15 December 2017


“Jesus wept.” John 11:35

Lord Jesus, we all know this verse answers the question, “What’s the shortest verse in the Bible?” But it’s also a candidate for the most profound and comforting verse in the Bible. Your aching and compassionate tears, shed outside of Lazarus’ tomb, are one of the greatest showers that has ever fallen upon the face of the earth.

You knew that within a matter of moments, your friend would breathe again. You knew he’d walk out of his tomb, to the amazement of his family and friends. His grave clothes would come off. You knew you’d get to enjoy his company again. And yet, you wept convulsively in the presence of his death. It was well said by those honoured to see your sacred fury and tangible grief, “See how he loved him!” (John 11:36).

Jesus, we are profoundly grateful that, through the gospel of your grace, we have come to know you as tenderhearted Saviour. Because many of us have recently felt the tearing and searing pain of separation by death. Some of us have buried family members and neighbours younger than ourselves. Some of us will grab a handle on a friend’s casket this week. Some of us are facing imminent deaths of loved ones. Many of us are walking with friends who awake today with gaping holes in their hearts—fresh caverns created by hard goodbyes. Understandably, some of us cry with Mary, “Lord, if only you’d been here…” (John 11:32).

But, Lord Jesus, we know that no one hates death more than you. No one. Perhaps some of your tears outside of Lazarus’ tomb were offered knowing your friend would have to go through the whole death process again—such is your hatred of death. No one feels its horrid implications more profoundly than you. No one grieves its ugly violation more deeply. And no one is more excited about the day of “no more death” than you are (Rev. 21:4). Hasten that Day. Quicken it. Bring it on, O, gracious Lord and Saviour.

Today we rest our sobered yet peaceful hearts on your shoulder. We extol you as “the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25). Jesus, your death on the cross secured the death of death itself—the last enemy to be defeated and destroyed (1 Cor. 15:26). Because of your resurrection, we sing in advance of our resurrection, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:55). How we praise you! How we exalt you! We rest our hurting hearts in your loving hands. So very Amen we pray, in the glory of your grave-robbing name.

Scotty Smith ‘The Gospel Coalition’ www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/scottysmith