Monday, November 7, 2011

Truth With Tears

Truth With Tears
A Devotion by Dan Guinn

“Jesus wept.” (John 11:35 ESV) - Is the shortest verse in the English Bible and yet it is perhaps one of the most profoundly significant in scripture. Lets read of the event in it’s context:

“When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”

Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.”

(John 11:31-38 ESV)

“Jesus wept” is profound in several ways.

First, that the creator of the universe has feelings, emotions. He greatly cares and has compassion. We see the compassion of Christ very often in His ministry. Jesus cared for people.

Second, in the context of the passage it says Christ was “deeply moved.” In the King James it uses the language of “growning in himself.” The Greek word here, embrimaomai, actually implies that Jesus literally had “indignant displeasure,” further still, the more literal interpretation of the word seems to imply, “a snorting indignant displeasure” We do not know the multiple emotions that might have passed through His mind, but we can tell that Jesus is compassionate toward Mary and Lazarus in the least, yet we also can tell that He is definitely angry.

Thirdly, Jesus is in control of his anger. Here he stands, the creator of the world and the entire universe, and yet all around him stand doubters saying … “if only He had been here.” He could have said or done many things, but he only said “Where have you laid him?”

- Jesus is able to do this perfectly, where we often fail. How easy it is for us to jump to accusations? How easy it is to react harshly.
- What would you do? If I were in Jesus’ shoes, with my sometimes carnal way of thinking, I might have done something miraculous and dramatic like cause an earthquake. In the very least I would have told them a thing or two.
- It is so strange how that “being right,” can be made to give license to so many ungodly things. It is possible to be completely right, and react in a way that is completely wrong. Here again, is the balance of truth and love. Consider this verse:

“I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.” (Romans 15:14 ESV)

We must be filled with “all knowledge” (the truth) and yet be “full of goodness,” which is the demonstration of love.

Fouthly, I also find it very interesting that every time Jesus is described in scripture as weeping, it is always in relation in some way to the results of death and or blindness caused the fall. He did not bring the death caused by the fall, the author of sin did, and it angers Him. We should consider how this both angers Christ and yet also moves Him to tears.

- The writer of Hebrews describes that in Gathsemane, “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears.” just before his arrest.
- Likewise, this “King of Salem, King of Peace, our Great High Priest” that is described in Hebrews, weeps over Jerusalem the “City of Peace,” with these words in scripture: “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.” (Luke 19:41-42 ESV)

As we return to the scene of Jesus weeping, we see Jesus reveal the truth to them in the midst of these tears.

Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” (John 11:38-44 ESV)

Jesus is not alone in speaking “truth with tears,” we may recall in the Old Testament the prophet Jeremiah, the “weeping prophet,” or the Apostle Paul who said,

“Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.” Acts. 20:31

The word here for admonish, is the word “noutheteo,” from the word, “nous” which means “mind or understanding” and. “tithemi” which means “to put or place.” So Paul is saying that he is correcting their thinking and putting it in it's proper place with tears.

As we look around and see so much error in the world, we should be both moved to stand for truth and yet be moved to humble tears. Will we be discouraged that people aren’t listening? Yes. Will we be moved by what we see? If our hearts are right, yes. Will we be overwhelmed at times? Yes! Consider this quote from Schaeffer:

“It is possible to be faithful to God, and yet to be overwhelmed with discouragement as we face the world. In fact, if we are never overwhelmed, I wonder if we are fighting the battle with compassion and reality, or whether we are jousting with paper swords against paper windmills.” Francis Schaeffer ~ Death In The City

“Indeed, as redeemed people we should know the joy of Christ, but as we look around us in much of the church and in our culture, can we fail to cry tears?” ~ Francis Schaeffer ~ The Church Before The Watching World.

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