Devotional | Jeremiah Braudrick | Oct 22, 2023
Jesus Wept. John 11:35
It’s often hard to find reasons to worship when we find the world in the condition it’s in. It’s often hard to find meaning in all this brokenness. It’s often difficult to find organization and purpose in a world that seems so very disorganized and meaningless at times. “Take heart, I have overcome the world,” the Savior says, but that’s often hard to find utility in when we see so much destruction and injustice, so much haughtiness and self-righteousness, so much pain, violence, and corruption. I think we can all agree, our world has a grave sickness.
Where do we find reason to worship in a world that often looks like it was thrown together at the last moment, like a student throwing together his science experiment the morning it’s due?
Indeed, that’s just the world around us. What to say about the destruction and injustice of our own hearts? The haughtiness, the pain, and violence of our own souls? What to say about this pesky sin-nature who seems content to ride out it’s whole existence with us, no matter how forcibly we try to eradicate it? Who came up with this system anyway?
Sometimes, in my most immature and emotional moments, I feel the program was not ready for release yet. The designer should probably go back and fix the bugs before subjecting the rest of us to this glitchy system any further. I think we can all agree, we’re due for the next update!
I love the story of Lazarus so much. In John 11, after hearing that his young friend Lazarus had passed away, Jesus traveled to Bethany to mourn with Lazarus’ sisters Mary and Martha, who were at first quick to blame the Christ for allowing their brother to die.
“This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it,” he said, before commanding Lazarus to step out of the tomb after four days of lifelessness. Of course, we know, Lazarus happily complied.
My favorite part of the story though, is found in verse 35. In the shortest penned verse in all of Scripture, John wrote that, “Jesus wept.”
It’s curious to me that Jesus took the time to weep with Mary and Martha, especially after announcing that Lazarus’ sickness would not end in death. Certainly, he, who through him all things were made, knew he would command his friend back to life. So, why take the time to weep? Why take the time to let his tears fall with theirs? Why not get on with the show Jesus?!
I feel Christ took the time to weep because, although healing would come, although the Great Physician had the cure for Martha and Mary’s woes in his back pocket, his beloved friends were still very much in pain. Their little world was still very small, cloudy, and painful; although this was all temporary, it was all very real for Mary and Martha. So, for one precious moment, Jesus wept with his creation.
I like to think we’re in the Jesus Wept part of our existence. We see so much heartache and hopelessness in our own world. Like Mary and Martha, we often want to shake a fist at our Creator or at others. We want to pass blame onto this person or that group. We are desperate to make sense of a world that seems to be falling apart at the seams, ready to give way at a moment’s notice. Indeed, our world is very, very sick.
While Jesus is still on the throne, however, it is a sickness which will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory, so that the Son may be glorified through it. How could we worship a Savior who had nothing to save us from? If we never knew sickness, we would never know what healing felt like. If we weren’t first acquainted with darkness, we wouldn’t have a word for daylight. If we never had to travel through the shadows, we would never recognize the Light of the World, when he comes to call us all out of the grave. He is on his way from Bethany.
Yes, our world is very ill, as well as our hearts. But take heart, we have a Creator who has not abandoned us. The great update is coming! He is on his way to command life back into the weariest parts of our souls. Yet, in the meantime, while our world is still small, cloudy, and painful, we have a Jesus who takes the time to weep with us all. All-be-it temporary, the Great Comforters’ tears still fall with ours today … and I find that quite comforting. Let’s worship him in the midst of it all.
Dear God, help us worship you when things are good, but even more, let us worship you when things are bad. Let us praise you when our world seems broken and unrepairable, and let us praise you when we seem broken and unrepairable. Forgive us for not trusting you more when our lives seem out of control. Forgive us for not relaxing and delighting in the fact that you are firmly on the throne, and there are no surprises in Heaven. We wait patiently for you in the darkness of our world and long for the day we can worship you as the Light of the World. Give us peace and comfort until then, and continue to weep alongside us. Let our praises never cease because of it. It's in Christ’s name I pray, Amen.
Jeremiah BraudrickDirector, Crossings Prison Ministry
Jeremiah Braudrick is the Director of Crossings Prison Ministry and the father of his son Mason.
Tim Keller: Walking with God through Pain and Suffering
C.S. Lewis: A Grief Observed
C.S. Lewis: The Problem of Pain
Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Be Still My Soul: Embracing God’s Purpose & Provision in Suffering
R.C. Sproul: Surprised by Suffering: The Role of Pain and Death in The Christian Life
Charles Spurgeon: O Death, Where Is Your Sting? Classic Sermons on Dying in Christ and Our Heavenly Hope
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