Archive for May 8th, 2007

Jesus Wept

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

Today’s scripture: John 11:1-44 (NRSV) (The Message)

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

My thoughts on this passage (Tammy Mills):

This scripture became my favorite in the most “unholy” of ways. In the 7th grade I was forced to memorize scripture. When I discovered that the shortest verse in the bible was in this chapter, it immediately became my favorite. When verse reciting time came I proudly declared John 11: 35, “Jesus wept”.

As I have grown older (we won’t talk about how much older) I have continued to go back to these verses. My soul resonates with a lot in this story. This passage reminds me that Jesus walked the human journey.

Mary and Martha, two of Jesus’ best friends, really needed him to come and minister to their brother. Jesus wants to go and help their brother, Lazarus, but he also has some things yet to do, so he waits a couple of days before going to Mary and Martha — a choice he is later criticized for. When he finally gets to Mary and Martha, Lazarus has died. There is grieving all around and Jesus begins to weep and share his grief. Ultimately Jesus is able to raise Lazarus from the dead.

Life is complicated. That is what I think of when I read this story. Sometimes my life gets out of balance and sometimes I feel as though no one really understands where I am coming from. It helps me to read this story and know Jesus understands my feelings. He has “been there and done that”. Jesus doesn’t run from the complications of life. He faces them with a genuine heart.

I sometimes (actually, most of the time) have a hard time facing the complications of life — especially with letting people down and facing grief. I was brought up to believe that showing emotion, especially grief and sadness, was a sign of weakness. Reading that Jesus was moved to tears and seemed to clearly display exactly how he felt reminds me that a part of my life needs to be about having emotional integrity. Jesus’ weeping doesn’t make Jesus seem weak or ineffective — it makes him seem real. It shows he really had feelings and there really were things that moved his heart.

For further study on the topic go to the library and check out a copy of The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. It is a classic story of how a toy rabbit becomes real. Below the Skin Horse explains how one becomes real.

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.” “Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Thought for the day: Jesus understood what it was to be real. God, help me to be real. God, help me to live with emotional integrity.

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.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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