This post was written shortly after a dear friend of mine lost her 5th child in 2014. We wept together again last month when she lost her 6th child in 2015. Pastor Scott’s sermon came to mind again.
Last week was one of mourning for me. A very dear friend of mine miscarried her 5th baby at around 20 weeks. She went into the hospital to delivery her stillborn child. While I was weeping and mourning with her, God inspired our Pastor to preach a sermon this past Sunday that kept me blinking rapidly and very thankful I was up front but oh so thankful for the sermon.Many of you have heard the Biblical story of Jesus raising Lazarus (John 11) from the dead. For most of my life, I heard the sermon explained that Jesus came to this weeping family who had just lost a loved one and was moved to frustration at their lack of faith. He is accused twice for the death of this beloved brother because Jesus hadn’t come in time to save him (John 11:24, 32). Jesus then raises Lazarus from the dead to strengthen their faith, and everyone realizes what Jesus meant when he states “I am the resurrection and the life”.This past Sunday, my pastor (who has also heard the same interpretation) offered a different one. It made so much more sense to me and deserves interaction (and a shout out).
1. He loved Lazarus.
The Bible tells us that Jesus loved Lazarus, along with Mary and Martha. These were people with whom he spent time, delving into their lives and hearts. He knew they also loved him as well as believed he was the Christ. Throughout the Gospels, I see Jesus interacting with those he loves with much patience.
2.They may not be accusing
Both Mary and Martha come to Jesus and state that “if he had been here, our brother would not have died.” If these women are saying this in an angry, accusing way, I find it odd that in the same conversation they also reaffirm their belief that Jesus is the Christ and that Lazarus will be raised in the last Resurrection (John 11:24) and fall to his feet in worship. Folks who are mourning are often angry, it’s one of the phases in the grieving process. However, I believe that it is possible that these women may not have been lashing out at Jesus in anger in this moment. Could they not have been reaffirming their faith in who he was and what he could have done if he had come before Lazarus passed away?
We don’t know exactly how these women made these statements, but within the context of the conversation with Jesus, it is entirely possible that the statements were made in faith and sorrow, not accusatory anger.
3. Jesus weeps.
If Jesus was weeping over their unbelief, then he would have raised Lazarus as a teaching tool to strengthen their faith. It may have proved a point, but not in a very personal way.
However, if Jesus is weeping because his spirit it torn apart at the death of a person he loves, his sorrow is genuine. He is mourning with those who mourn, being the example of Romans 12:15.
Jesus mourns over the effect of sin and death on this family he loves. He weeps over the effects of sin on his beloved children.Another aspect of his weeping has to do with sin. Did you know that death was not part of the creation plan? God didn’t create us to have to experience bodily decay, dying, and death. Death is a direct result of sin entering the world via Adam and Eve.
4. Jesus knows our pain