Many of us know the story of Lazarus. He was Jesus’ friend who was sick, dead for four days and was then brought back to life. The glory and power of God was displayed like never before, and many of those who came to grieve were stirred to believe as they saw the dead live again.
But before the miracle of verse 43 came Jesus’ emotional response in verse 35.
The shortest verse in the Bible, but I believe it is one of the most significant acts of Jesus’ life. These two words display God’s heart for us in a unique and powerful way. They essentially encompass the whole gospel.
His response was filled with deep compassion and proved that Jesus was, and still is, willing to “go there.” You know that place. The place we awkwardly avoid because we don’t really know how to engage the situation. The place of loss, and sometimes anger. That place of deep pain where no words ever seem to be enough solace. The place where confusion resides and grief seems to eliminate the possibility of hope.
JESUS KNEW THE OUTCOME.
He knew of the life He was about to speak back into Lazarus, but still, He took a moment to feel the raw and painful emotion of man. He grieved and wept with His friends. This part of the story always stirs something inside of me. There is something so significant and beautiful about Jesus’ response. He could have come to Bethany, told Lazarus’ sisters to stop crying and immediately revived Lazarus. Instead He comforted them by first mourning with them.
I believe the glory of God is magnified when we go to those deep places, allow ourselves to grieve and then still declare that He is faithful and good.
Ultimately it is the sin and brokenness of this world that causes our pain and grief. It isn’t until we are in heaven that the tears will forever dry up and we will experience eternal joy. Jesus wept 2,000 years ago with his friends, and He hurts for us still today. He grieves over the brokenness of the world, and there is an invitation for us to grieve with Him. Jesus isn’t intimidated by our emotions, instead He embraces them. If we try to numb and avoid our pain, we eventually won’t allow ourselves to feel joy either. There is space for us to grieve, and a promise that the Holy Spirit will comfort us.
THERE IS NOTHING MORE POWERFUL THAN WEEPING IN GRIEF AND CELEBRATING IN VICTORY WITH ONE ANOTHER.
The gospel is preached every time we are willing to “go there” with someone and then declare hope in the midst of the hurt.
Jesus’ entire life proved His willingness to, “go there” with us. He came to save us, to the point of dying on a cross. But before He committed the act that gave us eternal hope, He stepped fully into our lives. He stood with us and experienced the brokenness of humanity.
Jesus’ ministry was fueled by compassion. We can’t fully declare Jesus to others if we aren’t willing to be stirred by the emotion and pain of those around us.
Grief isn’t bad. Crying isn’t a sign of weakness. Let yourself, “go there” because ultimately, we won’t stay in that place of pain. We will find that Jesus is willing to feel with us and then speak life over us.
- Let yourself grieve // Maybe it’s a dream, the loss of a loved one or another disappointment. Whatever it may be, there is an invitation to grieve with Jesus. He isn’t intimidated by our emotions, and He won’t rush our grief process. Scripture says that it is in weakness that the power of God is made perfect through us (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). When Jesus left the earth, He sent the Holy Spirit to be our helper and ultimate comforter (John 14:15-31). When we grieve there is a promise that the Holy Spirit will bring us comfort and hope. Take a look at this message from Jimmy on the role of the Holy Spirit.
- Be willing to go there with someone else // If you know someone that is grieving, ask God how you can best support and care for them. I believe we express the heart of God when we are willing to listen to people’s pain, and when we are willing to cry and grieve with them. The heart of God is not to push away emotion, it is to embrace, comfort and declare hope in the midst of the pain. Carl Gulley shared a powerful message on grief this past fall. He unpacked practical ways we can respond to grief. Check it out here.
- Read the story of Lazarus and ask God to reveal His heart to you. // This is one of my favorite passages, and Jesus still reveals something new to me every time I read it. I suggest reading it in another translation, I read it in the Passion Translation this morning, and it was a game changer.
By Destiny Gonzalez – Communications Staff