Thursday, February 27, 2014

Why would Jesus weep when Lazarus died if He knew He was going to raise him?

The shortest verse in our English Bibles is John 11:35. The verse simply states, “Jesus wept”. Jesus’ friend Lazarus has just died (John 11:14). Jesus and His disciples arrive at Bethany after Lazarus’ death and Martha greets them. She tells Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died” (11:21). 

Jesus responds to Martha with a powerful statement, “Your brother will rise again” (11:23), thus declaring that he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead.  Martha is confused, she believes that Jesus’ is referencing the final resurrection at judgment, but Jesus explains to her “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies...” (11:25). Jesus wants her to know that He is the source of life even after death. 

Jesus has the power to raise the dead. It seems as though Jesus predicts the resurrection of Lazarus in (vs. 23) and then in (vs. 43) He makes it happen. What makes this section perplexing to some, is that in between Him predicting the resurrection of Lazarus and it taking place, Jesus cries. Some ask, “Why would Jesus weep at the death of Lazarus if He knew that He was going to raise him?”.

What made Jesus cry?

It was not that Jesus was crying over the loss of a friend, He was crying out of love and care for those who were mourning at Lazarus’ death. Jesus knew all things, Jesus knew that He was going to raise Lazarus, but Mary and the Jews with her did not. Mary and her companions were crying and the text reads that Jesus was “deeply moved in spirit and was troubled” (vs. 33). Jesus’ compassion for these people overcame Him and caused Him to weep in (vs. 35).

Some who were there wondered and assumed that Jesus was weeping over the death of Lazarus (vs. 37), but He was not. Jesus wept because His heart ached for those who were brokenhearted. Jesus cares about people. When people hurt, He hurts. In the case of Martha and her companions, He hurt so much for them that it brought Him to tears.

By Cliff Sabroe

Quotes from NASB95
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Did God create evil?

No, God did not create evil, but He does allow it to exist. God created the world and man. God created man with the ability to choose. God is eternally good and gives good laws. When a person disobeys a law of God; they are doing evil (they are sinning). God created Adam, Adam was not evil, but he did have the ability to choose to do evil. God gave Adam a law. 
The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17).
Adam and Eve had the ability to choose. God gave them a rule and they chose to not follow that rule. Thus, they did evil. God did not create evil. He created people with free will and gave them laws. Beings with free will have the ability to disobey God. Evil occurs when one chooses to disobey God and sin.

God wants us to serve Him out of our own free will. God did not create mindless robots programed to serve Him. Instead, He created beings with free will, in His image, that He hopes will make the choice to serve and obey Him.

By Cliff Sabroe
Quotes from NASB95 Bible
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What does “inspiration” mean?

The word “inspired” is used only once in the Bible. 
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
The New Testament was originally written in the Greek language and the Greek word translated “inspired” is theopneustos. Theopneustos is a compound word containing the word theos (meaning "God") and pneuma (meaning "breath"). The term could be literally translated “God-Breathed” (as found in the NIV and ESV).

In a more technical sense, the term deals with the process of getting the thoughts of God, to mankind, in an understandable way. Man alone could not articulate the thoughts of God, thus inspiration is needed. Peter Wegner in his book From Text to Translation describes the “God-Breathing” facet of “inspiration” in this way.
The process should not be viewed as one in which God breathed life into the words of an author after he had written them; if this were the case, they would be primarily man’s words. The recording of Scripture was an innately complex process. God appears to have be so intimately involved in the lives of its writers that he knew what they would say and how they would say it. Their individual personalities were thus combined with the indwelling, guiding work of the Holy Spirit to create Scripture. (Wegner 29).
Geisler and Nix offer a similar definition to the term “inspiration”.
Inspiration is that mysterious process by which the divine causality worked through the human prophets without destroying their individual personalities and styles to produce divinely authoritative and inerrant writings. (Geisler 39).
Ultimately “inspiration” is the link between God and man. This is what makes Scripture so amazing. When we read from its sacred page we are reading the Word of God! This thought is well expressed in (2 Peter 1:20-21).
But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
Praise God for giving us His inerrant and inspired Word!

By Cliff Sabroe
Works Cited
Scripture quotes from NASB95. 
Geisler, Norman and William E. Nix  A General Introduction to the Bible. Chicago: Moody Press, 1986.
Wegner, Paul D. The Journey from Texts to Translations: The Origen and Development of the Bible. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1999.  
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