Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Saddest Verse in the Bible

Last Saturday I was honored to serve coffee and refreshments to the Women's Ministry here at the First Berean Congregational Church at their annual celebration of motherhood, expectant motherhood, grand-motherhood, great-grand-motherhood, and "otherhood". As the brunch got underway, introductions were made and many of the women stood and shared their favorite bible verse. 

I never thought of having a favorite bible verse, one that I could call my very own, one that would give me comfort and guidance whenever I recalled it. Immediately one leapt to mind and I rejected it because it was too easy, so I continued to ponder but that one verse kept coming back to mind relentlessly. So I pondered that verse, and studied that verse, and prayed over that verse, and slowly the reason why the Holy Spirit brought me that verse dawned on me, and soon I realized it was the saddest verse I know, yet at the same time it's most wonderful verse in the bible. 

So let me drag this out and preface this properly. I'll start with a question - Does God love us? Yes! He really does! He made us for reasons we can barely fathom yet we pitiful little creatures give him pleasure just by loving him back:
For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation. (Psalm 149:4)
I could go on and on, but to be honest it would be easier for me to let CH Spurgeon go on and on for me instead: 
How comprehensive is the love of Jesus! There is no part of his people’s interests which he does not consider, and there is nothing which concerns their welfare which is not important to him. Not merely does he think of you, believer, as an immortal being, but as a mortal being too. Do not deny it or doubt it: “The very hairs of your head are all numbered.” “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.” It were a sad thing for us if this mantle of love did not cover all our concerns, for what mischief might be wrought to us in that part of our business which did not come under our gracious Lord’s inspection!
Believer, rest assured that the heart of Jesus cares about your meaner affairs. The breadth of his tender love is such that you may resort to him in all matters; for in all your afflictions he is afflicted, and like as a father pitieth his children, so doth he pity you. The meanest interests of all his saints are all borne upon the broad bosom of the Son of God.
Oh, what a heart is his, that doth not merely comprehend the persons of his people, but comprehends also the diverse and innumerable concerns of all those persons! Dost thou think, O Christian, that thou canst measure the love of Christ? Think of what his love has brought thee–justification, adoption, sanctification, eternal life! The riches of his goodness are unsearchable; thou shalt never be able to tell them out or even conceive them. Oh, the breadth of the love of Christ!
 — Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Evening reading, April 29th.
Back to my verse: Jesus had particular three friends - Lazarus of Bethany and his sisters, Mary and Martha. Lazarus fell ill and and his sisters sent a messenger to tell Jesus that Lazarus wasn't expected to live. The gospel of John tells us that Jesus was out of town that day, "He went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was first baptizing, and He was staying there" (John 10:40) That's about a days hike from Bethany. 

When hearing of Lazarus' illness Jesus remained where He was for two more days before returning to Bethany, and upon His return He was told that Lazarus had died 4 days prior. So count up the time - a day for the messenger to reach Jesus, He spent two days beyond the Jordan, then a day to return to Bethany - That's four days, so Lazarus was dead a full day before Jesus was told he was ill. 

Jesus spent two days beyond the Jordan, probably doing what He did best - preaching, teaching and healing, then hiked a day back knowing all this time that Lazarus, a friend he loved dearly, was dead and of course He knew He could raise Lazarus (John 11:11). When Jesus finally arrived in Bethany He and Martha said some very very important things:
23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?27 She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.” (John 11:23-27)
This is Important Stuff - this is the Gospel in it's glory. Verse 25 Jesus calls himself I AM, the very name of God. He tells us that if you believe in Him you will have ever lasting life, even if your body dies, you will live on. And Martha's declaration in verse 27 actually goes beyond Peters confession of faith (Matthew 16:16) because she calls Jesus both the son of God and the messiah, as did Peter did, but she calls Jesus the messiah twice - "The Christ" means "anointed one", a term used for the messiah, and "He who comes into the world" or "The Coming One" is the Official Title of the Messiah. What she said was "You're the one chosen to be the Messiah, you are the Son of God, and you truly are the Messiah" No declaration of Christ's divinity could possibly be clearer.

But none of those is the verse that the Holy Spirit gave me.

Shortly Mary was told Jesus was there and she threw herself at Jesus feet weeping, Mary was the woman who anointed Jesus with ointment and washed His feet with her hair. Jesus looked around and saw the crowd in tears and it affected him. Here His friend lay dead and His other friends in tears. Even though He knew that He would be talking to Lazarus again very shortly, Jesus was overcome by the pain his friends and followers were in. This is the verse the Holy Spirit gave me:
Jesus wept. (John 11:35)
The Lord and Master of All, the Creator of the Universe, the Ultimate Deity, yet with all that power and glory He was weeping because His friends were in pain. Jesus knew that He would soon raise Lazarus, Jesus knew that He Himself would soon face pain and death at our hands for our sins, Jesus knew that He would soon raise glorified from the dead, yet He wept because we were sad.

If our sorrow can cause El Olam the Ancient of Days, El Shaddai Lord God Almighty, El Elyon The Most High God weep, just imagine how our joy can make Him feel! Imagine His misery when we rebel against him, then imagine His ecstatic joy when we realize we are lost without Him and turn to Him for His love and guidance.

He loves us, He really does. And to me nothing in the bible shows the Humanity of Jesus or the love he has for us better than those two words; Jesus wept.

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