Daily encouragement

Video by

Andy Elliott

ACF Devo Team

dive deeper

John 11:35

Jesus wept.

Behind the Scenes

Was Jesus really God? Was Jesus really a man? In Christianity, we believe that Jesus was both God and man. The perfection of His divine being in tension with the reality of human characteristics, such as hunger, exhaustion, and pain. These are the physical attributes that Jesus exhibited when He walked this earth, but to be completely human, Jesus would also exhibit the emotional attributes of his human character like joy, anger, and sorrow.

Our verse today is one of the most indicative of Jesus’ true humanity: Jesus wept. These two words pack a punch and to fully understand why they are significant we need to explore their context. First off, the concept of love is prevalent in the Gospel of John, primarily in God’s love for people in general as referenced by the famous John 3:16 scripture: “For God so loved the world....” Secondly, John recognizes this love as personal when he references “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (13:23, 19:26, 21:7, 21:20), probably himself. Jesus weeps because Jesus loves.

Chapter 11 of John is entirely devoted to the story of Lazarus and the repercussions of the miracle that Jesus performs. Lazarus is the brother of Martha and Mary, the one who anointed Jesus with oil and wiped his feet with her hair. Lazarus falls sick and the sisters send a message to Jesus, "Lord, he whom you love is ill" (John 11:3). Yet, Jesus does not leave immediately. By the time he reaches Bethany where Lazarus lived, Lazarus has been entombed for four days.

He is confronted separately by both Martha and Mary with the same response, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Jesus sees the weeping of the sisters and others present and is “deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.” Jesus knows what he is about to do. He foretells it to his disciples when he first hears of Lazarus’ sickness (v. 4). Yet, Jesus still weeps because a broken world contains sorrow.

The crowd that witnesses Jesus’ emotional response have two different reactions. They recognize his love for Lazarus, yet they respond like the sisters: he could have kept Lazarus from dying - He had healed the blind, after all! Jesus is again deeply moved, (v. 38). Throughout this chapter, all those Jesus encounter, even His disciples, believe Jesus can do nothing for Lazarus now. Their hopelessness from their lack of belief troubles Jesus. He also recognizes that the forthcoming miracle will still not persuade some Jews to believe in Him, “Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done” (vv. 45-46). Jesus weeps for those who reject Him.

Make it Real

There is a lot there, isn’t there? Two words convey so much. This outpouring of Jesus’ emotion is an external demonstration of what it means to be human from the one human who never sinned. Emotions are not sinful, as He shows. In our brokenness, however, they can be deceptive and used by our weak flesh and the enemy to wreak havoc on ourselves and those around us.

Jesus had full control of his emotions; they didn’t control him. Do you allow your emotions to lead you? One example of this is anger. Scripture warns us “Be angry and do not sin” (Ephesian 4:6a). Yes, we can be angry, but without control or the release of it (“do not let the sun go down on your anger, Ephesians 4:6b), anger can lead us into deep bitterness within or damaging malice toward others.

In today’s Scripture, we see Jesus’ emotions whelming up from a deep sense of love and passion. We are meant to be passionate! It’s what gives us purpose and forbearance to endure life’s valleys and mountaintops. But that passion with its accompanying emotions are meant for God’s glory, not our own self-pity or aggrandizement. Maybe today is the day to turn your passion into His glory!

End in Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, help me to recognize when I allow my emotions to get the best of me. Help me to ask for forgiveness when my verbal and non-verbal actions threaten my relationships. Thank you for giving us emotions so that in turn we can worship and praise you from deep within our spirit, led by your Holy Spirt. In the mighty name of Jesus, I pray. Amen!

Written by

Danny Venhaus

ACF Operations Director