That’s the shortest verse in the Bible. And the only place in the Bible that it’s recorded that Jesus cried. Why? What was up? The verse is only a couple syllables long, but I believe these two words are there for us to learn from!
What’s the context of John 11:35? If you go ahead and read the other verses in John chapter 11, you’ll realize that Jesus was crying because His friend Lazarus had died. Lazarus had been sick; Jesus didn’t go to him right away; and Lazarus died.
You know what John 11:35 tells me? Jesus was human. Gayle Erwin’s book The Jesus Style explains this so clearly. Jesus was human – and understanding that can be revolutionary! (If you haven’t read The Jesus Style yet, go do it.) Jesus was 100% man, and 100% God. If you can’t fully comprehend that, that’s okay. Neither can I. It’s like trying to wrap your mind around the concept of infinity. But just because I don’t fully understand something, it doesn’t mean I can’t believe in it with all my heart!
“Jesus wept.” Jesus felt sorrow, he felt pain. He understands my emotions!!! And it’s okay to cry. (In class in School of Discipleship one morning, we were discussing if it was okay for guys to cry. That’s a controversial topic so I won’t get into it, but we came to the conclusion that is IS okay for guys to cry. John 11:35 tells us that Jesus did!) But one point that was brought up about this verse – Jesus didn’t remain in His sorrow. He wept, and then He moved on. He was sorrowful, and then He did something about it! Jesus was sad that Lazarus had died – and then He raised him from the dead.
So, emotions are okay. Just don’t let them rule you. Feelings come and go, but facts are what you can depend on. That sounds awfully pragmatic…but it’s true. Relying on the truth – on what God says – is so much better than relying on what I feel.
And when we feel sorrowful, that’s okay.
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)
“There is a time for everything… a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1,4)
But don’t dwell in that sorrow, move on, learn from it, and do something about it. Cause that’s what Jesus did.
When I first started reading Touching Godliness, it was kind of hard for me to grasp, and sounded like it might be kind of boring. But as I read I started to see that submission is an important thing in our life, and I started to understand it better. It pleases our Father in heaven when we submit, not only to Him but also to those He places over us. Whenever there is someone over us, God always has that person there for our own good.
I learned that submission and obedience are two very different things. I can be obedient outwardly in my actions, but my heart can be rebelling and complaining. Where submission is doing the right thing outwardly, AND is also having the right attitude in your heart.
Of course, we won’t magically be submissive all of a sudden. It takes time. But fortunately we have Jesus to help us live it out and learn it. 🙂
“It is through our continual choosing of the way of the cross and the work
of the Holy Spirit that we are transformed to the nature of Jesus.” – K.P. Yohannan
I really like this quote because it shows us that it is totally God making us more like Jesus. We cannot do anything on our own. But we can make the choice, with His strength, to die to ourselves daily and ask Him to work in us and make us more like Himself. And one of the ways He chooses to do so is through submission. So let’s ask Him to show us ways we can start learning it and living it out!
As God has been unveiling a tiny piece of the beauty and magnificence surrounding such an intangible concept, I sit awe-struck in the stands. It’s so incomprehensible that all of humanity can’t wrap their minuscule brains around it. It’s so beautiful. So totally unexpected in the story of mankind throughout history. It’s so beyond us, far above anything we could have ever come up with.
I mean, really, would you have come up with the concept of ‘grace?’ Treat un-respectable people with respect. Treat unloving people with love. Treat anti-God people with the gift of God. Our whole flesh nature cries out for justice, for fairness, for consequences and rewards. At least most of us can understand the concept of sin and the separation of unholy beings from a Holy God. That makes logical sense — if we are willing to admit it.
But Grace? It’s a twist in the entire plot. It’s a fourth dimension exploding our three-dimension world.
Stooping down to lift us up out of our sinful humanity, our utter depravity, our desperate rebellion. Releasing us from our sin, by taking our place so we would have the option to never pay the PENALTY. Forever.
That astounding mercy is great enough. But Grace doesn’t stop.
Letting us out of our dungeon. Forever. To be free from the PROBLEM of sin and live in HIS FREEDOM.
Wow. And Grace keeps going.
Welcoming our filthy existence daily into HIS PRESENCE.
BAM! Even if I could possibly comprehend the cross, I would never imagine in a million years that He would ever want to see us again. Saving from sin, maybe, but saving us to Himself? I mean, really? Daily put up with us?
Not only that, but ADOPTING us as HIS CHILDREN. Identifying HIS holy and precious name with our dragged-in-the-mud title.
It gets better. The privilege and honor of Him COMMISSIONING us to be HIS IMAGE-BEARERS to a lost world. Flat out GIVING His precious name to US. Wow. What responsibility and trust.
And not only that, but promising to GO WITH US, to DWELL INSIDE US and be our STRENGTH, our INNER CORE, our PROTECTION, and our GRACE TO OTHERS.
We can’t even give others grace. We have to borrow His grace to give. Get that.
In class this summer, one of the girls repeated a quote from the book we’re reading through: “Love that goes upward is worship; love that goes outward is affection; love that stoops is grace.”
I attached to this quote, but something about it rubbed me wrong. And then I realized: it correctly defined what I give others as Not Grace. Hardly affection, at best. Often more bordering worship. I love in order to be loved.
The reason is because I’m not stooping. I’m on the same level as the rest of humanity. Each one of us, made in Christ’s image. Each one of us, blind and desperate without Him. I deserve nothing, so can’t demand any rights to be respected by others. The love I give others is usually barely that. Selfish love. Not grace.
Only God truly gives Grace.
And maybe that’s why it remains so pure, marvelous, and beyond my wildest dreams.
Here is a taste of how the Lord has used the books we read to change my heart over the last 7 months. Hope you enjoy them!
The Jesus Style:“Humility is simply seeing ourselves as we actually are, not higher or lower.”
The Calvary Road: “Perhaps someone annoyed me, and I was irritated. God wants me to see that it was not the thing that the person did that matters, but my reaction to it. If I had been broken, I would not have been irritated.”
Have a Mind to Suffer: “… being willing to suffer is not the same thing as suffering itself. It simply means that before God I have a desire of being willing to endure hardship, difficulty or trial for the Lord….Whoever has this mind may not in fact suffer, yet in his mind and heart he has committed himself to do so gladly for the Lord.”
Learning to Pray:“We are talking to a Father who is closer to us than our own thoughts. He is near, so near that no words can describe it.”
Before You Hit the Wall:“He [God] doesn’t want Christians to be carbon copies of each other, but unique expressions of Him.”
Touching Godliness Through Submission: “We cannot say we submit to God and at the same time, on the inside, live a life of insubordination and rebellion toward the authority God has placed over us.”