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"Thought for the Week" ​by Jim Horan (Rock Springs S.D.A)

"Jesus Wept"

August 14, 2016

Hello All,
This week’s lesson from the “Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide”, is titled “Jesus Showed Sympathy”.  The great motivation of the Godhead that led the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit to sacrifice all for the redemption of mankind. Jesus epitomized all heaven and the Godhead’s motivation of other-centered love for us when “He saw the multitudes (and) He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered like sheep having no shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). This is the great motivation of heaven toward us sinners… and is to be our motivation to others. Their good, their redemption at any cost to ourselves. 
Are we moved with compassion when we see the grossness of sin in the lives of others? Or are we moved with pride that we are not like other sinners? Does our sympathy lead us to action on their behalf? Or is our sympathy just a word as we reject the injunction to “not hide yourself from your own flesh” (Isaiah 58:7)? Because every gross sin done by man, every debased thought that ever coursed through the brain of any man since the beginning of sin until now, is but your sin… is but my sin. There is no difference but in degree. In fact, if we claim to be better than the rapist, the murderer, and the lecherous we have added another sin to the list. Pride. “The drunkard is despised and is told that his sin will exclude him from heaven; while pride, selfishness, and covetousness too often go unrebuked. But these are sins that are especially offensive to God; for they are contrary to the benevolence of His character, to that unselfish love which is the very atmosphere of the unfallen universe. He who falls into some of the grosser sins may feel a sense of his shame and poverty and his need of the grace of Christ; but pride feels no need, and so it closes the heart against Christ and the infinite blessings He came to give”(Steps to Christ pg. 30).   When we see the utter lost-ness of mankind around us we should hang our head in shame. For it is our sinful nature but manifest, too. And it should lead us in sympathy to help lead the lost to desire the Shepherd that seeks them.
“Jesus wept” (John 11:35). There are three such recorded instances. The most familiar is the short verse just quoted. We sometimes assume that Christ’s sympathy is like ours… that His tears are like ours, too. But as His love is so much different than our love, so His weeping is so much different than our weeping. When we see Christ weeping at Lazarus’ tomb, we wrongly assume, like the Israelites present, “See how He loved Him” (John11:36). But His tears were a demonstration of something much deeper than the death of a loved-one. “His heart was pierced with the pain of the human family of all ages and in all lands” (Desire of Ages pg. 534, quoted in pg. 68 of the quarterly). But also something more... much more. Prior to those tears and immediately after those tears, Christ was moved with indignation (John 11: 33, 38). Indignation at the tomb… amidst hearts torn by grief? Yes! Assuredly!
Here are those who are in the very presence of the One who is “the Resurrection and the Life” (John 11: 25), and they know Him not. Especially those who should know. Christ’s prayer shows the reason for the tears and the indignation... they know not the Father nor Him whom the Father sent (see John 11:41-42). Christ’s tears of indignation are not for Lazarus (he is safely resting in the tomb). They are for those who will not believe… and for the Father whom they will not know. Tears for the lost who will not believe and will not come home. And tears for the Father whose children reject Him.
The second instance recorded is when Jesus wept during the triumphal entry into Jerusalem A time of rejoicing for the people… a time of weeping for the Messiah. Again, because the people knew not Him who was their Savior (see Luke 19:41-44).
The third time He wept is implied by the “woes” of great sorrow pronounced against the Pharisees (see Matthew 23). The pathos in Christ’s voice is seen in verse 37. And EGW testifies of this in Desire of Ages. “Divine pity marked the countenance of the Son of God as He cast one lingering look upon the temple and then upon His hearers. In a voice choked by deep anguish of heart and bitter tears He exclaimed, ‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!’ This is the separation struggle. In the lamentation of Christ the very heart of God is pouring itself forth. It is the mysterious farewell of the long-suffering love of the Deity” (pg. 620). Again, tears for the lost who will not believe and will not come home. And tears for the Father whose children reject Him.
Which leads us to see the tears of God yet shed… the fourth time. It will be at the time of final rejection. When His children finally reject Him…at the end. Do you have a God who rejoices at the final death of the wicked? No such God is depicted in Holy Writ; who delights in the destruction of the wicked. The God depicted (like Christ) will weep when the wicked finally reject Him. In imagination, we can hear the wails of the Godhead over those who want none of Him. Their perishing is not punishment at the hands of an angry God. Their perishing is but the natural consequence of rejecting Him who alone is life.
Christ’s tears of sorrow and sympathy are tears of great loss and Divine indignation that we, His children (made in His image) would reject Him who is life, reject our Father and our heritage, and choose death. Do we, His family, have such sympathy? Are we jealous for God’s reputation amongst His family? Are we broken-hearted over the loss of our brothers and sisters? Let us pray that God will do whatever it takes for each of us. To create in us hearts that will sympathize as He sympathizes, to weep as He weeps… to love as He loves. To be those whose love and sympathy leads to action and great sacrifice for the good of our lost brothers and sisters.
With brotherly love,
Jim


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