Refreshment in Refuge
by Gina Burgess
This Sunday morning we are studying John 11. I never get tired of studying this passage because there are so many volumes spoken in these few words. Jesus illustrates His perfect purposes in this chapter. One of His famous I AM statements is here. He weeps. He is troubled. His glory is illustrated in such magnificent ways I am constantly astounded. He is so amazing!
“A person can cry for multiple reasons.” I have grown up a little since I wrote that last year in a column titled Jesus Wept.
I said that I believed Jesus wept because of a deep compassion for their grief. A person would likely understand it so especially in view of the dale of tears pouring from Mary and Martha. It is a natural conclusion any human would settle upon because we are human and view things with our finite minds and understandings. We know that Jesus had deep compassion for all of us because He had such love to lay down His life for us. Compassion is not at question here, I am thinking.
He groaned in the spirit and He was troubled, and then He wept. Why would He exhibit such great grief when in just a few minutes Lazarus would be restored to his sisters and there would be such great rejoicing and wonder their hearts could burst with the emotion? The groaning, and the trouble illustrate something much deeper, more intense, with much greater ramifications going on in this scene than perhaps a finite, human mind could possibly understand.
I do believe that funerals are for the living, not for the dead. I cry because my friend or loved one has lost a loved one, and they are grieving. But I know if the person who died is a Christian then he or she is in a better place. (I am usually very jealous that person is in heaven--at least for a few minutes anyway.) This Jesus knew, too. He knew great rejoicing was just minutes away. If I knew that mourning would turn to joy, I would be excited in anticipation of that coming joy just as I am eagerly anticipating the great joy we all will have when we finally are gathered home to Heaven.
Martha said, “If you had been here, he would not have died.” While this is certainly true, Jesus had exhibited his ability to heal from vast distances, to raise a little girl from the dead and an only son from the dead. He had performed so many miracles that Martha said, “I know that God will give you whatever you ask of Him.” When Jesus said, “Your brother will rise again.” She looked far into the future to the resurrection and said, “He will rise in the last day.” She didn’t get it.
Mary said, “If you had been here, he would not have died.” She wept and wept pouring tears all over his feet. Mary didn’t get it.
One must consider the neighbors and friends were well acquainted with Jesus and His miracles because His reputation far and wide was one of healer, teacher, rabbi, and even a few knew Him as the Son of God just as Martha had matter-of-factly announced a few minutes earlier. These neighbors and friends were weeping, and had followed Mary to continue weeping with her. They saw Jesus, but they didn’t get it either.
Here is when Jesus is consumed with ἐμβριμάομαι embrimaomai (em-brim-ah'-om-ahee)
From βριμάομαι brimaomai (to snort with anger); to have indignation on, that is, (transitively) to blame, (intransitively) to sigh with chagrin.
To be agitated is to put this emotion Jesus was feeling mildly. He was angry, frustrated, aggravated, disturbed, and He inwardly groaned with all this emotion. His heart was troubled with it.
Consider a time when you have tried to teach a much needed truth to your children, or to someone you love dearly. They must understand this truth for their own protection, their health, their betterment. You have stated this truth in so many different ways you have lost count. This person that you love dearly stares at you with that blank look of misunderstanding or incomprehension. Your frustration level rises to the boiling point and your spirit roils with it. Surely, Jesus was experiencing this emotional level. What do you think?
In Luke 16:31, Abraham tells the rich man, "...they have Moses and the prophets, if they do not believe them, they will never believe even if one rises from the dead." Jesus wept because he knew they either would not or could not comprehend He is the Resurrection and the Life. He has all authority over sin and death, over the physical realm as well as the spiritual realm.
We can compare this to another time He wept. He mourned over Jerusalem.
Matthew 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, putting to death the prophets, and stoning those who are sent to her! Again and again would I have taken your children to myself as a bird takes her young ones under her wings, and you would not! How His grief poured over Jerusalem when He said, "See your house is laid waste."
Jesus had so much to give and He knew that if only the gift was accepted the loved one would not suffer the Wrath of God.
Thank goodness when we see Jesus coming down the road, we can rejoice with such exuberance we’ll be dancing on air. No thought of pain, grief, despair, or betrayal will ever enter our thoughts again. He has definitely sent an engraved invitation to dance.
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She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.
If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews before the books hit the book store shelves, check out Gina's book reviews at Upon Reflection
Gina is a partner and COO of Common Sense Marketing Strategies, LLC that owns Authors Community and eBookChristian.com
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