God’s Will

When Martha had said this, she went away and called Mary her sister, saying secretly, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.”

And when she heard it, she got up quickly and was coming to Him.

Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha met Him.

Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and consoling her, when they saw that Mary got up quickly and went out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there.
Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”

When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”

Jesus wept.

So the Jews were saying, “See how He loved him!”

But some of them said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have kept this man also from dying?” (John 11:28–37)

The best thing for you may turn out to be very unpleasant. Jesus’ will for Lazarus was that he get sick and die. Jesus’ will for his friends and relatives was that they experience grief. Why? To bring glory to God. There is more to our lives than just us. And even if it is all for the best, the pain is no less intense.

After Jesus learned where Lazarus had been placed, in the shortest verse of the Bible, we learn that he cried. Why did Jesus cry when he knew Lazarus would be alive so soon? Jesus cried over the death of Lazarus for the same reason any human being has ever cried over the death of a loved one.

Christians find it easy to think of Jesus as God. Too often, we have trouble accepting the fact that he was also human. Jesus laughed and Jesus cried, for the same reasons that any human being laughs or cries.

The death of Lazarus and Jesus’ interactions with the mourners gives us added insight into the heart of Jesus: we get to know Jesus not just in the words he spoke, but also in his tears, no different from the ones we shed in our darkest hours. Like Jesus, we know that the resurrection is coming. But like Jesus, we still must cry.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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