do you ever read something you've read multiple times and realize you've missed a whole heck of a lot? something new jumps out at you or touches you deeply for the first time?
that's been happening a lot lately, as I've been challenged to slow down and really absorb what I'm reading. a few nights ago I was reading the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead - a story I've heard since I was just a wee little girl in sunday school.
it's a sunday school teacher's favorite question: "what's the shortest verse in the bible?"
oooo pick me! pick me! Jesus wept! Jesus wept!
and I knew that Jesus wept because his good friend, Lazarus, had died. DUH. ask me that, teach, ask me that!
(yeah, I was kind of an annoying child.)
anyway, I was reading through the story again the other night and was completely "wow"ed by something.
before the whole miracle of raising Lazarus (and before he has even passed away), Jesus prophesizes exactly what will happen and why:
...Jesus said, 'This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.'
- John 11:4-5
so, we've established that:
a) Jesus knows what is about to happen. He knows Lazarus is going to die, and knows that His role is not to go heal him, but rather wait until he dies so He can raise his dear friend from the grave.
b) Jesus loves Mary, Martha and Lazarus. and since it's Jesus, we know this means like...a mad, crazy, awesome kind of love.
moving on for now...Lazarus dies and Jesus arrives at their home four days after his death. Martha runs out to meet him:
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” - John 11:21-22
THEN, Mary comes out to greet Jesus, too:
When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
"Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
- John 11:32-35
here's what I've been thinking about..
1) Jesus loves Lazarus and his sisters, but yet allows Lazarus to die and Mary and Martha to experience this pain. He does this for a greater purpose. it doesn't mean that He is not sovereign. it doesn't mean He doesn't care. it means there was a much larger plan that they didn't know about. one that glorified Him. which is the overall purpose of everything, right?
2) check out the faith of Mary and Martha! ok, so I'm thinking they probably knew that Jesus knew Lazarus was sick. and yet, He didn't come. and they knew He could do something about it. so to them, it might have just looked like He didn't care. I would have been tempted to think this. I probably would have been angry. yet they still call Him "Lord", and Mary even states her belief that hope is not lost. that He has the power to raise her brother. shazaaam. I think this was a huge display of faith, considering she didn't have the Bible to tell her the whole story, like we do.
3) this is the part that really gets me. Jesus knew the whole plan. Jesus knew He was about to bring Lazarus back from the dead. so really, I don't think He wept because Lazarus was dead. I think He wept because His heart hurt for his friends who were in pain.
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.
I believe Jesus loved Mary and Martha and the others there so much that seeing them weep and mourn made Him terribly sad, too.
He knew He was about to fix it. He knew what was coming and that they'd get their brother back from the grave, but it still hurt Him to see His children suffer.
this struck me because sometimes I see the Jesus in my mind rolling His eyes when I'm in pain. I imagine Him wondering why I'm so upset about things that don't matter in the grand scheme of things. He has won the victory and I know that, so I have envisioned Him shaking His head when that is not at the forefront of my mind. when earthly things bring me down. when I lose a loved one or my feelings are hurt by rejection or anothers' words.
but maybe Jesus is really just crying with us. maybe He is holding us in His arms, His heart hurting as we cry and quiver and face the storms of this life. maybe, even though He knows the ending is a good one, He hates the pain we have to through in the now.
just a thought. or a few thoughts, rather.
health tip: beware of sharp glass edges. they have the ability to make you bleed. not that I know from personal experience or anything.