retribution comes not with a sword, but through forgiveness and love. Amen.