Mar. 25 – Devotion from Dr. Jon

Finding Hope Together – Jesus Wept

“Jesus Wept.” As a kid I remembered these words as an emergency for when someone wanted me to quote a scripture passage and I wanted to seem like I knew at least something in the Bible. But recently, It has been hard for me to escape these words. “Jesus Wept.” Jesus wasn’t just a teacher or a prophet, even just a healer. Jesus leaned into people’s painful and uncertain moments and sat with them. He even experienced it himself. Jesus knows what these moments feel like. 

As I see the news, I continue to grow anxious. It’s hard to escape the impact of a global pandemic. It has and will impact all of us. I go to my favorite coffee shop and buy coffee beans for three weeks to support the baristas I have learned to call friends. I call my sister every day to see how she is doing. She’s a doctor at a hospital in Broward County where a mobile testing site has opened up. I get angry at the family taking pictures in front of the fountain at Lake Eola with N-95 masks, the same masks that the hospital my sister works in desperately needs more of. I’m not perfect of course, and my anxiety has definitely gotten the best of me. But even Jesus wept.

I love the NIV introduction title of this story where Jesus shows this deep caring. The translation calls the story, “Jesus comforts the sisters of Lazarus.” Jesus steps into the pain and comforts two sisters who endure great loss. They have lost their brother, someone they cared deeply about. Their lives will never be the same, again.

And in this moment we have all lost our former way of life. We are disoriented and trying to find our way. We are grieving our former way of life. But when Jesus weeps it shows us something very important: Jesus sits right with all of us in these difficult, uncertain moments.

What I love most about this story is when Jesus wept, showing compassion and care for his friend who died and his sisters who are grieving, the last verse says the people around him said, “See how he loved him!” The way Jesus cared about his friend Lazarus and his two sisters changed the very being of the people who saw it.

So this is my prayer for you as we begin this journey together through this uncertain time. It is true we will never be the same after this moment in history, but you have a task, even in your own anxiety and uncertainty. The truth is you are able show the care and compassion of Jesus in this moment. I beg you to find the people in our community who are more anxious than you and comfort them. And, then find the people in our community who are more vulnerable than you and serve them the best you can.

You are the church and the church is not a building, it is the community of people who follow this Jesus who wept. And now it is our turn. We are to be dispensers of grace in our world, even in this moment. So may people who encounter our church family say something about us. May they say, “In the midst of that pandemic, Did you see those people of First United Methodist Church of Winter Park. Did you see how they loved me? Did you see how they loved them?”