The story of Jesus resurrecting Lazarus is one of those popular sermons that I believe most of us have heard time and time again. I can actually remember the first time the story of Lazarus intrigued me while in church. I am sure that I was in elementary school. It was the minister’s shout of “Get up Lazarus” along with a hit of the pulpit stand towards the end of the sermon that reeled me in. For years to come I would hear sermons and re-read John 11:1-44 detailing the story of Lazarus. I have come to realize that in this story I have always paid attention to the emotions and dialogue that surround the issue of Lazarus but I had not taken time to internalize those emotions. Especially those of Christ. I think the emotions and statements of Mary, Martha, and the Disciples readily make sense and are easy to internalize. As for those concerning Christ, they force us to take a deeper look at ourselves and answer questions that we are not always willing to answer.
“Jesus wept,” (John 11:35) I’ve always read this in a “matter of fact” tone as in “Jesus wept, yes he did, next verse.” Never really taking the time to dwell on why he wept or the fact that he wept. Surprisingly, I’ve come across several explanations as to why he wept. Many say that his weeping was a response to grief but scripture declares that it is a response to deep anger. (John 11: 33 NLT) I’ve always known that I serve an emotional God, but I honestly haven’t always taken time to consider his emotions and the cause of them. I must add that I did feel an instant sense of wow and pride in Jesus weeping because he was angry. I do the same. I weep for literally everything. Nevermind that though. So why was Jesus angry? Jesus was angry because he explained from the beginning of the matter, when the concern of Lazarus being sick was initially brought to his attention, that Lazarus was fine and his illness would be used to glorify his name. (John 11:4) Jesus was angry because every statement and action that he received from the Disciples, Mary, and Martha (all people that knew him well and were first hand witnesses of his work) showed evidence of unbelief. They had proclaimed that he was Christ the son of God, sent by God, but when they were met with the opportunity to demonstrate their faith they resorted to mourning when they should have been celebrating the glory to come. They resorted to statements and emotions that repeatedly showed evidence of a lack of faith and understanding. Jesus’s anger translates beyond his weeping in the end of the matter, just before he resurrects Lazarus, when he responds to Martha with “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe.” (John 11:40) It appears that “Didn’t I tell you” has always been a sure sign of irritation.
So after taking in the why of Jesus’s weeping, I began to examine myself. Had I made Jesus angry too? Had I caused my incredible Savior to weep? Of course, I have! Several moments of me resorting to doubt rather than complete faith immediately resurfaced in my mind. As I contemplated those moments I began to clearly see how I could have caused Christ anger or any emotion that did not result in joy or pleasure. At the thought of this, not only had Jesus wept but now I did too. More than anything, I want to please Christ and if there is anything I am sure of, it is that our faith is directly linked to God’s emotions towards us. We have seen this through God’s response to the children of Israel, his response to the woman with the issue of blood, we have actually seen this in his response to absolutely everything in his word. It is our faith that God reacts to. “According to your faith let it be unto you” (Matthew 9:29). All of our actions are based on our complete faith, lack of faith, or absence of faith in Christ. When I say actions I mean everything that we do in life. We know that every action causes a reaction. What will God’s response be to you? That is something that I am constantly asking myself. How would this make Jesus feel? Is another question that I am constantly asking myself. More than anything I pray that we all work to make Christ smile and bring him joy through our unwavering faith in Him. May we all be mindful of the emotions of Christ.
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