By Brooke Holt
“Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus wept.” John 11:32-35
How can Jesus have full knowledge and understanding alongside deep emotion? After Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus about Lazarus’ illness, Jesus remained where he was for two days. Only after Lazarus died did Jesus head to Bethany where he was confronted by his distraught friend, Mary. She knew that Jesus could have prevented Lazarus’ death, and her grief moves Jesus deeply, even though he knows the plans for Lazarus. Jesus’ perfect knowledge does not negate feelings.
As Mary and those who loved Lazarus wept, Jesus also wept with them. He did not shield himself from the grief surrounding him. Even knowing that he would call Lazarus from the grave that very day, Jesus remained present in the grief. He suffered with them and for them.
Jesus is present with you in your grief and hardship as well. He suffers with you and for you even while he sees the bigger picture and knows how your loss and pain will be used for good. His divine understanding does not override his compassionate presence with you.
Quite often, I have heard well-meaning Christian friends say God has a plan, God will work all things for good, and that “this too will pass”. I know and believe the truth of all those words. Nevertheless, they do not minister to me in my suffering. What ministers to me is compassionate presence and people who will listen to understand - people who will cry with me and for me. These actions convey love, sympathy, and commitment.
Jesus offers you each of these. He does know the plan; he knows how he can redeem the pain and loss; he even knows that the pain will change and ease with time. However, he also knows the pain of this world is real. Jesus is always willing to be a compassionate presence in your pain. He weeps for you because you are his beloved child.
How does Jesus want to be present with you today? Do you know that he weeps with you and for you? How can that knowledge minister to you? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Could you use some hope right now? Join Peter’s first audience—“elect exiles” undergoing persecution—and experience the apostle’s powerful call to follow Jesus in the midst of life’s challenges, knowing your Living Hope is not a distant one, but a daily, glorious, life-giving reality! This unique six-week small group Bible study, A Living Hope: A Study of 1 Peter, helps you uncover the priceless promises written specifically to the struggling and the hurting, with pastoral gentleness and bold confidence for the future. This study of 1 Peter will help you become utterly convinced that Jesus is the only sure, true, incorruptible, and permanent hope for you.
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