Scripture: John 11:1-44
Observation: When Jesus hears that his friend Lazarus is sick, he immediately proclaims that his sickness won’t lead to death. Jesus insists that this sickness is a way he will bring glory to God. He eventually makes his way to visit Lazarus, and when he arrives, they inform him that Lazarus has died. He performs a miracle, bringing the man back to life.
Application: Growing up, I always imagined Jesus as a tall and strong white man with flowing brown hair, a perfectly groomed beard, and a winning smile. (Special thanks to my Precious Moments Bible for providing this idealized, yet wholly unrealistic, picture of Jesus.) He seemed like this perfect human specimen – patient, loving, calm, surrounded by equally patient, loving, and calm children. (Again, thanks, Precious Moments Bible for another completely unrealistic scene. Calm children? Really?)
And while I knew that Jesus was fully God and fully human, I never completely bought into the fully human part. He never seemed to struggle the way I struggled, feel failure the way I felt failure, experience anger the way I experienced anger. He felt so out of reach, so perfect, so…not human.
That’s why I love this story of Lazarus: we get a glimpse of Jesus’s humanity. John shows us the struggle of Jesus choosing between what he wanted in the moment (to be there for his friends) and what his Father asked of him (wait before you go to them).
“So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next two days.” (v.5-6)
We see him love his friends deeply. We see him frustrated when people believe that this life is all there is.
“When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people waiting with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled.” (v. 34)
We see him cry.
“Then Jesus wept.” (v. 35)
We don’t know why exactly he wept – perhaps he was grieving with his friends or sad because Lazarus had died. Perhaps he was grieving the sin that permeates this world. Perhaps he was grieving because healing Lazarus quickly led to his own arrest and death. Regardless, his grief welled up inside of him and poured out of him through tears.
Jesus felt what we feel: wanting, frustration, anger, grief. He experienced suffering, rejection, loss. But instead of succumbing to every feeling and desire, he submitted them to his Father and decided to live for His glory alone.
“Jesus responded, ‘Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?’” (v. 40)
Through faith in Jesus, we have the same power within us. The same divine power that allowed Jesus to heal miraculously, to love lavishly, to rise from the dead lives in us today.
When we live with faith over feeling, heaven meets earth.
When we commit every part of ourselves to the God who committed His very own Son to us, holy meets human.
When we live to bring glory to our Father alone, pride meets purpose – and we are never the same.
Prayer: God, thank you for Jesus, for allowing him to feel and experience everything we do and yet staying fully committed to you through it all. Amen.