Jesus Wept

“Jesus wept.”(John 11:35 and Luke 19.41)

One of these passages is the shortest verse in scripture. The other is a powerful account of the compassion of our God and Savior for the city of Jerusalem. I find these verses to be profound in their expression of the depth of passion of God for God’s creation.

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In these two recollections, by the authors of the Gospels, years after the life and ministry of Jesus, it is significant to me that they remembered that Jesus publically wept over the state of affairs of both individuals and of the community at large. There were incidences in the life of Christ that moved him to a significant display of emotion.

The account of John is well familiar to us. Jesus wept at the tomb of his good friend Lazarus. Death moved Jesus to tears. The one who is very God of very God was moved to grieve the suffering and the death of his friend. God is a God who suffers with us.

The second account, reported by Luke, occurs immediately after the Triumphal Entry. Jesus surveys the city and weeps over the spiritual depravity found there. The city could not conceive of the peace God offered them by God’s presence and God’s salvation. Jerusalem, particularly its religious leaders, would not accept the salvation God was offering and would not live into the in breaking Kingdom of God.

God is clearly moved by the plight of the people of the world, their lack of peace, and their rejection of God’s salvation.

I stood by this statue just outside of the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial in downtown Oklahoma City this spring. I considered the emotion, the tragedy, and the loss experienced that horrific April day. There is no doubt that Jesus wept over the loss of life, the hatred expressed, and the agony of the City that day.

I further pondered, I wonder what is going on in the  world today, that causes Jesus to weep. What situations are going on in the world, in OUR world, that move God to express the raw pain of grief, to shed the tears of hurt, of abandonment, of loneliness, of suffering. Where might we find Jesus weeping today?

Then I wonder, if those same things that move our God to physically manifest God’s grief and passion move us to tears as well? I wonder if we, who call ourselves followers of Jesus Christ grieve the things that Jesus grieves, or if we have become so calloused to the plight of others, so soothed by our comfort and our peace, that we don’t even notice the pain of the world around us.

I wonder if Jesus looks at his church and weeps over our lack of concern for others, for the lost, for the broken, for the hurting, for the poor, for the oppressed.

I wonder where I should be weeping… if I really did find the heart of God in me…

Anyway, just my thoughts today.

 

Back Pain and other Teachable Moments

As I write this post this morning, I have been living, the past five days with lower back
pain. On one hand, it is a constant reminder that I am on the downhill side of 50. Nothing works the way that it used to. You see, I was helping a friend put up his store of firewood and I did something. Immediately, I knew that I had done something I shouldn’t. I felt the pain in my lower back.

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As the day went on, the pain and the stiffness grew more intense. Sunday morning, I could barely get out of bed and dress myself. Tuesday, I visited the chiropractor for the first time (Boy! am I glad that God has gifted people with His healing touch!). Yet today, I still have the pain that comes from being out of adjustment. My movements are slower, more deliberate, and I avoid certain actions and ranges of motion.

While the condition, with rest, with treatment, and with a GREAT deal of prayer is improving, the injury often reminds me that it is there! This morning, as I was lamenting the pain and limited mobility, the Holy Spirit reminded me that Paul prayed three times for his “pain in the flesh” to be removed from him. Yet, God didn’t seem, as far as we know, to answer that prayer as Paul wished. Paul acknowledges repeatedly that in our weakness, God’s power and God’s grace are made known.

Today, because I have a pain in my back, I am reminded of my desperate need to live in, to experience, and to know the power of the grace of God at work in my life. It is all too easy for me to live as if my life depends on me, on my strength, on my abilities, and on my wisdom. Such living dooms me to live beneath the potential we all have in the love and the grace of God.

Paul, the same Paul of the persistent thorn-in-the-flesh fame reminds us that we can do all things through Christ Jesus our Lord. When we live life in step with the Holy Spirit, God forms us in paths of God’s choosing. God provides for us the same Holy Spirit that is in Christ Jesus. We can be more than overcomers, if we learn to depend upon, to obey the leading of, and rely on the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us.

This is not at easy lesson to learn. It means that we have to learn and practice daily surrender. It means that we have to lay aside the things that lead us away from God. It means that we must continually cultivate that deep inner relationship with God, so that we recognize His leading, and we can hear his voice.

Anyway, those are just my pained pondering today…