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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Jesus Weeps...

Definition bowels, intestines, (the heart, lungs, liver, etc.)
*The bowels were regarded as the seat of the more violent passions, such as anger and love; but by the Hebrews as the seat of the tenderer affections, esp. kindness, benevolence, compassion; hence our heart (tender mercies, affections, etc.)
a heart in which mercy resides.

When Luke 11:35  tells us "Jesus wept" he used this word, "Splagnonmatzi" (If I am misspelling it, I hope my seminarian friends will forgive me) The word renders Jesus weeping to be what it really much more than just weeping with everyone else. He was weeping because of them. His heart literally tore open and the emotion poured out of Him like a broken water main. It poured out from the very deepest part of His person. His grief was so visible, that the others watching him weep stopped their own weeping and said in verse 36: "Look how very much he loved him!" Jesus' grief was so pronounced that the others took notice.
Why? Why did Jesus weep so deeply, knowing -as He surely must have known- that He was minutes from raising Lazarus from the dead and ending this grief for them all? I've heard people say it was because He saw in full force, the end result of the fall of man, staring into Lazarus' tomb. But this would imply Jesus had never seen death before and we know He had. He'd raised Jairus' daughter by this point, so he'd already stood at the bedside of a dead child. Some say it was because of the lack of faith of those around him. Maybe, but He didn't weep like this when He walked out of Nazareth, informing them in no uncertain terms that because of their lack of faith, He wasn't able to do much for them.
I think the weeping was simply his human reaction to the enormous grief around him, combined with his own grief over the death of one of his closest friends. Jesus was, as we are so aware, all man and all God, simultaneously. His human side felt all the things we feel, and because He was without sin, I think He felt those things to a far greater degree than any of us will ever feel.
His emotions and reactions were unfiltered by sin, not connected by any earthly agenda, totally without regard to self. When He wept that day over the death of his friend, He was weeping because He found Himself in tune with the broken hearts around him, and because his nature was perfect, he empathized perfectly. He felt Mary and Martha's grief in a way none of us are capable. He grieved their loss. In this flash of time, we see him bearing their burden, as we would later be commanded to do for one another. (Gal 6:2)
He gave us an example of real, honest grief.
He wept as if Lazarus was his own son or brother.
There is a little comfort in this. Knowing that Jesus is weeping along with Ergun Mehmet Caner, and his wife Jill and their son and their family. Not just dabbing at the corner of His eyes with a handkerchief, but on his knees, rocking back and forth in grief, invisibly holding my dear brother and his sweet wife and son in His unseen arms. His heart has tuned to the frequency of their grief and His tears have intermingled with theirs. If I could see this, I too would stop in my tracks and say between my own sobs, "Look how much He loves Braxton, and Ergun, and Jill, and Drake!" My own sobs would grow louder because I would recognize the presence of Jesus, Savior of the world, again taking on the burdens of those He loves.
Jesus weeps again today. It is amazing.

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