Does faith in the personal God of Scripture make sense if we acknowledge that we do not have free will? This blog presupposes that we don’t have free will, but argues that far from being a source of anxiety or even a death sentence for faith, our lack of free will may actually be the central point of Scripture and essential to our inherent human dignity.
April 2, 2017 - And Jesus Wept
Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping,
he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said,
"Where have you laid him?"
They said to him, "Sir, come and see."
And Jesus wept.
So the Jews said, "See how he loved him."
Jesus of the Gospels is, honestly, not a particularly warm figure. If he expresses emotion, it is typically
anger and frustration. But for the most
part, he is stoic, controlled, and demanding.
I suspect there was real warmth in his relationship with the apostles,
disciples and those they encountered along the way – there must have been for
him to attract such a devoted following – but it is rarely indicated in what is
written about him.
do well to reflect on the crying, sobbing Jesus of today’s Gospel. The sight of his old friend, Mary (always the
more sensitive of the two sisters) crying at the tomb of her brother Lazarus, together
with Martha and all of Lazarus’s friends, moves him to tears. John’s staccato rendering of the moment produces
one of the shortest line in all of Scripture: “And Jesus wept.” (The shortest
is 1 Thessalonians 5:16, which is, ironically, “Rejoice evermore.”) Obviously,
he is utterly overcome, as those standing around him remark at the depth of his
did John break the custom of depicting Jesus as stoic at this moment? It doesn’t
even make a lot of sense given that he fully knew, according to John, that he was
about to raise Lazarus from the dead. I
suspect the moment survived into the written Gospel because it was genuine, heartfelt
and probably disturbing to those around him. The memory of Jesus crushed and overwrought
simply could not be glossed over.
am fairly certain we have a God Who is not stoic, Who has no expectation that
we can handle it, Who is not closing one door to open another, but Who suffers
it all with us, in all its intensity, not assuaged by anything He may do for us
in the future, so that we never suffer alone.