Jesus wept

jesus-wept

The shortest verse in the Bible says “Jesus wept”.  Have you ever wondered why?  Was Jesus showing his humanness and His empathy for the human experience?  This is the common understanding and we know it’s true from scripture. (Hebrews 4:15)

If you are like me you have probably read this verse many times and just thought, “Jesus has compassion for those around Him, especially Martha and Mary because He loved them”.  The Jews that were there thought this also if we look at verse 36.  I agree, He certainly had compassion and loved them, but I believe there is so much more to this verse than most notice.

John 11:14-15 – Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead.  And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe, Nevertheless let us go to him.”

Here we see the purpose of Lazarus’s death, also affirmed in verse 4; Jesus says it’s for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.  He did it so the disciples would believe and He would be glorified.

This seems hard for me to believe, yet this is what the Lord says.  We are already well into Christ’s ministry, how is it they don’t believe?

John Calvin commenting – He does not mean that this was the first feeble commencement of faith in them, but that it was a confirmation of faith already begun, though it was still exceedingly small and weak. Yet he indirectly suggests that, if the hand of God had not been openly displayed, they would not have believed.

John 11:21 Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”

John 11:32 Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”

Watch what happens next, as I find this fascinating and where I think most people miss the point of this verse.

John 11:33 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, (professionals hired to cry at a funeral); He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.

The word groaned here is – embrimaomai (to snort with anger); to have indignation on, that is, (transitively) to blame, (intransitively) to sigh with chagrin, (specifically) to sternly enjoin: – straitly charge, groan, murmur against.

Jesus was also troubled – tarassō – Of uncertain affinity; to stir or agitate (roil water): – trouble.

Jesus was clearly annoyed by the reaction of all of those around Him at the death of Lazarus and seems to be agitated to the point of anger.  He knew He was going to raise Lazarus, so it can’t be that He doubted what would happen.  Then it happens.

Jesus wept. – John 11:35

 

Why?  Let’s consider a few other verses that might give us some insight.

Matthew 9:36-38 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.  Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.  Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.

Luke 13:34  “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stone those who are sent to her!  How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!

So why did Jesus weep?  He had compassion for sure, but His compassion and his groaning was over the hard heartedness of man that lives in a self-absorbed sin saturated world.  He wanted them to come in faith and repentance, but they refused.  They wouldn’t acknowledge Him as Lord and as their King; despite the irrefutable proofs of His miracles.  It was obvious wasn’t it?

Today we consistently see the same thing.  There is nothing new under the sun, and you can show the un-believer sin and his hatred of God, yet he can’t see it.  I can sometimes intellectually understand my own disbelief, yet I just can’t get out of my funk.

Does the Lord groan in His spirit over you or over me?  Is He troubled by our lack of belief or our compassion for the lost?  Does He groan when we live in willful rebellion to His Word?  I am struck by the depth of this chapter as it relates to me.  It’s easy for me to see the shortcomings of others yet fail to see my own sin.  It’s easy to be critical and see how much they need Jesus, and they do, but I need Jesus.

I need Him more today than the day I was saved because if He didn’t weep for me, I’m lost.  If He pulled His tears back from me I’d spiral into the depths of my own sin in moments.  The closer I draw to Him the bigger and more wretched my sin becomes.

Men have always been ungrateful to God in the same manner, and continue to be so. If he does not grant all our wishes, we immediately launch into complaints: “Since he has been accustomed to aid us hitherto, why does he now forsake and disappoint us?” There is here a twofold disease. First, though we rashly desire what is not expedient for us, yet we wish to subject God to the perverse desires of the flesh. Secondly, we are rude in our demands, and the ardor of impatience hurries us before the time. – John Calvin

How about you?

If you can’t see your sin then I beg you to repent.  Do you truly weep over your sin or are you merely a professional weeper hired to perform a service?

If you are a Believer do you weep and groan over the lost?  How much compassion do you have for those around you that are without a shepherd?

May the Lord be merciful to those who can see their sin!  It cost the One that paid the price dearly and that’s something we should weep about.

Kevin

 

A Sure Guide to Heaven – Part 3 – The necessity of conversion

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

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This statement is every bit as shocking to people today as it was to Nicodemus at the time Jesus spoke these words.  John 3:9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?”  Here was a leader of the Jews, a religious man, with lots of training and he missed the simple fact that he needed to be converted to enter the kingdom of God.

Conversion is necessary.  That is exactly what Jesus is telling us today, just as He did when He walked this earth, just as Joseph Alleine is explaining to us in this remarkable third chapter of his book.  There is a “disconnect” among evangelicals today about what it means to be converted.

Conversion is radical and violent.  It comes at a great cost because there is pain involved, pain at the recognition of your sin.  Imagine your heart being ripped out of your insides and being replaced with a new heart.  This is major surgery and without anesthesia.

Ezekiel 36:25-27 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statues, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

The conversion described is not a high attainment of some advanced Christians, but every soul that is saved undergoes this change…

What is it that you count necessary?  Is your bread necessary?  Is your breath necessary?  Then your conversion is much more necessary.  Indeed, this is the one thing necessary.  Your possessions are not necessary; you may sell all for the pearl of great price, and yet be a gainer by the purchase.  Your life is not necessary; you may part with it for Christ, to infinite advantage.   Your reputation is not necessary; you may be reproached for the name of Christ, and yet be happy; yes, you may be much more happy in reproach than in repute.  But your conversion is necessary; your salvation depends upon it; and is it not needful in so important a matter to take care?  On this one point depends your making or marring to all eternity.  But I shall more particularly show the necessity of conversion in five things. Page 50-51

Does this resonate with you today?  If not I plead with you to read it again and meditate on these words.  It is all that really matters.  Your conversion is necessary.

1: Without conversion your being is in vain

Verily you are in vain, except you are for God.  It were better you had no being than not be for Him.  Would you serve your end?  You must repent and be converted; without this you are to no purpose; indeed, to bad purpose. Page 51

Did he really say that?

What a blow to our self esteem…

This is a reality check…

2: Not only man, but the whole visible creation is in vain without conversion

O dreadful thought! That God should build such a world as this, and lay out such infinite power, and wisdom, and goodness thereupon, and all in vain; and that man should be guilty, at last, of robbing and spoiling Him of the glory of all!  O think of this.  While you are unconverted, all the offices of the creatures are in vain to you. Page 54

3: Without conversion your religion is vain

O soul! Do not think when your sins pursue you, that a little praying and reforming your ways will pacify God.  You must being with your heart.  If that is not renewed, you can no more please God than one who, having unspeakably offended you, should bring you the most loathsome thing to pacify you; or having fallen into the mire, should think with his filthy embraces to reconcile you. Page 55

4: Without true conversion your hopes are in vain

The hope of comfort here is vain.  It is not only necessary for the safety, but comfort of your condition, that you be converted.  Without this, you shall not know peace (Is. 59:8) Page 56

Spiritual sloth is but a scurvy in the mind, and carnal security a mortal lethargy. Page 57

Now, to say God is merciful and to hope that He will save us without conversion, is in effect to say, ‘We hope that God will not do as He says.’  We must not set God’s attributes at variance.  God has resolved to glorify His mercy, but not to the prejudice of His truth, as the presumptuous sinner will find to his everlasting sorrow. Page 58

5: Without conversion all that Christ has done and suffered will be, as to you, in vain

That is, it will in no way avail you to salvation.  Many urge this as a sufficient ground for their hope, that Christ died for sinner; but I must tell you, Christ never died to save impenitent and unconverted sinners, so continuing.  A great divine was accustomed in his private dealings with souls to ask two questions.  What has Christ done for you?  What has Christ wrought in you?  Without the application of the Spirit in regeneration, we have no saving interest in the benefits of redemption.  I tell you from the Lord, that Christ Himself cannot save you if you go on in this state. Page 59

It would be dishonourable to God to bestow His choicest riches on them that have more pleasure in their sins than in the heavenly delights that He offers.  God would lose the praise and glory of His grace, if He should cast it away upon them that were not only unworthy but unwilling. Page 61 & 62

Are you unwilling? 

Hear then His own words; ‘Except ye be converted, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.’  ‘Ye must be born again.’  ‘If I was thee not, thou hast no part in me.’  ‘Except ye repent ye shall perish’ (Mt xviii 3; Jn iii 7; Jn xiii 8; Lk xiii 3).  Page 63

These are powerful words.  Very few preachers say these things anymore because it seems so harsh to the listener.  Yet imagine if your child was playing on the train tracks and a train was coming.  How would you want me to communicate the impending disaster that was coming his way?  Should I do it in a gentle easy tone or scream at the top of my lungs to “GET OUT OF THE WAY!”  So why would those living a life that will condemn them to hell be any different?

If you don’t have testimony of your conversion, maybe you aren’t converted.  Do you know when God removed your heart of stone and placed in you a heart of flesh?  Do you know the day you were born again?  If not do something about that.  I suggest get on your knees and beg Him to show you your sin and then beg for His converting grace.  This is sorrow not to be regretted.

Kevin