It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about my new favorite story in the Bible, Jesus healing Lazarus in John 11. After we found out Karis’s diagnosis this passage helped me learn to pray for her. To simply offer up her circumstance and let God respond, trusting in his sovereignty. This passage allowed me to see I have a limited viewpoint as I sit and wait for God to act. I am not privy to his thoughts and I have to trust his love for me even as I wait. It also taught me that even in my darkest hour, God continues to ask me where my faith is at. Do I believe He is who he says he is? Yes. Again, I would never of been drawn to this passage in Scripture without reading the book “I Will Carry You,” by Angie Smith. These are truths God has taught me through his Word and through this book.
This next truth he has taught me, isn’t just one that I’ve learned and continued to move on. This truth has sunk down deep into my soul and I am forever changed. This truth he didn’t just show me in His word, he spoke it over my life and I see my trials differently, very differently.
First of all, it didn’t occur to me what Jesus “gave up” to come to Judea to heal Lazarus. Jesus knows that heading back to Judea and the city means that he is walking towards the Father’s will for his life (his death). He knows that this is the start of a series of events that will lead him to the cross. With every step he takes towards Judea, he knows what he is walking towards. He knows that if he heals Lazarus it will cause a big uproar with the Pharisees, and it did. The headlines in John 11 go from “Jesus Raises Lazarus from the Dead,” to “The Plot to Kill Jesus.” He was in a sense, risking his life to heal Lazarus.
Secondly, what happens when Mary meets Jesus at the city gate is healing to my soul. “When Jesus saw her (Mary) weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled” (John 11:33). The Greek word here is embrimaomai, which refers to anger. Angie Smith explains “many scholars suggest that this emotion was not aimed at the women and men who were gathered around Him but rather at death itself. He was angry at the hurt it was causing.” I fully believe that 3 days ago when death stole our daughter from us, Jesus was angry at death.
They took Jesus to the place where Lazarus lay and the most beautiful thing happens, Jesus weeps (Jn 11:35). While Jesus is weeping (dakryo), the women were wailing (klaio). Angie Smith describes “This is the only occurrence of dakryo in the entire New Testament. He isn’t crying over the death of Lazarus but rather the hurt He is experiencing with people He loves dearly. He isn’t crying because the situation is hopeless, but because He is an empathetic God. He knows that in a few moments Lazarus will walk out of the tomb. He also knows they can’t see that hope. And neither can we. There is a difference in despair and deep sadness over the time that will pass until we see her again. It is a conscious, daily choice to experience dakryo, the sadness that allows one to grieve with the expectation of redemption.”
Jesus wasn’t weeping because of death. He knew that death did not have the final say. He knew that just a few moments after he composed himself he would heal Lazarus completely. That proves he wasn’t in despair. That proves he wasn’t weeping because death had seemed to steal his friend from him. Now the women, they were wailing. They mourned deeply the loss of their brother. Jesus is weeping and broken as he feels and sees those he loves mourn and grieve. He is angry at death, saddened and troubled by how death makes us feel. He knows death is not the final say. He sees the bigger picture that we cannot see. But his heart aches to see our hearts break. And that is the most healing thing to me as of right now in all of Scripture. That as my heart is completely and utterly ripped to pieces over the loss of my daughter and burying her tomorrow, my Savior is right next to me weeping at our loss. He sees the bigger picture., In fact, he welcomed her into heaven. He knows she is completely healed. But he still weeps with us because he hurts when we hurt. That is the God I serve and love.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are- yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16