In John chapter 11 we are given the amazing story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Jesus knew that Lazarus was going to die. In fact, he waited just long enough to let that happen. At the beginning of the chapter we are told that Mary and Martha went to Jesus and told him that Lazarus was gravely ill. “But when Jesus heard it he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’” What is even more interesting is what happens next. We read in vv.5-6 that “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.” When he heard Lazarus was ill, he stayed longer? Why? He reveals this to his disciples in v.14 where he says to them, “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” So Jesus intentionally waits for Lazarus to die so that he might perform the miracle of raising him from the dead. Yet when he arrives in the town of Bethany he finds a scene of great mourning and weeping, great emotional suffering. If you have ever lost someone all too soon who was close to you, then you understand the kind of heartache and grief they are all experiencing. Jesus allowed this great suffering to come into their lives so they might be blessed to witness a miracle and that God might be glorified. But now here is where the debate comes in. In v.35 we read that when Jesus saw them weeping and wailing, he “wept.” Why did he weep? He knew Lazarus was going to die, and he knew he was about to raise him from the dead. Some try to understand the underlying Greek word for “weep” (dakruō) as ‘upset’ or ‘disappointed.’ Jesus was upset by their unbelief. I don’t believe that’s correct. I believe Jesus was moved to tears by their extreme grief and heartache and sorrow. Even though he knew he was about to bring Lazarus back to life, he felt their pain and could not help sharing in their suffering. The point is this: even though God is in sovereign control of everything that happens in our lives, if you are a child of God, know that he shares in your suffering. He feels your pain. God is not an emotionless divine spectator watching us from a distance like ants in an ant farm. He is there beside you, comforting you, encouraging you, carrying you, suffering with you.
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