"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
March 12, 2014
This week I am continuing my writings on John 11:35: "Jesus wept."
Sin and the consequences of sin was not God's plan for mankind when He created man and woman. He gave explicit instructions on what not to do and expected obedience; but man, being made in human flesh, was given the ability to chose between right and wrong.
Adam and Eve lived in a perfect paradise and walked in the garden with God each evening. But they chose to disobey God's instructions and there was a high price to pay. Hard work, suffering, and death were not God's original plan for mankind. That came as a result of sin.
In Genesis chapter three we find that God came down, as was His usual habit, to take a nightly walk through the garden with Adam and Eve. But instead of finding them waiting for Him, they had hidden. God had a conversation with them about what had taken place since He had last been with them.
He said to the woman, "I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you."
To Adam He said, "Since you listened to your wife and ate from the the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return."
Adam and Eve were then banished from the Garden of Eden. God sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made.
Now fast forward to John 11:35. Jesus is standing alongside Martha and Mary outside the grave of Lazarus. He had witnessed their deep heart-felt grief over the lose of their brother and saw their tears; and Jesus also wept.
I believe that not only did He weep in compassion and sympathy for those two sisters, as well as the other family and friends who were present, but I think perhaps He was also weeping because of the consequences of the fall of mankind and sin. Because of man's choice to disobey God and sin, the body had to die; causing tears and the grief of separation amongst loved ones.
Only two men recorded in scripture escaped death: Enoch and Elijah. Because of their great faith, God took them directly into heaven without their bodies having to experience death. Other than that, every human being that God had ever created had been consumed by death.
Perhaps that is why the previous verse says that Jesus was troubled and deeply moved in His spirit; or as some versions say -- a deep anger welled up within Him. In addition to feeling compassion for the grieving family, Jesus may have been weeping over the calamity of sin. Witnessing death, which was one of the repercussions of sin, firsthand may have caused Him to feel a deep anger. I don't believe that He was angry at the people for grieving, but was angry or troubled by the fall of mankind and the consequences of that fall.
Even while raising Lazarus from the dead and calling him out from the grave, Jesus knew that Lazarus wasn't going to continue living on earth forever. There would come a time when his physical body on earth would once again have to die.
I believe that sin and the consequences of sin grieve the heart of God. God created Adam and Eve in order to have someone in which to have fellowship with. He created them a perfect paradise in which to live. He gave Adam the responsibility of naming the animals. God enjoyed the friendship of Adam and Eve. He enjoyed walking with them in the cool of the evening. I think that it broke His heart and grieved Him when they chose to sin and disobey His one command. I think giving them the verdict of the consequence of their actions caused Him deep sorrow. Knowing all that mankind would now have to suffer and endure saddened God.
Now Jesus is standing with the grieving Martha and Mary, and seeing the affect that the separation of death had on them. I think perhaps He was angry at sin and how devastating it was on mankind.
Even now, Jesus sorrows at the sin of mankind. I believe that His heart is broken every time a family stands at the grave of a loved one. He knows the temptations that this world offers and how easy it is for the human flesh to give in and indulge in sin, while deceptively thinking, "What I'm doing isn't that bad!" When He sees the wickedness and evil that is plotted and carried out, it causes Him to mourn.
Jesus may have wept that day at the consequence of sin. But He also knew that He had come to make a way of escape and pay the ultimate price for all sin and become our ultimate sacrifice; and the time for that to occur was drawing near.
God's law makes us mortal because we sin. God told Adam and Eve that if they ate the forbidden fruit, then they would surely die. I don't really understand why that is the law. But that is the consequence for sin from the time of creation.
But it seems like most of the time sin doesn't just bring death, but it separates us from God. But God didn't tell Adam or Eve that if they sinned, God would separate Himself from them. They took it on themselves to hide from God. That wasn't the law, it was Adam and Eve's choice.
If you have sinned, you don't have to let that keep you separated from God. That's our choice. We can ask God, and He will hold us close, regardless of sin, or the past, or whatever mistakes we've made.
1 chicken, boiled and deboned
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 (9 oz.) bag of Doritos
2 cups grated cheese
1 package enchilada mix
sliced onions -- optional
3 cups chicken broth
Lind bottom of casserole pan with chips, and then layer the shredded chicken over the top. Mix soup, enchilada mix, and broth together in a sauce pan; heat and pour over chicken. Layer onions on top (if desired). Sprinkle cheese over entire mixture. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted.
I was sitting here thinking of what to write, and my mind started wandering to different things about my childhood. One thing that stands out is the love I've always had for writing. I remember as a young girl making up stories and poems and making cards for my parents. When my mom was in the hospital various times, I was too young to go in and visit her at night (hospital rules back then was you had to be at least age 12), so I would make cards or write a letter or a poem to send with Daddy to give to her. One time after my middle sister got married and moved to Texas, I made up this big elaborate letter about this secret that I had and went on and on about how important it was and not to tell anyone; at the very end, my secret was that there was no Santa Claus. It made her laugh and I believe she still has a copy of that letter today. When I worked in banking, for a few years I would write thank you poems for management to put in with the employees Christmas bonus. I also made up really silly poems for birthdays and different occasions during those years of my banking career. I'm not really a poet; everything HAS to rhyme and I do better if it's just off the wall goofy stuff. One thing that I've always wanted to do is write songs and that just has never happened. Again, I think it's my obsession that everything has to rhyme and I try to write it in poem style..... and it just comes out sounding childish and silly and not very deep or meaningful! Definitely not anything that anyone would want to ever sing; myself included!
Having said all that, I have to say that I am so very, very grateful that God has given me a desire of my heart and has allowed me to use a talent that He has blessed me with and is allowing me to write these newsletters each week. Something was said recently about people using or hiding their talents, and I started panicking that perhaps I was not using my talents appropriately. But just now sitting here writing this has made me realize that each and every week for the past seven years, I have been using a talent that God blessed me with; the gift of writing. Our very first newsletter published online was March 12, 2007. This week is newsletter number 366! Hopefully, someone has been blessed or encouraged by something I've written these past seven years. I just want to thank those of you who have been reading my devotionals these past few years.
God has made you unique and one of a kind; therefore, don't compare yourself to others.
He has given you the abilities and talents that He specifically wants you to have.
So when you complain because you weren't gifted with a skill that someone else has and don't use what God has given you, it's like saying, "Sorry God, what you blessed me with isn't good enough!"
We love you!
Loretta & Jon