Death in the Eyes of the Truly Powerful

Death in the Eyes of the Truly Powerful

John 11:28-44


This section contains the shortest verse in the Bible, verse 35; Jesus wept. While it is the shortest, as usual it speaks volumes. We see here an image of a Holy Sovereign God with compassion on those He created who have suffered at their own hands. There is a sense in all of us that “death” is not the way it should be. We all have had a sense of eternity planted in our hearts, so that we know there is a God. Think about it! If we were just here for now, if we were just elevated animals, why would we be sad about death?  I can tell you. I haven’t seen any squirrel funerals or heard any birds weeping over their lost loved ones; they just move on.

But people cry, and Jesus, human like us, wept too. He was overcome by the sadness one feels when one loses a friend or loved one. Why is that? Did Jesus not know that in one minute Lazarus would be back? Didn’t He know what He had come to do? Of course He did; however, the sense of loss, the sense of unfairness was present in His heart. He was feeling the feelings of all human beings as a result of sin entering the world. Additionally, as God, He was feeling the loss of broken relationship. Even truly powerful people cry.

Here we have the most powerful being in the universe, weeping over a lost friend, or maybe the loss of His people’s innocence.

Jesus’ compassion shows His true power. The truly powerful are not despots. They don’t have a problem with their egos. In fact, a person who yields power with their egos at the helm, show their fear and vulnerability. They don’t really think they are powerful at all, and in fact have a driving need to keep that power for fear someone else will do to them what they will to others.

A truly powerful person loves. They have the good of others, not self, in sight. They are able to overcome the obstacles of fear and loneliness that others feel. They are driven by an ideal or greater good that perhaps most of us cannot see. They are able to overcome themselves for the good of those they love.

Of course, Jesus is the quintessential powerful person. His image of compassion with great cosmic power shows us the love of the Father. It shows us that while Jesus is no one to contend with, He is able to sympathize with all that we feel. Jesus does not want us to suffer unnecessarily; however, He knows that suffering helps us to see Him better. On the other hand, Jesus does not shrink from His own suffering on behalf of those He loves; all of us. While He is able to do great miracles, He doesn’t waste them on the unappreciative. His miracles are for those who need Him not those who don’t. Additionally, He does things not for His own glory but for that of the Godhead, shown in the rest of the story. Also, He is not put-off by the whispers in the crowd that He may not, in fact, be the powerful person He thought He was. Isn’t it always the way?….the cynics and the hecklers are always doubting, always accusing. Sounds like a few church people, huh? Well, like I said, those people don’t bother Jesus at all.

He goes to work telling someone to remove the stone from the cave. Immediately the fears of the crowd arise. Martha, not to be lax, reminds Jesus that when people are dead they start to stink. Maybe Jesus wanted to reconsider? After all, who can wash away that odor right?

You can almost see Jesus rolling His eyes, huh? Right! He wouldn’t do that…or, would He?

What He actually did was turn to her and said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see
the glory of God?” Jesus with the object lessons, all the time the object lessons! Immediately He began to pray so that others could see where the truly power came from. While He knew exactly where it was, He prayed for the crowd. Once He had done that, He called Lazarus from the grave. Notice, Lazarus didn’t say “no”! He came right out. Jesus’ last comments are classic, “Unbind him! Let him go!” So simple, so direct, so nonchalant. Jesus is the truly powerful; we should all follow His lead….

See Ya Next Time


You are free to use this study on your website or blog as long as you include the following:

Rev Dr. Cheryl A Durham, Biblical Counselor, Discipleship Coach, Above and Beyond Discipleship Ministries, provides services for individuals and groups online and via teleconference.




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