John 11:28-37: Tears.

28 After saying this, she went to her sister Mary and whispered in her ear, “The Teacher is here and is asking for you.”29-32 The moment she heard that, she jumped up and ran out to him. Jesus had not yet entered the town but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When her sympathizing Jewish friends saw Mary run off, they followed her, thinking she was on her way to the tomb to weep there. Mary came to where Jesus was waiting and fell at his feet, saying, “Master, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.”33-34 When Jesus saw her sobbing and the Jews with her sobbing, a deep anger welled up within him. He said, “Where did you put him?”34-35 “Master, come and see,” they said. Now Jesus wept.36 The Jews said, “Look how deeply he loved him.”37 Others among them said, “Well, if he loved him so much, why didn’t he do something to keep him from dying? After all, he opened the eyes of a blind man.”NIV

This ‘vale of tears’ they sometimes call it. 

I know the world is filled with laughter, but it is also flooded with tears. Rivers of tears will be shed in the next 24 hours.

This section of John 11 is tear-stained. In particular, do you see how the tears of Mary encounter the tears of Jesus? It’s like they mingle. He is ”touched with the feelings our infirmities.” The Lord keeps our tears in His bottle. I don’t think ”Jesus wept” because He was bereaved. He knew He was about to raise this beloved man (36). Jesus was not powerless, frustrated and defeated in the face of mankind’s last great enemy. But maybe He wept to see the pain of His loved one’s? Maybe He wept as He saw what death has done to the world? Maybe He wept to think that He would bring Lazarus back, only for His friend to have to go through all of this trauma again? (I believe there is a really strong word in verse 33, translated ”deeply moved”, sometimes used of a snorting horse. It’s like you can feel His anger towards death too.)

PRAYER: Lord, I would like to be like Mary:

  • even in tears, she heard your voice, and eagerly responded to your call (28, 29);
  • Even in sorrow, she was at your feet in adoration (32).

Help me to follow her example too (31). May tears never blind me to the overwhelming reality of your Lordship.