Truth & Tears

Dear CBC Family,

Tomorrow I am doing a funeral. A funeral is really more about the people who are there then the deceased.

There isn’t a person here today that doesn’t hate funerals. The pain of unsaid words, unforgiven actions, held onto grudges, and things we wish we could make right but now feel it is too late. Fix those issues today in the land of the living!

I hate funerals. Please don’t let that offend you as we are not the only ones who hate funerals. Jesus hates them too. That is the unmistakable conclusion from the gospel of John chapter 11.

John 11:32 “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." (Lazarus was now dead for 4 days so not only decomposing but also, according to Jewish custom, long enough for his soul to leave his body) 33 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 (Jesus sees all the weeping, and “He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.” The Greek term translated “deeply moved” literally means “to snort with anger.” Why does the Lord get angry when He sees the deep grief of Mary and the other mourners? Because death, and all the hurt and pain it brings, is the result of sin). 34 And he said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to him, "Lord, come and see." 35 Jesus wept (Literally: Jesus burst into tears with anger) . 36 So the Jews said, "See how he loved him!" 37 But some of them said, "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?"

Death had visited a little home in Bethany two miles from Jerusalem. Lazarus was dead, and the dark cloud of grief had descended upon his sisters, Martha and Mary. Their family was devastated and their hearts were broken. Much like those coming tomorrow I expect.

There are 2 responses by Jesus: truth and tears. These responses highlight the two things we need and the two things he offers us in our time of grief. In our grief we need his truth to give us hope. And in our grief we need his tears to give us comfort.

Earlier in the story 25 Jesus said to her, in V25 "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?"  She said to him, "Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world." Martha knew his titles at least, even if she did not yet fully understand the depth and breadth of power they represented. Martha knew Jesus’ titles but she needed more. Perhaps this is one way God will use our brother’s death tomorrow for good.

35 years ago, at a funeral I faced my own mortality and for the first time in my life someone I knew very well died and went into the unknown. It was there Jesus reached out to me. Thank you, Lord, for your amazing grace to a wretch like me!

This weekend we will have our last study in Romans 13 on submission to authorities. What we will address is righteous anger as opposed to sinful anger and give the criteria, if any, that allow for more than peaceful protesting. Please pray for me as I prep. It has been very difficult handling such a weighty topic of the word of God.

Blessings,

Pastor Scott