St. John's Lutheran Church and School 2009 Lent Devotional
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February 25, 2009

Jesus Wept

"Jesus wept" (John 11:35).

The shortest verse in the Bible is possibly the hardest to fully comprehend. Here, we read the familiar story of Jesus and the raising of Lazarus, perhaps his greatest miracle. It is one of the few times we see the divinity of God and human nature. Here, by the graveside of Lazarus, these tears expressed the fullness of the grief that His heart felt. The spectacle distressed Him so badly that He was worked into a state of great anxiety and emotion. As the procession was nearing the grave, tears arose to the eyes of Jesus and He wept...the feeling of grief was so strong as to draw tears from His eyes.

How many of us have felt that same grief with a passing of a loved one? How many of us have felt it in the past year? St. John's had a record number of funerals in 2008, including our sainted pastor. The despair and grief of death is very real. For many of us, this weeping is so deep and unrestrained, that sorrow is infectious. Why? Because we miss our loved ones so much. Yet we must remember that these loved ones have "met" Jesus face-to-face. It is only through death that we will see God.

While we are still here on the earth, it is our duty to meet Jesus and to know Him as our savior. Then, when the day of our death arrives, we need to be ready to receive our reward. But our reward is this: we get to "meet" Him once again, in the flesh, with our own eyes. We read in the book of Job,

"For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another" (Job 19:25-27).

What wonderful and comforting words! These three verses read as if they were poetry.

John Milton, the noted author wrote, "Death is the golden key that opens the palace of eternity." Those that have passed on before us have met the risen Lord; they have seen the very divinity of God Himself.

Heavenly Father, life is so short on this earth, let us concentrate in meeting You in Your word. And then, on the day when we receive our final reward, let us see you face to face. Amen.

Mark Stapleton


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St. John's Lutheran Church and School, LaGrange, Illinois