Memory Work’s Dream Verse

As a child I had to memorize many things – Luther’s Small Catechism, a tons of Bible verses and the spelling of strange words like knife and chief.  In second grade I once had a choice on which verses I could memorize and so I followed a sinful pattern that I still struggle with — looking for the easy way out.  For me at that time the verse that represented the easy way out was John 11:35.  How easy a way out was it?  It is the shortest verse in the Bible, “Jesus wept.”  That’s how that verse served my interests at that time.  How little did I know that this verse could say so much in just two words.

How could God be touched but such emotion?  As a parent, many years after my first contact with this verse, I can see how children can reach some of the most protected parts of my soul.  God who created us calls us His children.  This is the God who created all things, the same God who gave us this creation as a gift.  God gave us good work to do: tend the garden, eat of the fruit, and rule over the other creatures.   That is good work.  God even created us in relationship with God.  Could we dare to ask for more?  God put everything into this relationship – but we wanted more, self-determination.  We threw off the one rule God gave us and threw out all those gifts in the process.

Would God have cried at our response?  Would it have pained the heart of God to see in that one instance of rebellion the millions of generations who would follow that would now live outside of God’s free gift?  Does sin make God cry?  It certainly inspires in God the emotion of anger, jealousy and love.  His love was the motivation to send His Son for our sake, Jesus Christ, who entered that world of sin for our sake.

Here in this verse we see Jesus’ reaction to sin.  It was sin that brought about the death of Lazarus.  Death is the ultimate price of sin and one that leads to separation from God if that death is without God.  “Jesus wept” gives us a window into God’s soul, Jesus weeps because separation from God was our choice, a rejection of His gifts resulting in pain, suffering and ultimately death.  Jesus’ acted on that sadness by resurrecting Lazarus to life even while Jesus was on the way to the cross to die. 

Jesus said of His victory over this separation of sin, “I am the resurrection and the life.”  That is the gift given through just two little words.   I first came into contact with them when I tried the easy way out of memory work.  They were not the easy way out for Jesus, they point to the hurt of sin that Jesus overcame by death, his death on the cross for us.


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