Often, the flood of emotion in the lives of the people who followed Him inundated Jesus.
He walked this earth as a man, a strong man capable of hard work and an able man who stood up for what was right. He was so strong, he felt the tears of those who mourned, the sorrows of those who suffered loss, and pain of those visited by injustice. Thus, Jesus felt the emotions of those who grieved at the tomb of Lazarus.

Mary—a Woman of Passion
Mary, the other sister of Lazarus, was devastated by his death. When she heard that Jesus had arrived, she was unable or unwilling to receive Him. Unlike her sister, Martha, who could always find something to do, Mary seemed paralyzed by grief for her brother and disappointment with her hero. She remained shut away in a dark room with the windows closed to any hope at all. No one dared disturb her—no one except her sister.

Martha returned to their home and stormed into the room, threw open the windows and dragged Mary to her feet. Mary did not resist. Like a child’s doll, she yielded to the strength of her sister. Trying to free Mary from this paralysis, Martha shook her.

“The Teacher has come and is calling for you.”

At the sound Martha’s words, “The Teacher,” the lethargy of Mary was broken. She straightened up, smoothed her hair, dried her eyes, and pinched her cheeks all while hurrying out of the room. As she went, she grew in strength with every step. The people who had gathered at their house followed her thinking that she was going to the tomb.

She saw Jesus…
Arriving at the tomb, Mary saw Jesus standing there. Her love for Him overcame her disappointment in Him. Falling at His feet, too wounded to shed any more tears, her worship was tinged with pain. She echoed Martha’s rebuke.

“Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”

With those words, words of incontrovertible fact, the dam holding back the tears broke. A wail of treble voices lifted from the cemetery in Bethany to the skies above. A lone bass voice, joined the chorus of grief. Jesus groaned so deeply in His spirit that such a sound had never been heard. Captivated by this sound, the mourners fixed their eyes on Him. Through the din of collective grief, Jesus asked,

“Where have you laid him?”

When they pointed to the tomb of Lazarus, Jesus lowered His head as tears flooded down His face. The most eloquent verse in the Bible is this:

“Jesus wept.”

The significance of His sorrow was not lost on onlookers. They recognized the love Jesus had for this family and wondered why He let it happen.

Mysteries Remain
As followers of Jesus, we are blessed with so many clearly stated promises. Our God is a God who keeps covenant. In the Bible, we have so many splendid answers to the great questions of life:

  • Who made the world and why?
  • Who made us and why?
  • Who holds the ultimate destiny for each of us?

Along the way, disappointments come our way. It seems that unnecessary loss and pain come our way. Bad things happen to good people, seemingly without reason. We are not the first, nor will we be the last, to suffer at no fault of our own in this world. These things are mysteries in this world and will be clearly understood in the world to come. Until then, confess faith in Jesus!

John 11:28-37

And when she had said these things, she went her way and secretly called Mary her sister, saying, “The Teacher has come and is calling for you.” As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to Him. Now Jesus had not yet come into the town, but was in the place where Martha met Him. Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and comforting her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, “She is going to the tomb to weep there.” Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!” And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?”
Philippians 3:7-11 NKJV
But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Lord Jesus, when You arrive on the scene, the scene is about to change for the better! Unlike us, You do not stand by, a helpless onlooker and clueless observer. You come with “healing in Your wings” as Malachi prophesied. You have answers for our questions, even when the only part of the answer we can understand is Your nearness. At Your arrival, sickness must give way, powers of darkness must surrender and flee the scene. When You are near, hope—a hope based in eternity!—rises in our hearts. Here we will stand in any storm for You are with us! Thank You, Lord Jesus!

The Solid Rock

Words: Edward Mote; Music: William B. Bradbury

1. My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.

2. When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace;
in ev’ry high and stormy gale my anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.

3. His oath, His covenant, His blood support me in the ‘whelming flood;
when all around my soul gives way He then is all my hope and stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.

4. When He shall come with trumpet sound, O may I then in Him be found,
dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.

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