Jesus: Angry and Sad
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Introduction: John=s Gospel is a collection of claims supported by tangible evidence. The first claim (chapters 1-3) was Judaism is finished; the old must be replaced with the new. This was tangibly demonstrated when Jesus changed water into something better, wine, cleansed the temple, and marveled at the ignorance of Nicodemus, one of Judaism=s prize products.
The second assertion, AGod is Spirit@ (chapter 4), was demonstrated when Jesus healed the nobleman=s son at a distance. This showed Jesus was not limited by time or space.
The third claim (chapter 5) was Jesus had the Father=s power and authority. The claim was proved when Jesus healed the lame man at the pool of Bethesda.
The fourth assertion (chapter 6) was Jesus is the great Prophet that should come into the world. He proved this to be true by feeding 5000 and walking on water.
The fifth claim (chapters 7-9) was Jesus= pronouncement, AI am the Light of the world.@ He verified this by healing the man born blind.
We are presently touching the very heart of the sixth cycle of claim and evidence. Jesus had claimed, AI am the resurrection and the life@ (11:25). The evidence will be raising Lazarus from the dead.
John 11:33 (Holman) When Jesus saw her crying, and the Jews who had come with her crying, He was angry in His spirit and deeply moved.
Sensitive to Mary and Martha=s needs, Jesus knew the sisters needed different treatments. To Martha, who had shown a ray of hope, Jesus spoke directly. To Mary, who was in total despair, Jesus did not give an answer at first.
Words could have done little to help Mary. Her soul was completely engulfed in, and overwhelmed by, grief. Silently sharing her weeping helped most at this point.
Christ, broken over the sisters= sorrowing, grew angry at its cause. Jesus was upset at the devastating consequences of sin. This scene vividly brought home to Jesus the iron grip in which people are clasped by death.
Jesus was indignant at this momentary triumph by evil. His adversary, the Devil, had brought sin and death into the world and now Jesus was seeing in microcosm the pain it causes for all mankind.
John 11:34-35 AWhere have you put him?@ He asked. ALord,@ they told Him, Acome and see.@ Jesus wept.
Jesus= abruptness indicated determination to lose no time in ending this grief. Finding it difficult to wait, He was probably restraining an impulse to raise Lazarus immediately.
Jesus wept. His inner lightning bolt of anger (11:33b) was followed by a rain of pity and sorrow. This miracle was unique in that it was preceded by a storm of emotion that shook the frame of our Master.
John 11:36-37 So the Jews said, ASee how He loved him!@ But some of them said, ACouldn=t He who opened the blind man=s eyes also have kept this man from dying?@
Many witnesses had gathered. This miracle, impossible to hide, would cost Jesus a heavy price. He knew it would precipitate the final movements toward His own death. By removing Lazarus from the grave, Jesus assured His own entrance into one.
The onlookers, impressed with Jesus= display of emotion, misinterpreted His tears as frustration. The crowd felt the tears showed a love powerless to help.
Unknown to the onlookers was the fact Jesus was not coming to the grave as an idle spectator. He came as a wrestler prepared for battle. Before Him stood a tyrannical foe He had to defeat.
John 11:38-39 Then Jesus, angry in Himself again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. ARemove the stone,@ Jesus said. Martha, the dead man=s sister, told Him, ALord, he already stinks. It=s been four days.@
Martha thought Jesus wanted to view the remains of His departed friend. She was horrified by the thought of anyone looking on the repulsive sight of her brother=s putrefying corpse.
She had a tenderness that naturally shrank from disclosing the ravages of death on her beloved. Exposing the remains would offend the bystanders, embarrass the sisters, and show disrespect for Lazarus.
John 11:40 Jesus said to her, ADidn=t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?@
We do not know when Jesus had made this statement to Martha. Notice it is not the miracle itself that depends on Martha=s faith.
Jesus will raise Lazarus whether anyone believes or not. Martha=s faith is the condition for her being allowed to see God=s glory in the miracle.
A person can see a thousand miracles, but without faith will never see God=s glory in them. The crowd would see a miracle; Martha would see the glory in it.
Jesus, always seeking God=s glory, wanted people to see God as God. This is a powerful and wonderful motive for prayer. Elijah mocked the prophets of Baal, and prayed, AAnswer me, Lord! Answer me so that this people will know that You, Yahweh, are God@ (1 Kings 18:37).
We would see more miracles if we were to quit asking for ourselves, and put God in the central place. We need to ask, AAre our prayers for our best interest, or God=s?@ Our answer will reveal much about the power of our prayers.
John 11:41-42 So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes and said, AFather, I thank You that You heard Me. I know that You always hear Me, but because of the crowd standing here I said this, so they may believe You sent Me.@
Jesus thanked God before the miracle occurred. He knew His prayer had been answered before its results were visible.
Wanting God to receive all the credit, Jesus praised God before the resurrection. There would be so much confusion afterwards that there would be no chance to give God due honor then.
Jesus prayed with confidence because He lived in such a close relationship to the Father that he never asked for anything amiss. We often request that things be done in our time and in our way. We also ask God for what He may or may not see fit to grant.
Jesus= prayers were different from many of ours. He prayed to know God=s will in order to do it. The true nature of prayer is to find God=s will and obey, rather than to make unending requests for things that are contingent.