Ponder and Pray: John 11, 14

Jesus wept.

These words form the shortest verse in the Bible (John 11:35), and yet they carry a weight of emotion we may never fully understand. They are an incredible picture of our Jesus as fully God and fully man. As God, He was the creator of emotions and sinless when experiencing them Himself. As a man, He wrestled with every emotion we will ever encounter.

John tells us (11:33, 38) that Jesus was “deeply moved” when He saw His friends weeping over the death of Lazarus. In our English translations of the Bible, this phrase is rather weak. In the original Greek, the word embrimáomai is used to describe Jesus’ emotional state and means to snort like an angry horse, to be roused to anger, displeasure, indignation, or antagonism. Death was not God’s plan for His people, but sin, when it first enticed Adam and Eve away from His perfect plan, brought death for humankind.

  • In the account of Lazarus’ death and resurrection, what did you see maybe for the first time about the character of Jesus?
  • How does this characteristic encourage or challenge you as you respond to your own emotions or those of others?

The story of the death and resurrection of Lazarus is packed with so much more, and Jamie Harms beautifully reviewed it in Monday’s podcast, encouraging us to consider Jesus’ example when we walk through sorrow with our friends.

In John 14, our other chapter for this week, Jesus again enters into the emotions of His friends. He tells them in verse 1, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.” In light of what Jesus had just told them in chapter 13, this seemed a little hard to embrace. One of them would betray Him (13:21-30). Peter would deny ever knowing Him (13:36-38). And worst of all, the culmination of it all would be the death of the Son of God, and yet, they weren’t supposed to get stirred up or live in fear (14:27). He completely understood what it felt like to be “greatly troubled” (11:33), and He gave them encouragement for the dark hours ahead. He would not abandon them, for nothing they had done or would do could separate them from Him and His love.

  • Who did Jesus promise would be sent to be with His followers (vs. 16-17)?
  • How is this gift even greater than having Jesus face-to-face?
  • How does this gift help me live my life each day?

Dear Friends: We are walking through two chapters of John — 88 verses — that are packed with content. We’ve focused on emotions — those of Jesus and of the people around Him — and how we can respond when we, too, face a variety of emotions, including grief and fear. But this barely touches the depth of these chapters. In chapter 11, Jesus declares He is the Resurrection and the Life. In chapter 14, He says He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He promises the coming of the Holy Spirit, which up to that point was only a temporary gift in specific people. Jesus gives the commandment to love one another, an action that will set them apart from the world and name them as His disciples. We don’t want you to miss anything, so we hope you’ll take time to read these chapters again, listen to them read, and meditate on what God is telling you about Himself and about who you are in Him. Remember, this exercise will be purely academic unless you interlace it with a conversation with our God, so for today, we’re not providing a pre-written prayer. We want to encourage you to talk to Him on your own about what you’re learning about Him, to ask Him questions, to confess your sin, and to respond in submission to His will and way.

Jaime Sherman