More Than Meets the Eye

January 19th, 2008 • Category: My Favorite Scripture
by Mark Shoup

Today’s scripture: John 11:1-43 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Mark Shoup):

I like this passage because on the surface, it is a well known Bible story that anyone who lived through Sunday school knows. But there is more going on here than meets the eye.

When Jesus hears that his good friend Lazarus is sick, he stays where he is for two additional days before heading off to Judea to be with him. As they started out for Judea, he even tells his disciples that Lazarus has died, making it clear that when they get there and are informed that Lazarus has been “in the tomb” for 4 days, it should be no surprise to Jesus. However, when confronted by Mary weeping with her grief, Jesus does something completely unexpected. He breaks down and cries! Knowing full well that he is about to raise Lazarus from the dead for the glory of God, he is still overcome with human emotion. Such a strange reaction!

Or is it?

It makes no sense to me that Jesus would be crying out of grief, knowing that in just moments Lazarus would be among the living once again. So he must have been crying out of empathy for Mary, Martha and the other mourners! Think about that. Our savior feels so bad when we are upset that he himself was moved to tears, even though he was about to make everything right! It is no wonder that verse 35, “Jesus wept,” is the shortest verse in the Bible. It carries so much implication that it could neither be combined with the verse before nor the one after it.

Now remember a time when someone close to you died. It is not uncommon to be angry at God when he takes a loved one home. Anger is a natural part of the grieving process that many of us go through. Now imagine that, while it is beyond us to know why that loved one was called home, Jesus knows we are hurting and our sorrow makes him cry.

Our Lord is just that compassionate!

Thought for the day: God calls us to be like Jesus here on earth. Who do we know that is hurting and needs our compassion?

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

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