2012-01-21 - Jesus Wept
Based on a Sermon Originally Preached 2009-05-06
Here's a trivia question for you: what is shortest verse in the Bible?
The answer is John 11:35 Jesus wept.
That's all some people know about this verse, but it is my favorite verse and not just because it is the shortest. It is only two words but they are two great words. Jesus (God in the flesh - our Creator) wept (was moved to tears over a situation involving his creation).
So lets start off with a little background to the story. Jesus and his disciples were out ministering in the villages beyond the Jordan when they received word that Lazarus was very sick. Lazarus, along with his two sisters Martha and Mary, was a good friend. But he didn't race to his friend's bedside. Jesus waited two more days. If I were Mary and Martha I would have been a little upset with Jesus for delaying his return even though he said it was for God's glory. They knew he could heal Lazarus; why won't he come and do it? At the least he should have been here for the burial. But he comes in days later and the sisters unload on Jesus their frustration and pain. Both say the same thing (Martha in verse 20 and Mary in verse 32) "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died". Jesus, why didn't you come when we needed you?
That's a bold question to ask God but don't we do the same thing.
"God where were you when my dad had a stroke? What about the next one?"
"God where were you on September 11?"
"God where were you when this storm or that took so many lives?"
"Are you really there? When will you come here and fix this mess?"
I borrowed parts of this sermon from a sermon entitled "Real Men Do Eat Quiche" by Dean Kennedy and can think of no better way to finish this introduction than with his words. "Where has Jesus disappointed you? Youve prayed, but no answers have come. Youve pleaded, but God has delayed. Youve waited, but he hasnt arrived. Youve held the funeral, but he didnt attend. Or so it seemed. Where are you waiting for God to show up and be God for you?
We dont know why Jesus waits, and we dont know why God waits. No amount of theologizing and explaining can satisfy us while we wait. And wait we do. But you know what? Something critically important happens to us while we are waiting. Life is lived while we wait. Faith is proved while we wait. Hope is tested while we wait.
Yet we still have that nagging question why did Jesus weep? He already knew the rest of the story. He already knew that Lazarus was to be raised from the dead and that Mary and Martha would be joyful again. So why did he weep?"
Why did Jesus weep?
Next time we will look at why Jesus wept.
All scripture references from KJV unless otherwise noted.