DAILY DEVOTIONALS 6.11 thru 6.16


 

 

Fresh Tears

 

When Jesus saw her (Mary) sobbing and the Jews with her sobbing, a deep anger welled up within him.  

 

He said, ‘Where did you put him?’ ‘Master, come and see,’ they said. 

 

Now Jesus wept. – John 11:33-35

 

 

 

I recently returned from a very fruitful and joyful trip to our partner church, The Ponca Indian UMC, in White Eagle, Oklahoma.  We had a wonderful time of fun and fellowship and it was great to meet new people and give and receive hugs from the familiar ones.  Amid all the excitement and joy, there was a recent death of a community member at White Eagle. 

Pastor Jimmy White explained to me that they traditionally observed four days of a “wake” for the recently deceased.  While that particular tradition of honoring the dead is not familiar to me, it was not the thing that stuck with me the most.  My family and I, along with our other mission trip families, attended the Sunday morning worship service at White Eagle.  One prominent church member and leader of the church provided the pastoral prayer expressing both the joys and the concerns of the church.  Her first words were this: “Fresh tears have fallen here Oh Lord . . .”  

She was referring to the grief that had come to the family and friends of the individual who had just died. Fresh Tears. Those words have stuck with me as I process our trip and our time at White Eagle.  I honestly appreciate the acknowledgement of the grief this community was dealing with.  They were “mourning” and “crying” over the loss of someone dear to them. While we all express grief or sadness in our own way (and there certainly isn’t a wrong way), it is refreshing when there are minimal constraints (both real and perceived) when dealing with loss.

In the culture in which I was raised, and in which I know and understand best, crying or weeping isn’t wrong or bad . . . but it isn’t necessarily encouraged either.  Keeping our emotions subdued is often preferred because we don’t want to offend or make those around us feel uncomfortable. After all, who of us has not been in the awkward situation where someone starts “crying” and pouring out their pain . . . leaving us baffled and utterly unaware of what to say. The reality is, when a person shares their tears with you, generally what they want is a space and time of non-judgement, free from words or platitudes, rather just the presence of another human willing to sharing in their grief. 

The scriptures above from John 11 presents a highly emotionally charged scene involving the death of Lazarus, Jesus’ friend and the brother of Mary and Martha.  In this passage, we see so much raw emotions, ranging from sadness and grief to anger and frustration. Nevertheless, in the end it was Jesus and his tears that broke the mounting tension.  The story ends in miracle and joy.  But before that moment arrives, which culminates in one of Jesus’ great teaching moments about his life, death and pending resurrection . . . Fresh Tears had to fall.

 

Read & Reflect

 

 

Read John 11:1-44 to see how the emotional scene revolving around the death of Lazarus unfolded in Bethany. 

 

Make note of the decisions Jesus made in the early part of the story to not attend to Lazarus and his sickness.  Why do you think Jesus made the decision he did? What kind of emotional impact do you think it had on Jesus knowing the friendship that he and Lazarus shared? 

 

The story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead provided a backdrop and context to Jesus’ own impending death and resurrection.  What “human” emotions might have Jesus been feeling or grappling with as he approaches the end of his life? 

 

Take time this week to reflect on the emotional state of the various characters in this story: The Disciples, Mary, Martha, The Crowds, and Jesus.  Does the fact that Jesus showed such visible and outward emotions provide you with strength and connection or confusion?  If so why? 

In your own life and circumstances what does “Jesus Wept” mean to you? If nothing more, please consider this truth . . . when you are suffering, when you are in pain, when you weep . . . Jesus weeps too.  The Fresh Tears of Jesus are falling too.

 

 

Pray

 

Dear Lord,

We all travel through trying seasons.  Seasons of sorrow, seasons of grief, and season of pain. Lord Jesus, you have walked those same roads.  Lord Jesus you walk those roads with us too.  We know we can come to you in our times of joy but on the difficult days it is comforting to know that you will also share in our tears.  Lord, we also feel great solace in knowing there will be a time when we will be reunited with you in a place where no tears are needed.      Amen

 

 

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