I’m continuing my look at The Gospel of John as several more verses really jumped out at me in there as I studied all the writings of John the apostle. I apologize about the long break between part one and this one. I’m going to try to find a regular posting schedule for this blog over the next week and then I’ll try to stick to that from now on.
If you missed part one of my look at John the apostle and the Gospel of John, you can check that out by CLICKING HERE.
If you’d like some worship music to listen to while you read, here’s Bethel Church doing the song Our Father. I felt the Lord in a big way when I was listening to this tonight, so I hope the song will bless you the same way it did me. CLICK HERE to listen.
Verses that jumped
The Gospel of John contains the shortest verse in the bible. It also happens to be one of the most beautiful representations of the heart of Jesus, the humanity of Jesus, and the love of Jesus.
John 11:35 Jesus wept.
It may be the most powerful two word sentence you’ll ever read. Lazarus, a friend of Jesus who Jesus loved was dead. Jesus goes and finds the sisters of Lazarus, who at this point has been dead for four days. The bible says that when Jesus saw those closest to Lazarus weeping “he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled” (John 11:33). Then he asked them to show him the tomb. And it’s then that he wept.
It takes a lot for me to wrap my head around this picture. In a way it breaks my heart, to be honest. Jesus is God, so here is God in a human body, crying. I wouldn’t dare presume to know the exact reason why this moment moved him to tears. One study guide I read said it’s because Jesus was dealing with death, which is the consequence of sin, and that he was moved to tears because of all those who will die without ever accepting Jesus as their lord and savior. Others say he was moved to tears because of the suffering Lazarus’ death had caused for his sisters. This is also ultimately the event that set into motion Jesus’ own death, which was drawing near, and some scholars believe that too played into the reason Jesus cried. What feels true to me is a combination of it all.
Whatever the reason, to me the huge thing about this is the fact that it happened at all. God is a real being. He’s not an imaginary creature in the sky who watches over us. Jesus wept. He felt emotion. He loves us truly and deeply and in the realest way. John 11:35 shows to me the emotion of my Lord, and that just makes me feel even more connected with him. He is a God who loves us, a God who came to the earth to die for us, and a God who at one time was deeply moved and greatly troubled enough to cry. What a beautiful picture that paints for us of the heart of our Lord. He’s not beyond understanding our troubles, He’s not above holding our hand through grief, He’s not some robot that doesn’t understand our emotions. He gave us our emotions! If you need to cry, then do it with the full knowledge and awareness that God’s hand is on your shoulder and that he’s been there before, he’s cried just the same as you’re crying.
Ego is a word we’re all too familiar with in American society. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that the world doesn’t revolve around you and that you’re not the hottest thing since the electric toaster. Society is built around status. Who has the most money, who’s the best looking, who’s driving the best car, who’s wearing the newest shoes, who’s got the biggest office at work. But anything that keeps us worried about the approval of man over the approval of God is a bad thing, as illustrated in this next verse.
John 12:42-43 Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.
It’s verse 43 that really drives it home, isn’t it? It was a time and a place where even after hearing the news of Jesus some people still weren’t believing. And then you’ve got some that did believe, some that were authorities, but they didn’t confess it. For they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.
Boy does this one hit home for I think a lot of us. What John is cautioning against here is placing the praise that comes from man above the praise that comes from God. Because I gotta be honest, the two aren’t going to align all the time. Often times, praise in the eyes of man is going to be earned in a different manner than God’s praise is earned. Who’s approval do you want more? Man’s, or God’s? We should be living in a manner that glorifies God and in turn brings God’s glory back down into our lives. If along the way you do have the most money, or are the best looking, or do drive the best car, well then good for you, but follow this warning that John offers. Never put the status and glory of man above the glory that comes from God.
Closing and prayer
I’ve got one more part of the Gospel of John to share soon before moving into a look of the book of 1 John.
For prayers this time around, I wanna pray for God to do away with our comfort zones. I told someone this past week that God seems to have little care for our comfort zones. He never seems to call anyone in the bible to continue doing whatever it was that they were already doing in the same exact place they were already doing it. God’s done an incredible work in my life by drawing me out of my comfort zones step by step. I’ve found that every time I’m obedient to Him and take that step out of the comfort zone, He’s there waiting for me. So I’d just ask that you join with me and pray that we’d stop being so obsessed with our comfort, that we do away with the idea of our comfort zone. I want my comfort zone to be Jesus, I want my comfort to be in the Lord and in nothing else.
(Just a note here. Once I write the prayer section, I always pray over the blog post and then I specifically pray whatever prayer I’ve laid out here in these closings. I have to say, as soon as I started praying about the removal of comfort zones, the seriousness of that prayer really hit me. This is a bit of a leap of faith kinda prayer, because let’s be honest, we love our comfort zones. So I did just want to acknowledge that this is a big prayer, but it’s one I really believe that God will honor if we do our part and follow him when he leads us out of our comfort zones.)
If you prayed that prayer please know that i prayed it in agreement with you as your brother in Christ. Also, whoever you are and wherever you’re at in your life right now, please know that God loves you deeply and dearly. I love you, too!