Thursday in the Twentieth Week of Ordinary Time

John 11:28-44

Jesus Is Greatly Troubled – By Our Lack of Faith

The account of the raising of Lazarus hastens to its climax.  Martha runs and tells her sister, Mary, that “the Teacher is here and is calling for you.”  Mary runs to Jesus and, falling at his feet, repeats the words of her sister, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  The crowd which had followed her to Jesus joins the crowd that was already there in lifting up their voices in loud lamentation.  At this point, the Bible says that Jesus “was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.”  Then he says, “Where have you laid him?”  They begin to lead him to that place.  Then comes what some say is the shortest verse in the Bible: “Jesus wept.”  Seeing this, the people around him were moved, saying, “See how much he loved him!”  But there are others who say, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”  And just after this, we read that Jesus was “deeply moved again.”

I am going to state my opinion of what Jesus is “deeply moved” about, which happens to be a minority report.  I certainly agree with those who claim that Jesus is deeply moved whenever he sees human suffering and sorrow.  Jesus is deeply moved when he sees others weeping over the loss of loved ones.  Jesus hates death and came to destroy death and take away the keys from the one who held us in death’s clutches (Hebrews 2:14; Revelation 1:18).  But the passage makes clear that Jesus knew exactly what he was going to do even before he got there.  He has now twice been tacitly blamed by the grieving sisters for their brother’s death.  He told Martha, “Your brother will rise again,” but Martha did not understand what Jesus was telling her.  And now the crowd is wondering aloud if he could have kept Lazarus from dying – implying that he can do nothing about it now.

It has always been my sincere belief that Jesus is deeply moved and troubled in spirit because the crowd, including Martha and Mary, still did not really believe in him.  Martha could even call him “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” but when Jesus commanded, “Take away the stone,” she objected, “He has been dead for four days.”  In other words, “He’s done died dead!  And there’ll be an odor.  What are you thinking?”  And then Jesus speaks those majestic words, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”  Then after praying, Jesus thanks the Father out loud, so that after the miracle, the people would know that the Father had really sent him.  Jesus calls Lazarus forth, and Satan loses his grip.  Jesus demands more than lip service; he demands resurrection-style faith.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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