Coined as the “shortest verse” in some translations of the Bible, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35) came to mind one time as I found myself unable to stop my own weeping. When I am faced with a trouble or an unfortunate situation I often turn my thoughts to how Jesus dealt with the same things and so much more, but He conducted himself with strength. Not just his actions but also his thoughts and words. Strength in knowing that God is good and He has a greater plan.
So obviously, if Jesus could deal with similar troubles as my own, then He must have cried over it too at times. Right? That’s when this verse came to mind. It’s the only time that I can remember hearing of him crying, in my limited knowledge of bible passages.
However, he doesn’t weep for the same reasons we do. I know that many like to think that he was crying over the fact that Lazarus was dead and he was mourning with the others. That seeing their pain touched a nerve and he felt free to mourn the dead as well. I read it as something more though.
Jesus waited….there we are with the waiting again…to come to Lazarus. Even though Mary and Martha pleaded with him to come when they knew Lazarus was bound to die, he waited. On purpose. He knew his coming would set into motion a series of events that would begin his journey to the cross. It was inevitable that it was going to happen, but he waited until the right moment.
When he finally arrived, Mary almost scolded Jesus for arriving so late. “Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.”
Why was he troubled? I believe it’s because these people who followed him and rejoiced in the miracles he had performed time and time again had lost hope. They began to expect things out of him because they knew He could do them. They were hurt by the fact that He had decided NOT to perform another miracle, from withholding his “love” and mercy. What is love though?
Love is putting others before yourself, no matter how painful it is. No matter how many times you put your own comfort and desires aside for the sake of another. It’s giving your life for another and these people forgot what was coming. They forgot the ultimate sacrifice and act of love that Jesus would one day (very soon) perform. It wasn’t in raising this single man from the tomb. It wasn’t in healing the sick or feeding the hungry. It was in giving us ALL a chance at an eternity of pain free love.
Love in this life is painful. Jesus knew it better than anyone. I cry and feel excruciating pain over a select few lives that I choose to sacrifice my comfort for. Imagine how painful it was for Jesus to feel that same (greater even) love for the entire world! It makes my heartache seem a bit pitiful really in comparison.
Jesus wept out of love that was unseen and unacknowledged at the time. He wept because He knew what He was bound for and He desired us to see it as well. To see the glory of what would soon be ours when the prophesy was fulfilled. To see and to feel the magnificence of God’s love for us, even if we can’t feel it now when we’re focused on our own selfish desires.
Scripture says that when we are saved, our hearts of stone are replaced with a heart of flesh. I truly believe this passage. A heart of stone can not grow, it can’t feel properly, it can’t be molded or taught. A heart of flesh can be. It can also be squeezed, it can be quickened, bled and healed. A heart of flesh is much more painful though, because it is now linked with the rest of our flesh and it has the hard task of leading. Of reteaching the brain to follow instead of lead.
Too often, like Mary, we rationalize our thoughts and our needs and we place them ahead of what our heart is telling us. Our thoughts are often very valid and they make absolute sense to us and, at times, to many. However, it often times overruns our selfless heart. Our Christ gifted heart. Jesus was selfless in everything he did. So why would he place a heart of flesh in us if we were meant to be selfish with it? It would be like getting a liver transplant and then drinking yourself to death. Someone else may have appreciated that gift more.
I appreciate the gift of my new heart, as painful as it may feel at times. Because it is teaching me how to love properly and how to feel the love that Christ has for me. I believe that’s why Jesus wept. Because the people then were not yet able to know what their hearts were truly about to experience. That there was greater comforting sorrow to come if they would only have faith and trust in God’s timing and purpose.Tags: Heart of flesh, Jesus, Love, Selfless, Unconditional love
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