John 11:33-35

Thursday, March 30
Jeff Cribbs

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.  And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. 

As a child, I stayed with my grandparents many weekends, becoming very close to my grandmother.   She would allow me to help in the kitchen, and I would stand at the stove stirring the tapioca pudding or homemade butterscotch custard for the Sunday dessert.

My grandmother passed away when I was seven years old. There were no cell phones then or pictures to capture anything that day. I cannot remember who was in charge of watching me, as my father (an only child) was likely both tending to funeral matters and sheltering me from his grief with my mother by his side. Maybe I was asking too many questions. I only remember the words, “Your grandmother is never coming back.” And then I wept. 

Jesus wept. Perhaps the two most powerful words of Jesus taking on our nature, becoming like us with our human affections. Relational and understanding, a real connection to what it means to be human with all the fragility life on earth entails. 

Fast forward fifty years later, I lost my father. Although not unexpected, I felt deep pain. He would no longer be there for planned weddings, eventual births, and many other family celebrations. So it is with losing friends who bring meaning to my life and all the now unmet plans for future journeys together.  Unfortunately, so many others have their own more tragic and poignant experiences with loss and the continuance of life after loss. The church is my comfort during these moments.

In Eugene Petersen’s “The Message,” verse 33 is translated as “a deep anger welled up within him.” One interpretation is that Jesus’s anger is his response against death’s power over us, much different from our likely emotional state. Thus, Jesus conquered death for us through his resurrection, just as he did for those weeping and mourning the death of Lazarus. So likewise, through faith, we can be free from our fears, loss of control, and destructive behavior in the face of inevitable loss.  

The communion table is where we remember Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and his resurrection, which gives us hope. We commune with God and our brothers and sisters in Christ, connecting with those who have gone before us. What a gift of connection and community that captures the essence of our faith!

Good and gracious God, I offer my thanks for the gift of your Son Jesus Christ. Help me to stay connected and grounded in my faith so that I may experience the joy and peace of communion with others and all who have gone before.  Amen.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s