Sermon: Deeply Moved and Greatly Troubled John 11:28-37

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 Deeply Moved and Greatly Troubled

John 11:28-37

Primary Truth Taught- Jesus weeps as He witnesses and experiences the curse of sin first hand

Introduction

Our Lord Jesus is both God and man. When he came to earth and took on flesh He became a man. He never stopped being God, however, during His time here He submitted His divine authority to the Father.

Last week we saw how Jesus met the need Martha had to see Him in His power and glory as the resurrection and the life. Martha needed to see Jesus as the One who raises the dead. When our Lord explained to her who He is she believed.
Mary needs to see her Savior in a more human light. Sometimes we may forget that while being God, Jesus was also a man. We may forget that it was through tears and deep groaning that Jesus commanded Lazarus to rise from the dead. It was through deep human emotion that the Son of God would bring Lazarus from the tomb.

Human Need Met

Do you have hatred toward sin? Do you detest its very existence in your life? As we seek to be conformed to the image of our Lord we too must seek to hate sin as much as He does. The more you hate it the more you will avoid it.

John 11:28–37 (ESV)

28 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 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. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”

  1. The Teacher is Here

28 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there.

Martha attempts to let Mary know privately so that she can go and speak to Jesus alone. However, as soon as Mary gets up to leave to meet with her Lord all the mourners go with her. The Jews who were seeking to comfort her assumed she was going to the tomb to weep which was the custom.

Isn’t it amazing to see God’s sovereignty in action? The mourners go with her in order to comfort her but, in fact, she leads them straight to the Savior. They too will witness the resurrection of Lazarus. As it turns out, they too will believe in Jesus as Messiah the Son of God and receive life in His name.
At once Martha left Jesus to go and get Mary. It seems at least that Martha, after receiving the revelation that Jesus is the resurrection and the life may have deduced that perhaps it’s not too late after all.
When Martha explained to Jesus how the last-days-resurrection works and how she has taken comfort in that and then Jesus tells her that He is the resurrection and the life, perhaps Martha’s hope returned. We saw her amazing heartfelt confession in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God. Now her heart is racing. Perhaps, since Jesus is here and since He’s the Resurrection and the life, maybe He has the power to raise our brother from the dead?
She runs to Mary…
2. Lord if You’d Only Been Here

32 Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

While Martha needed truth and a deeper revelation of Jesus to fully believe, Mary only needed Jesus. Mary was always the one who when her name is mentioned, she’s always knelt down at the feet of Jesus. She’s always worshipping her Lord.
Luke 10:38–42 (ESV)

38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

John 12:1–3 (ESV)

12 Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

Here in this passage we also see the difference between Martha and Mary…

Both say the exact thing but Mary, through her grief, falls down at the feet of Jesus and worships. You see Mary didn’t need additional revelation so much like Martha did, no, what Mary needed was Jesus’ comfort. In other words, she didn’t need more stuff about Jesus she needed Jesus!

Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died…

Does this sound familiar? These are the exact words Martha used when she came to Jesus is the previous text.
They both were bringing into question Jesus’ love for them. In fact, this entire section is about how God loves us. If you remember from last time, God loves His people as He shows us more of Himself. When belief in Jesus is required for salvation then God shows great love to us when we experience more of Him. So, Martha and Mary were wrong in their assessment that somehow Jesus didn’t love them because He delayed His arrival. In fact, we remember the passage that says because He loved them He stayed where He was two more days.

  1. Jesus, Deeply Moved and Greatly Troubled

33 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. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”

John mentions the Jews who were also weeping. We must remember that this is a funeral setting in the ancient Middle East where professional mourners were hired to make loud laments and wailings. Due to the number of mourners it probably indicates that Mary, Martha and Lazarus were not poor but perhaps somewhat wealthy. This also explains the very expensive perfume Mary uses to anoint Jesus for His burial.

Martha needed to see the divinity of Jesus. During her time of grief she needed to know God was in charge. She needed exactly what our Lord gave her. Her hope was kindled when Jesus told her that her comfort would not come from the fact that there would be a resurrection at the last day but that He is the Resurrection and the life. Then she confesses her solid belief in the very thing Jesus told her. Then she immediately goes to Mary and tells her the Teacher is here.
Mary, on the other hand, already knew that Jesus was in charge. She was the one who listened intently at every word from Jesus while Martha was off doing the dishes. She had a much deeper knowledge of Christ. So, what Mary needed was Jesus’ compassion. She found this as His humanity is shown as He weeps deep and uncontrollable sobs.
There is a scholarly debate as to why our Lord begins to weep here. Is it that He is moved by Mary and the others emotions? Is it Lazarus’ death? Or is it something else? To help answer the question it’s important to look at two Greek words found in verse 33. What we’ll discover is that our Lord’s tears are of a different kind altogether.
ἐνεβριμήσατο- ENEBRIMSATO…this word when used in extra biblical writings literally means to snort like a horse. Here, it is a term of anger, outrage, and indignation.[1] That still doesn’t tell us what was the cause of our Lord’s tears. Some places in the Bible where this same word is used. If you do a search you learn that there is only three other places where it’s used.
Matthew 9:30 (ESV)

30 And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, “See that no one knows about it.”

Mark 1:43 (ESV)

43 And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once,

Mark 14:5 (ESV)

For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her.

In all other cases this word means to scold or rebuke in anger. I think this is exactly what it means here as well. It’s true that Jesus deeply loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus and He is deeply concerned and very emotional especially when He sees the impact sin has. When our Lord fully experienced the ravages of sin on a loved one His anger was greatly kindled and the fire began to burn in His heart. Jesus hates sin. He hates it so much that this event, the last of the seven signs, would spur Him on to the cross. It was His love for them that caused this intense and emotion anger that brought snorting, groaning, tears. He wept with the most powerful tears anyone has cried. On the one hand these tears connected Him to their pain and grief and on the other hand these tears connected Jesus to His penetrating hatred toward sin. Anger is not sinful when it’s directed at sin. When we begin to hate sin with just a little of the Lord’s hatred we will begin making progress in righteousness.

He was so angry He began to weep.
Have you ever felt the sadness of sin? I mean have you ever longed for a world without sin? Have you ever thought about the fact that sin is not normal, death is not normal. Humans should not be plagued with death. Death is foreign to the natural world. It shouldn’t be here. Death should never have to be experienced by anyone. This is why Jesus wept. This was why He experienced such intense emotions. He saw the effects that sin had on those He loved and He was angered.
ἐτάραξεν- ETARAXEN…this word is similar to the other in that it too has a great emotional reaction tied to it. It’s used elsewhere in the Bible showing strong and intense emotion.
Matthew 2:3 (ESV)

When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him;

Luke 24:38 (ESV)

38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?

So, the commentators who desire to stop at the fact that Jesus loved them and was simply shedding tears of compassion need to rethink their conclusion. These tears were tears of intense anger. Jesus was angry and greatly angered could be a literal translation.

What Mary received was compassion from her Lord but what sin and death received was a devastating reversal of power. Death no longer has the last word. Death no longer laughs at its victims. Jesus brings life because He is the Resurrection and the life. When Christ is present death must submit to His power.

D A Carson has this to say in conclusion to his study, It is lexically inexcusable to reduce this emotional upset to the effects of empathy, grief, pain or the like. [2]
35 Jesus wept.

Jesus’ emotions were different than that of Mary and the others. They were grieving over Lazarus. Jesus was also grieving but His grief was not over Lazarus because the tears He shed were different. The weeping is a completely different word in the original than the weeping that Mary and the others exhibit.
The original word is for Jesus’ weeping is a word that means shedding tears or lamenting before a great calamity.
Jesus already knew He would raise Lazarus so He wasn’t weeping over him. He wasn’t weeping with Mary and the others in the same type of grief they were experiencing. It would be seen as such by the Jews…See how He loved him.

36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”

Jesus was weeping over the ravages of the sin and the calamity to follow all who do not believe. His tears were not for Lazarus but for those who would die in unbelief.

His tears were not for Lazarus but for those who would die in unbelief.
Application

Do you utterly detest sin like Jesus? When you witness the death of someone are you reminded of the abnormality of death?
I want you to get angry at sin and death. I want to encourage you to get so angry at sin that you violently groan in uncontrollable hatred of it. When Jesus watched as His loved ones suffered under sin’s consequences it caused great righteous anger to rise up within Him to the point that tears sprang forth.
Seek to view sin with that type of emotion.

How can I hate and be exceedingly angry over sin and death? If we pray to be conformed to the image of Christ we too must begin to detest sin and its effects in this world and in the lives of those we love.

A funeral home should be a place of outrage and anger as much as grief and sadness.
God give us a hatred of sin!!

 

 

 

 

Declaration of Grace

In the mercy and grace of Almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for us, and for His sake God forgives us all our sins. To those who believe in Jesus Christ He gives the power to become the children of God and gives to them the Holy Spirit. May the Lord, who has begun this good work in us, bring it to completion in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

 

[1] D A Carson on John page 415

[2] D A Carson on John pg 415

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