Still An Innocent

Oct 29, 2023    Pastor Don Long

One thing I’ve often wondered is, why did Jesus weep over the death of Lazarus (John 11:35)? When told Lazarus was critically ill, Jesus chose to delay his departure to Lazarus’ bedside for two days (vs. 6). When he did finally depart for Bethany, he told the disciples he was going there because “Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him (vs. 11). He knew Lazarus had died. He knew Lazarus would die before he arrived (vs. 14-15), and Jesus knew he would raise Lazarus from the dead (vs. 23). So, why weep? Compassion and empathy! Jesus did not weep for Lazarus, he wept for Mary and Martha, and for all how deeply experienced the human condition of grief. He entered into their grief. In the final song of the series “Rooting for the Anti-hero,” Taylor Swift writes:

“I think about summer, all the beautiful times,

I watched you laughin' from the passenger's side

And realized I loved you in the fall

And then the cold came, the dark days

When fear crept into my mind

You gave me all your love and all I gave you was goodbye.”

Then she goes on in the song and says, “I’d go back to December, turn around and make it right, I’d go back to December….”

Although the lyrics don’t expressly say it, going “back to December” is because of empathy and compassion, which leads to regret and a desire to repent (turn around)… to go back to December. Compassion and empathy are powerful human emotions which lead us to real connection with others, leading us beyond ourselves and into the lives of others. Jesus wept because he deeply connected with those deeply affected by Lazarus’ death.

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