JOHN 11:33-37 – When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”.
THEME OF THE DAY. HAVING LOVE FOR HURTING PEOPLE. What is the true measurement, even validating evidence, that we are Christians? What is the chief way to affirm a person is in Christ, has experienced new birth, and is in the family of God? Let’s first look at some things that are not evidences of being a Christian. First, a profession of faith in Christ as Savior doesn’t make one a Christian. Sadly, many people claim to be Christian but don’t put forth the spiritual fruit of being in Christ. Next, good works for Christ don’t make one a Christian. We are saved by grace, not works (Ephesians 2:8-9). A third thing not giving evidence a person is a Christian is being faithful to read the Bible and attend church, even a Bible-believing church. Salvation never comes by being faithful to the things of God. Oh, this will be true in the genuine Christian, but these things won’t make a person a Christian.
So, what is the number one piece of evidence that affirms we are truly Christians? It is conforming to the image of Christ which is the purpose of our salvation. The Apostle Paul tells us this truth in his letter to the Romans – For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers (Romans 8:29). In his book, Union and Communion with Christ, Maurice Roberts writes, “The only evidence of real Christian faith and life is to be seen in the character we possess. Where Christ is in a man’s soul, the fruits of love, peace, and holiness will be visible. The Holy Spirit is not so much given to impart gifts to men as to create in them a likeness to Christ.” And one of those areas of likeness to Christ is found in today’s scripture – having love for hurting people.
The scene in today’s scripture is the death of Lazarus. Jesus has taken four days to get to the city. What He finds is a grieving family, friends, and crowds. They are experiencing the harsh reality and pain of death. The mourning is intense and the pain likewise. How does Jesus react? Far from being indifferent, or just a little compassionate. He hurts with them. He enters into their sorrow. He wept. And what do the observing Jews say of our Lord in His visible display of identifying with these suffering people? Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” Friends, the greatest display from us of being Christ’s followers is our love for people; a love that enters into their worlds of suffering, grief, and sorrow. It is a contradiction and a confusion to claim to be a Christian and not weep with those who weep. Jesus came into the world of hurting humanity to give them hope. And we are left in the world to be His voice, hands, and feet with the same message of hope. Are we? Do our hurting neighbors, co-workers, fellow brothers and sisters in our churches know us as the voice, hands, and feet of Jesus by entering their hurting worlds? I hope so. After all, it is this love that gives us the most assurance we truly are Christ’s people who live to serve people, especially hurting people.
PRAYER: “Father, help me to see that being a Christian is measured by how much I am becoming like Your Son.”
QUOTE: “To have the heart of Christ you must be committed by His Word and prayer to get close to the heart of Christ.”