John 11
When Jesus is Your Friend
Part 2

Free Bible Study Materials for Christian Discipleship
 August 2017

Dear fellow disciple-maker,

** This newsletter is the second article in a three part series on John 11. Go to Part 1. **

John 11 contains a fairly detailed conversation between Jesus and Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, who had died. These sisters were devoted to Jesus and John 11 clearly indicates that Jesus loved them. Furthermore, in John 11:11, Jesus refers to Lazarus as "our friend." Last month we noted the first thing you can confidently believe when Jesus is your friend. Specifically, when Jesus is your friend, He's never too late. Now we turn our attention to a second reality.

Jesus Wept

When Jesus is your friend, you never weep alone. Everyone has a breaking point and when Lazarus died, Mary and Martha found theirs. The disappointment from Jesus not being there, coupled with the sadness of their brother's death left them feeling overwhelmed. Thus, their natural response was tears. So Mary and Martha wept, their friends wept, and two times in the text it says that Jesus was deeply moved in his spirit, and as a result, Jesus wept (John 11:33-38).

Now while death is arguably the ultimate loss, we all know there are other kinds of loss and sadness. There's the loss of a dream, a friendship, a marriage, a job, a job offer, or a promotion. There's sadness when someone loses their reputation, their health, their savings, or their business. Truly, some days are filled with tears. But when Jesus is your friend, you never weep alone.

Jesus Understands how You Feel

The simple reason Jesus' tears are so powerful is that He can identify at the heart level with the sorrows of others. He relates to feeling hurt, because he was wounded. He relates to feeling left out, because he was rejected. He identifies with being oppressed, because he was crushed. Not only does Jesus understand how Mary and Martha felt He understands how you and I feel today. No matter what you have been going through, you may weep, but you never weep alone.

photo courtesy of Peter Shanks

He Could not See Her

A. B. Simpson used to tell the story about a mother who sent her son to an English boarding school that was very far away from her home. But later, she was very troubled to learn that the school would only permit her to visit her son once every two weeks.

This was more than she could stand and so all unknown to her son or his teachers, she rented a little attic apartment overlooking the school. And while her son never knew, she would sit in the upper room with her eyes on her little boy as he played in the schoolyard or studied in the classroom. He could not see her, but if he got hurt, or cried, or called her name, or needed her for a moment, she was within his reach and he was never really alone.

So, in the words of the famous Gospel hymn:

Why should I feel discouraged, Why should the shadows come,

Why should my heart be lonely, And long for heaven and home,

When Jesus is my portion, My constant Friend is He;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

When Jesus is your friend, he sees you, knows what you’re feeling – and you may weep, but you never weep alone. 

Listen to the full sermon - When Jesus is Your Friend.

Author:Paul Schlieker

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