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Thursday, October 3, 2013
The iconic smokestacks at the old Hershey Chocolate factory.
We saw these during Ester's doctor's visit Tuesday.
(I hope the presence of a crane doesn't mean they're taking them down!)
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"Jesus wept" (John 11:35)
When grief has left you low it causes tears to flow
When things have not turned out the way that you had planned
But God won't forget you His promises are true
And tears are a language God understands.
The last two days we have been sharing messages about death and plan to share two more on this topic. But I had a compulsion yesterday after sending out the message that it might have come across overly theological or clinical, although I stand by the basic emphasis. Though we may not understand why death comes unexpectedly to some and not to others we must be careful not to judge. We ourselves need to be in good standing with God by repenting of our sins.
But on my heart are those going through grief due to a recent death. They may not desire a theological perspective but just a reminder that Jesus cares. Just yesterday we read of a deadly church bus crash in Tennessee. Deaths of famous persons or those killed in catastrophic events are headliners everyday in the news. But most deaths don't make the national news. We think of Jerry, a local friend of ours, who died of cancer in early July who often encouraged us regarding this ministry. Or Ilene, a friend in Missouri whom we met through Daily Encouragement, and visited this past July died a few weeks later.
The setting is in John 11, the death of our Lord's friend Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary. Verse 5 states that "Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus."
Why did Jesus weep?
1) The immediate context of the verse is that Jesus was deeply moved when he saw Mary and other friends weeping when they reported the death to Him. Weeping can be contagious. I know I sometimes weep when I see other people weeping. Our pastor has a tender heart and periodically weeps when a certain point touches him. It's a quality of genuine emotion that I appreciate in a pastor. Earlier this summer we were visiting a church where the pastor was dealing with a very difficult subject and broke down in tears at the gravity of the matter.
2) Some have asserted that Jesus wept because He saw a lack of faith from those who were weeping. I do not hold this view.
3) Jesus wept because He loved Lazarus and his sisters. That point is specifically made (v.5). He is demonstrating grief, a normal and healthy human emotion. Jesus expressed grief when he received notice that John the Baptist had been slain. "Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself" (Matthew 14:13). The Scripture doesn't provide any more detail, but those words "withdrew" and "secluded place" speak volumes.
Bible teacher John MacArthur comments, "Like the others, Jesus wept. But the Greek verb is not klaio as in verse 33, but dakruo, a rare word used only here in the New Testament. In contrast to the loud wailing implied by klaio, dakruo has the connotation of silently bursting into tears, unlike the typical funeral mourners. Jesus’ tears were generated both by His love for Lazarus, and by His grief over the deadly and incessant effects of sin in a fallen world. Verse 35, though it is the shortest verse in the Bible, is rich with meaning. It emphasizes Jesus’ humanity; He was truly “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). But while the Jews were correct in seeing Jesus’ sorrow as evidence that He loved Lazarus, they were wrong to think that His tears reflected the same hopeless despair that they felt."
God sees the tears of a brokenhearted soul
He sees your tears and hears them when they fall
God weeps along with man and takes him by the hand
Tears are a language God understands.
However death may come; after a long lifespan, by accident or disease or due to violence or even persecution we can be sure that God loves us through it and for those prepared to meet God death is but a transition to life everlasting.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we thank You for the person of Jesus who showed us how to live a life set apart for You and all the while endured loss, pain, temptation, and other emotions common to mankind. When Jesus wept upon hearing of Lazarus' death He showed His humanity in a way that all of us who've suffered loss can relate. He wept with those who wept and rejoiced with those who rejoiced. We too have opportunity to share in the grief of others as we remind them that they are not alone but have our prayerful and loving support as they endure their loss. Help us to reach out and extend ourselves to those in need. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Yesterday we visited a new gallery near Bird In Hand, PA. I suppose I was especially interested because it is housed in a former mill with some of the original mill equipment still on display in the gallery making it a very interesting place to visit. Today we show some views from the outside.
John Stevens, a watercolor artist and his wife converted Nolts Flour Mill into a very attractive art gallery. The former flour mill was built in 1770.
We have passed this old mill for many years and I always wonder how they got the trailer on top of the silos!
Windows adorned with flowers.
Another use for old barrels
An old cart filled with flowers
John Stevens Gallery is located along Rt 340 between Smoketown and Bird-In Hand.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
John Piper's devotional on John 11:35 makes four interesting points as to why Jesus wept.
"Why Did Jesus Weep?" John MacArthur
The following musical selections are Christian songs on death.
"Tears Are A Language God Understands" Video Amy Lambert (Song quoted in today's message)
"My Jesus I Love Thee" Video Selah
"He's Walking Her Home" Video Mark Schultz
"Homesick" Video MercyMe
"Save A Place For Me" Video Matthew West A powerful perspective
"Heaven's Song" Video Phil Wickham
Death Is Gain "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Video
"To Live Is Christ" Video
"To Live is For Christ to Die Is Gain" Video Incredibly moving video
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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