Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: "A Small Verse with a Big Message" deals with the essence of the christian faith.

A Small Verse with a Big Message

Practically every person who has ever gone to Sunday school and has been asked to quote a Bible verse on the spot can quote John 11:35: “Jesus wept." These two words provide more than just a snappy verse to use in Sunday school; these two words reveal some insight into the personality of Jesus Christ.

First, Jesus’ weeping reinforced His preaching. Jesus often spoke of love in His teachings to His disciples and others. If anything Jesus had ever taught would sink into the mind of His listeners, His teachings on love must have thoroughly penetrated the surface. Jesus’ tears were not fake; they were real tears over the death of his friend, Lazarus. The Jews who were watching Christ could not help but be convinced of the Savior’s true feelings as they commented: "Behold, how he loved him!" (John 11:36). Jesus’ tears demonstrated that true love does not always come just from the lips; it has to come from the heart.

Secondly, Jesus’ weeping shows the human side of His divine nature. Jesus was the perfect combination of God and man; but some have called him the "God-man." Jesus felt the confusing sadness, the bereaved bitterness that existed around the fact of Lazarus’s death. Jesus cried because He was human. He could see the questions that were no doubt going through Mary and Martha’s mind: "Why did Jesus wait so late before He came? Why doesn’t He do something? Does He really care? Did He really loved Lazarus?" Then, He knew, no doubt, what the onlookers were thinking: "Jesus cannot feel sorrow. He said so much about love, but He does not seem to be disturbed about Lazarus’s death." Jesus wept because He honestly cared for His dead friend and his sisters. In fact, one could say that Jesus knows how it feels when we have to go to a funeral conducted for our loved ones. He has not changed; He knows what we feel when we feel it -- and He cares.

Thirdly, Jesus’ weeping -- His sadness -- created action in Him, not a spirit of defeat. After the stone from Lazarus’s grave had been removed, Jesus prayed to God in John 11:42-43: "Father, I thank thee that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me." After this prayer, Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth." (Some Bible scholars have said if Jesus had left out Lazarus’ name and just said, "Come forth," all who were dead would have come out of their tombs.) Indeed Lazarus came out of the tomb -- alive as he had ever been.

There may be times of weeping in our lives but we are promised that joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). When we are sad and are contemplating how defeated we feel, we need to remember that Jesus wept – and in His weeping, He indicates that He understands what we are going through. He can turn our tears into triumph.

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