as always, I recommend buying this book and reading the full text. I summarize in many places, what I think are the most important points Dr Fountain wanted to make.
Reading this week: John 11:1-44
The raising of Lazarus from the dead. Why did Jesus weep? Why didn’t he have a bit of a grin on his face knowing that Mary and Martha would soon be rejoicing as their brother walked forth from the cave? The disciples had witnessed Jesus healing people of diseases and making them whole. But now He was going to show His power over death.
I (Dr Fountain) believe that here Jesus saw the frightful effects death has on the living. The fear of death is dreadful and can destroy people. The agony when death separates husband and wife, father or mother and child, close friends or relatives, is a terrible thing. When Jesus saw the agony reflected in the faces of the mourners whom He loved, He was overcome with anger – anger at death itself and how it destroys human relationships. He was also deeply moved with compassion for the mourners.
That’s why Jesus wept. He weeps for me and the countless host of brothers and sisters from whom someone dear has been torn away from them by physical death. (Dr Fountain had recently lost his beloved wife, Miriam, after a long battle with cancer) Knowing that Jesus knows my (our) pain in the depths of His spirit helps me/us to know that I am not alone – the Lord of glory has His arm around me and assures me that He has taken that pain into himself.
Jesus knew that in a short time death would shame Him and kill Him. Yet He would gain the ultimate victory over death when raised from the grave by His Father. But at this moment His emotions overwhelmed Him (for He was also fully human) as He saw His friends suffering, and He recognized the excruciating agony that the separation of death brings to us whom God has made in His image. Composing Himself, He strode toward the tomb and when Martha objected noting there would be a terrible odor, Jesus simply dismissed her fears by saying, in effect, “Trust me.” He commanded Lazarus to come out and out he came. Living evidence of the power of the King over death!
- What do those two brief words, “Jesus wept,” tell us about the character of Jesus?
- When a loved one dies and we face the agony of separation, where is Jesus and what is He doing?
- How can we share this hope of victory over death with the people around us who are grieving?