August 29, 2021
Our Lord Jesus is a marvelous Savior. We have seen that he is the bread of life. Our souls feed on him. He is the light of the world. We no longer walk in darkness. He is the good shepherd. He lays down his life for the sheep. He is the gate; through him we find God. And today we hear the He is the Resurrection and the Life. Let us give glory and honor to the One we worship.
This series of sermons could raise this question: why is Jesus always bragging? "I AM, I AM, IAM." He is pointing to himself and lifting himself up. He is dong what we tell ourselves and children not to do. By the way, the Psalms are full of the same thing. Praise the Lord; Lift up his Holy name: sing to him a new song: I will extol the Lord at all times; glorify the Lord with me, let us exalt his name together. What is it about this God that requires human praise?
Are you ready for my answer? He is WORTHY.
A while back I called Craig and Carol Simonsen on the phone and said, "look out your window at the sunset." They did and they saw the pink and the orange and the blue spectacularly painted across the sky. Their reaction: WOW!!! The sunset is worthy of our WOW. So is God. That's what praise is.
This morning I would like to examine who Jesus is and why is a WOW! By exploring some thoughts about his emotions. We know his words. We know his actions. How was he feeling? What was going on inside of him?
I would like to start with the shortest verse in the Bible. "Jesus wept.
Let's look for a moment at eh tears if Jesus and ask the bigger question “does God weep?” Now we affirm as Christians in our creeds and in our beliefs that Jesus Christs God in human flesh, that he is the second person of the Trinity who has become a human being without surrendering his deity. For Jesus to weep is for God to weep.
He weeps for Lazarus. He weeps with Martha and Mary even though he knows that in a few minutes he is going to raise Lazarus from the dead. But there are other places too where God weeps.
In Luke 19 verse 41 “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city. He wept over Jerusalem it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on the day that would bring you peace-but now it is hidden from your eyes.” He goes on to tell them that their enemies will destroy the city and not leave one stone upon another, “because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”
He weeps for people who are blind to spiritual truth, blind on purpose, and it will mean their destruction. I wonder, OH I wonder whether Jesus weeps for Washington D.C….for America, for Dillon, Montana.
Sheep without a shepherd. Another place, in Matthew 9:36 it says “when he saw the crowd he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Jesus sees the sheep without a shepherd, without leadership, without protection, without feeding and it bothered him in his guts. I call that weeping, weeping for the lost, the people who can’t find their way. Our God is a God who cares.
The suffering of the Hebrews in slavery. If we go way back to almost the beginning of the Bible, the Israelites are in slavery in Egypt. Pharaoh, the king, has increased their burdens. The Israelite overseers were whipped because they could not meet their daily quota of bricks. They complained to Moses; Moses complained to God and God said, “I have heard the groaning of the Israelites whom the Egyptians are enslaving and I have remembered my covenant.”
“I have heard their groaning.” I see their suffering. I feel their affliction. I hear their cries. Now this doesn’t say that God weeps but it does say that God stands with those who do and he does something. Black slaves in America became Christians even though they were treated brutally by their white Christian slaveowners. They heard the stories of the Exodus and it gave hem hope that someday that same God might get them their freedom. God did not send Moses; God sent Abraham Lincoln. Our God is delivering God, a liberating God, a God who hears the groaning.
Hosea 11 My heart recoils within me. “It was I who taught Israel to walk, I took them in my arms; I led them with cords of human kindness and ties of love. I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek and I bent down to feed them. But the more they were called the more they went away from me. My people are determined to turn away from me.”
So, God considers divorcing Israel, cutting them off, finding someone else to bless and work through. As God ponders judgement he stops and says to himself, how can I give you up Oh Israel, how can I had you over Oh Ephraim, how can I treat you like those little towns, Admah and Zeboim, who got destroyed with Sodom and Gommorah. My heart recoils within me; all my compassion is aroused and grows warm and tender. I will not carry out my fierce anger, for I am God, not a male of the human species. God’s wrath is soothed and quieted by Gods tears
Jer 9:10 God weeps for nature. “I will weep and wail for the mountains and take up a lament concerning the wilderness grasslands. They are desolate and untraveled. The birds have all fled and the animals are gone.” What is God doing here? He is weeping that species have gone out of existence. He created them and now they are gone. He weeps.
Then the text goes on, “Who is wise enough to understand this? And who has been instructed by the Lord and can explain it? Why has the land been ruined and laid waste like a desert that no one can cross? The Lord said, “it is because they have forsaken my law.” Our greed is ruining the planet. Mother nature has a fever and she’s fighting back with hurricanes, floods, and fires more than usual. God weeps. God walks with those who weep. No other religion, no other religion has a God who suffers.
Besides the tears of Jesus, we see another emotion is revealed in our text today but it is hidden in the translation. Inverses 33 and 38 we see these words, “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who has come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved, came to the tomb.”
“Deeply moved” is one Greek word and literally it means to “snort”. It is an expression of anger and displeasure. The same word is used in Mark 14:5 when Mary comes into the house of Simon the Leper in the middle of the dinner party. She puts expensive perfume on Jesus feet and wipes his feet with her hair and her tears. The people criticized her saying “this is expensive; it could have been given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly. That’s the word “rebuke harshly.”
Jesus was deeply moved and negatively.
Jesus knew he was going to call forth Lazarus from the dead. In just a few minutes he was going to see him. Why the anger? The other word that is used here is troubled”, stirred up, unsettled, agitated. Why the anger?
Well, here’s my take. If you go back to the very beginning (that is, before the creation) was the word and the word was with God and the word was God. Then verse 14 says, “and the word became flesh and dwelt among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of one and only Son,” So, Jesus was there at the creation of the world, as the word.
And then verses 2 and 3 say, “He was with God in the beginning. Though him all things were made; without him nothing was made that was made.” The Son of God, Jesus Christ out Lord was the Creator.
So why is Jesus angry at the tomb of Lazarus. Jesus us angry at the very existence of death in a world he created good. The world was created without death in it.
Where did death come from/ It was not part of God’s original pan for creation. Death came into the world because human beings, characterized by Adam and Eve, thumbed their noses at God. Human beings in essence said to God “I know how to run my life better than you do. I know what is best for me and you don’t.” That is what we call sin. When sin came into the world it brought death with it. The point is this; the existence of death is a judgment of God upon sin.
Now don’t misunderstand me here. I’m not saying that every death is a result of a specific sin or that any specific suffering is an outcome of a particular misdeed. No, we face death, and suffering for that matter, because there is sin in the world. Evil is real.
When I ask God to condemn death and eliminate it and squash it, that is exactly what his did. When Jesus died on the cross he took your sin and my sin and the whole world’s sin upon himself. On the cross our evil was condemned; our sin was judged; our debt was paid. He went to hell for you and me. At the cross sin and death are squashed, condemned. What we deserved he suffered.
Here is the marvelous part. Not only did he tale what you and I deserved but what he deserved you and I get: eternal life. That’s why he is the resurrection and the life. Eternal life, which is, life lived under the grace and mercy and love and approval of God.