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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading
The shortest verse in the Bible is John 11:35: “Yahshua wept.” But for all its simplicity and brevity, it is packed with a depth of love and truth that is beyond comprehension.
When you go to a funeral, what do you do? You feel sad and you weep. That's normal. So the idea that Yahshua would cry at Lazarus's funeral seems understandable enough. Except for the fact that Yahshua had come - not to mourn - but to raise Lazarus from the dead! Here He stood weeping, when He knew that in a few short minutes the weeping would turn to astonished joy, then tearful laughter, and then worship... So why does John 11:33 tell us that He wept? There are actually several reasons, which we can discover in Scripture, all of which give us a beautiful and encouraging view of Yahweh.
1) Sin is a Calamity - which has brought death to us all
In the Garden of Eden, having come from a perfect world free from sin and death, how would Adam and Eve have felt about the first visible signs of it? When that first leaf fell from a formerly life-filled tree, how would it have appeared to someone who had never seen death? It was probably as grievous to Adam and Eve when they saw that first leaf fall as it is to us today when someone in our church community dies! Horrible as that is, we are somewhat used to death. But for Adam and Eve - having lived in a sinless realm which was filled only with health, strength, and perpetual life, the smallest sign of the loss of these blessings would have appeared in its full horror.
Yahshua was the Creator. He had made our world to be filled only with health, strength, and perpetual life. Witnessing the loss of it - the price of sin upon mankind - must have heightened His awareness of our need of His Sacrifice. In that poignant moment at the tomb, Yahshua wept over the calamity of sin.
He was the One who had come into the world to destroy the devil’s works (1 John 3:8). Yahshua was about to deliver death its deathblow (1 Corinthians 15:26). But in that incredible glimpse into the Heart of God, which is given to us at Lazarus's tomb, we see that sin grieves God deeply, and so do the wages of sin (Romans 6:23).
We complain about disease and death. But have you ever let it into your awareness about how these things affect Yahweh? Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve, He has endured sin’s horrific destruction. Death has consumed almost everything He has created (with very few exceptions like Elijah and Enoch). Death had taken Lazarus, and it would take him again before it was all over. Yes, it is not only mankind who suffers the consequences of sin. Our loving God - Creator of all - sorrows over it all with us... which brings us to my next point...
2) God has compassion upon us - sharing in our sorrows
In Hebrews 2:17-18, we find that Yahshua "suffered" and is thereby able to "succour" us. The word "suffered" means to have experienced pain and painful emotions.
Hebrews 2:17-18 "Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto his brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted."In weeping with the mourners at Lazarus's grave, we see the deep compassion that Yahshua felt for those who were suffering. It is true that Yahshua had allowed Lazarus to die, even though He was well able to prevent it. But, His reasons for allowing this death were good and merciful and would bring glory to the Kingdom of Heaven. But just because He allowed it, did not mean that Yahshua took lightly the suffering caused by Lazarus's death.
Lamentations 3:33 - “For He does not afflict from His Heart or grieve the children of men”.Even though Yahshua always chose the course that would ultimately bring His Father the most glory (John 11:4) — and sometimes, as in Lazarus’s case, it required affliction and grief — He did not (does not) take delight in our affliction and grief. Yahshua is very sympathetic (Hebrews 4:15). And as He was “the Image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15), in Yahshua at the tomb of Lazarus we get a glimpse of how the Father feels over the affliction and grief of His children.
Isn't it comforting to know that your life is in the Hands of One so caring and loving? I find it very comforting.
3) Lazarus's tomb lay in the shadow of the Cross
Finally, Yahshua wept for the cost that He was about to pay to purchase not only Lazarus’s short-term resurrection, but his everlasting Life. When Lazarus died, the Cross was just days away. Yahshua knew what He would soon face. And quite frankly, it was beyond human comprehension. No one can really know the mental anguish Yahshua experienced (Luke 12:50). It was an anguish so great, that it eclipsed the intensity of His physical suffering.
Yahshua's Death was the only reason that Lazarus - or anyone else - could be raised from the grave. Christ hadn't died yet. But His promise was so sure that He had the right to raise Lazarus on a "promissory note" that He would take his place!
Lazarus’s resurrection would be experienced by Lazarus and everyone else as a gift of Grace. But, it was not free. Yahshua was going to die a horrific death to purchase it.
And the most horrific part was not crucifixion, as unimaginable as that alone would have been. He was dreading His Father’s Wrath. Yahshua, Who had never tasted sin, was about to become Lazarus’s sin, taking upon Himself the sin of all who had or would believe in Him. This was necessary so that, in Him, they would all become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Why did Yahshua weep at Lazarus's tomb? He understood what it would cost to trade places with Lazarus. He also loved Lazarus - and you and me - enough to go through with it! And, because He did go through with it, we may all look forward to the Day when weeping will be no more!
Psalm 30:5 - “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”
Revelation 21:4 - “Death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore."