Women's Devo | April 2021

Jesus Wept

The shortest verse in the Bible and yet one of my all-time favorites, “Jesus Wept.” John 11:35 NKJV
True story:  As a young child growing up in church, my children’s church teacher, Sister Knight, would give us students a memory verse to learn and recite before the entire congregation. My mother’s due diligence prepared me to recite with ease: book, chapter, and verse. Yet without fail, as we lined up in front of the church and all eyes were on us, fear would strike my heart and I would resort to that ole familiar passage, “Jesus Wept.” No lie, I quoted it every single time throughout my years while in her class. Little did I understand that this small verse would take on such an enormous significance while passing through a very dark season of my life. Stricken with a physical affliction and being bound to a recliner for over a year, in unrelenting pain and exhausted from little sleep, the Lord came to me in the night and whispered, “I Know.” The pain was still there, however, there was such peace and comfort in knowing that someone could identify with my suffering.

Jesus Christ:  fully God and yet fully man. While on earth, Jesus suffered at the hands of cruel men. He wore physical blows upon His person, and He also felt the cold brush of betrayal from those who called themselves His friend. Jesus experienced hunger, thirst, isolation, rejection, the heat of the day and cold nights just to name a few. The Son of Man came not only to save us but to identify with our griefs and bear our sorrows. Being tempted in every point to draw us back or away in unbelief, Christ resisted, and for us, He has overcome them all.

In John chapter 11, Jesus gets word that His friend Lazarus, whom He loved, was deathly ill.  Knowing this, Jesus chooses to delay two more days. When He and the disciples arrive at Bethany, the village of Martha and Mary (sisters of Lazarus), Lazarus has been dead now for four days. This was significant because according to the Jewish custom, by the fourth day, the spirit has now departed from the body. In their hearts and mind, it was over. Jesus had come too late.

 Jesus’ spirit is troubled because He knew that His friends, Martha and Mary, had not yet fully recognized Him as He had declared to them in verse 25: “I AM the Resurrection and the Life.” When Jesus is led to the graveside of Lazarus, He finds them all weeping. Christ personally identifies with His creation. Verse 35 reads, “Jesus Wept.”  The Son of Man weeps in sympathy with His friends over the loss of their dear brother, Lazarus. Scripture does not mention that these two sisters had living husbands. Perhaps, the loss of Lazarus was not only an emotional one but a financial blow as well. If this was the case, as women in biblical times, I feel sure they were sorely afraid for the future. Possibly, someone reading this today,  can relate from a sudden tragedy and the uncertainties of the future looming overhead.

In John chapter 11, Jesus comforts us with these words, that if we will believe in Him, though we suffer finality, a physical death, or some undeniable loss we cannot regain, this is not the END. And, if we are made to remain in these mortal bodies until that Day, He promises, this is only temporary. There is something better waiting for you and me. Jesus’ delay to come heal Lazarus was for a greater purpose (revelation). He was telling His friends, do not look to an event nor to the conditions as they do “appear”, but look unto Jesus who IS Resurrection and Life. Though the conditions are dead and impossible with man to restore, NOTHING shall be impossible with GOD.

 “A Man of sorrows, acquainted with our grief.” Isaiah 53:3 NKJV

 Jesus, the Son of Man, is acquainted with the myriad of emotions that arise, as a result from hardship or affliction. Pain and loss consist of many layers and stages; thank God that Jesus has given His grace and strength sufficient to face every part of the process. Hebrews 4:15 NKJV tells us that “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses...” Meaning, Jesus sympathizes with the feeling or emotions that accompany our condition or circumstance; the spotless Lamb of God has borne our transgressions and infirmities and by Himself purged our sins, overcoming every temptation on the Cross.  No matter what we face in this life, God is with us and He is for us. And for the Believer, we have this promise: eternal rest and a grand, glorious reunion day with Christ Jesus and those that have gone before us! Be of good courage; it is not over until God says it is over!

Elaine Smith is a third-generation Pentecostal believer, born and raised in Savannah, Georgia. She worked as a purchasing manager for a commercial printer before going into full-time ministry with her husband, Reverend Michael A Smith. They pastored Liberty Street Church of God for three years before moving to New Beginning Church of God in Lyons, Georgia where they have pastored for the past twenty years. Elaine is a mother of one, Hope Smith, whom she bore at age 40, nothing short of God’s miracle working power. Elaine has worked alongside her husband, filling in for him in the pulpit when he has been away on his secular job. She has served as interim Treasurer of the church and has been a children’s church pastor for over three decades. Presently, Elaine is lead coordinator for the Golden Years Senior Ministry and the Nursing Home ministry. She enjoys singing on the praise team, teaching, and writing is her passion. Her greatest desire is to lead others to Jesus, to disciple and equip them for service.

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