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Most of the articles on these WebPages have been written by godly men with a central belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. However as with most of us, they may have different beliefs concerning some particular doctrines. These articles have been made available for the purpose of “gleaning the good” where good can be found. I do not necessarily endorse all that is written by others, anymore than I expect others to endorse all that I write.

   Morning Thoughts by Elder Philip Conley

John 11:35, "Jesus wept."

This morning, things that are truly profound seem to get richer with time rather than diminish in beauty.  When looking at the pages of Scripture, the richness increases with study, and the things seen before seem to get even brighter with further study. One of the truly humbling things to me is that the further I go in study, the more I realize I did not know to begin with. So, should we ever think we have learned it all (or at least all that we think we need), we have failed in the understanding that God's truths are fresh and vibrant on a daily basis with fields and pastures ready for the feeding. Let us look this morning at a familiar verse that we teach our children (due to the ease of the memorization) to find some rich Bible truths that are contained in the brevity of the verse.

The context of the verse is revolving around the death of Lazarus and the eventual raising of Lazarus back to life by our Lord and Saviour. Christ has already explained to Lazarus's sisters (Mary and Martha) that He is the substance of the resurrection.  Therefore, they were beholding the One that has the power to speak life where there is none. He has the power to quicken things that are dead, and He alone will speak for that life to come forth. One of the most comforting things about the resurrection is that our Lord Himself arose over death, hell, and the grave, and we need not fear death as He will end all death and sorrow when He comes the second time without sin unto salvation.

However, we read these simple words about what Christ did when He arrived at the Lazarus's tomb. He wept, and this display caused the people there gathered to declare the love that Christ has for this one that has passed. But, I am confident in saying that they did not have full comprehension of the love that Christ has for Lazarus (or any of His elect family). For us to comprehend that love, we would have to know in full, but we understand that our knowledge of that love is in part and through a glass darkly. So, the question is, "If this display of weeping caused the people to speak of His love, do we understand why He wept?" Was Christ simply weeping due to the sorrow that the family and friends felt about losing a loved one?

It is my humble opinion that One with full knowledge of the life to come and the happy state of the righteous would have no reason to weep for such a thought. Paul exhorts us to not sorrow as others which have no hope. (I Thessalonians 4:13) Certainly, we understand that Christ has knowledge of their loss of fellowship, but He is the One that brings the peace and consolation to such cases that we will see them again in happier climes. But, there is a great reason for Christ to weep when we understand the answer to another question.  here was Lazarus? Obviously, his body was laid in the tomb, but where was he consciously (in spirit and soul)  Paul says in II Corinthians 5:6-8 that being absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Lazarus's soul was not lying in the tomb with the body. Rather, his spirit and soul were absent from the body and present with the Lord in .

Even though the Lord and Saviour was standing at the tomb, heaven was not absent from the presence of the Lord. (John 3:13) Even though incomprehensible to finite minds, He was in heaven the same moment that He was standing on the earth. Even though the body was at a specific location, heaven enjoyed the brightness and glory of the God of all creation. So, knowing this, Lazarus was feasting upon the joy of His Lord.  He, for four earthly days, delighted in the satisfaction of seeing immortal glory with all the beauty that heaven affords. So, the cause for weeping by Christ Jesus was that He would bring one from such a peaceful, blessed state back to this low ground of sin and sorrow. Lazarus would once again know the heartaches of this life. He would again experience the suffering that plagues us here daily. His cross would have to be carried and borne again. Finally, Lazarus would suffer the pangs of death once more when his body would be laid to rest again.

Truly, knowing this state of Lazarus, we can see the sorrow of our Saviour. But, for the glory of God and magnifying of His power, He brought Lazarus back to life to show forth His might and dominion over our blackest foe. The Psalmist declares the the death of His saints is precious in the sight of the Lord. (Psalm 116:15) We can see that laying this warfare down in death, while a frightening state for the flesh, is a tranquil thought for the spirit. Our new man longs to be released from this bondage of corruption to be delivered into  lorious liberty. Our soul and spirit yearn for the day that all the sons of God will be manifest. So, even though Lazarus was brought back to life to suffer again, our Lord here  affords us a sweet picture of the resurrection  at the last day. True, Lazarus was raised from natural death back to natural life to die a natural death again.   But, this serves to point us to the day that our Lord will speak to these bodies, changing and fashioning them in a moment in the twinkling of an eye.

Therefore, when we lose a loved one, we may weep and sorrow for the loss of their fellowship. But, may we ever remember that our Lord wept to bring one back, and by contrast, rejoices when another one is called home. I am reminded of a story once told to me that in this country (USA) we rejoice when a child is born and weep when one dies. But, in the country of Korea, they weep when a child is born and rejoice when one passes. May we rejoice in the knowledge that death is not the final end of our existence, but may we look beyond to the place that all the Lord's beloved will be without the loss of one. Truly, words fail to describe the joys and feasts of love that abound in that blissful place. I have been asked before, "What do you think Lazarus was telling people about heaven after being raised back to life?" My personal opinion is that he probably did not have words to describe the feeling or even firm recollections as they were again veiled from full sight. Paul was caught up to the 3rd heaven and could not speak of things there, and John saw visions in  the heavenly throne with utterances by he seven thunders that could not be written. (II  Corinthians 12:1-4, Revelation 10:3-4) May we earnestly press unto that day, walking by faith and not by sight, and delight in the knowledge that we will join with those that have gone before in the sweet and glorious adoration unto Christ Jesus our King.

In Hope,

Bro Philip