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NEVER DOUBT THAT THE LORD HAS EMOTIONAL FEELINGS, TOO

A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE FEDERATED CHURCH ATHENS

24 MARCH 1996

By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES:

Genesis 1:27
John 11:1-37

Every one of us has emotional feelings.

We feel happy when we know we're loved and when we're not under some kind of stress.

And we have feelings of stress when things around us are not going as we would like, or when too much is piled upon us.

And sometimes we get angry, when we believe the stress brought upon us was the result of someoneís intentional act.

We feel sadness when someone we care about dies, and our sadness may even cause us to cry.

Where do all these emotional feelings come from?

They come from God, as we are told in Genesis 1:27.

27. And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Part of that image is our emotional make-up.

Thus, if we are loving and sensitive people, we should be able to understand how God feels about any situation.

With this thought in mind, let's turn to John 11:1-37, and as we look at these verses, imagine yourself with Jesus and His companions and feel as they felt.

1. Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.

2. And it was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.

3. The sisters therefore sent to Him, saying, "Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick."

Martha and Mary knew that the Lord could help their brother, and that He loved him; and they sent to Him, that they might still have hope.

There are all kinds of emotions flying around.

Feel them in your own soul.

Put yourself in the place of Martha and Mary, and feel as they felt.

4. But when Jesus heard it, He said, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it."

Here Jesus tells us that there is more to this sickness than meets the eye on the surface.

5. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.

Note the constant reminder of the emotion of love.

6. When therefore He heard that he was sick, He stayed then two days longer in the place where He was.

If Jesus loved them so much, why did He delay in going to them?

As we were told above (in verse 4) in order that God might be glorified through Lazarusí sickness.

But remember that Jesus could heal him from where He was, but He didn't.

And because Jesus loved them, He felt their pain; so this delay must have caused Him some emotional pain as well, even though it was spiritually necessary for these events to unfold in this manner.

7. Then after this He said to the disciples, "Let us go to Judea again."

That's where Lazarus and his sisters lived.

8. The disciples said to Him, "Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and are You going there again?"

Now, the disciples have the emotional feeling of fear.

9. Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.

10. "But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him."

Jesus isn't talking about physical light, even though He uses it as an example; He is referring to the inner light we receive when we come to truly believe.

Therefore, there should be no fear when we walk in the light of the Lord.

Jesus feels their fear, and He tries to comfort them by redirecting their focus from the physical world to the spiritual realm.

There is a very great lesson for us all in this passage: it's not that we are to blind ourselves to the problems of this world, but that see the spiritual side as well, and do our best to live in both realms at the same time.

We need to have the spiritual vision to see beyond the present problems to the heavenly promises to come.

11. This He said, and after that He said to them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, that I may awaken him out of sleep."

12. The disciples therefore said to Him, "Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover."

13. Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep.

14. Then Jesus therefore said to them plainly, "Lazarus is dead,

15. and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him."

Jesus let His beloved friend, Lazarus, die.

He also knew the pain it was causing Martha and Mary.

And He felt the confusion it was causing in His disciples.

But for the glory of the Father, He continued upon this course of action.

Sometimes I also question why God allows so much pain and suffering to exist in the world, particularly since He has the power to end it.

And then I think of the perfect world that God created in Eden, where there was no pain, suffering or death, and how sinful humans, who were created in the image of God, weren't satisfied and desired more.

Is it that we are incapable of truly appreciating the perfection of God until we fully desire to leave the corruption behind, and seek to live in the heavenly will of our heavenly Father here on earth as it is in heaven?

The Lord feels as we feel, but He also sees beyond the present circumstances, to the ultimate glory.

This is something we all should remember when we don't think the Lord is answering our prayers.

Just because He doesn't answer as we want Him to answer doesn't mean He hasn't heard us, or that He isn't answering us.

Sometimes He answers as He is doing here.

16. Thomas therefore, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with Him."

But Thomas couldn't see beyond. He only saw the present circumstances.

17. So when Jesus came, He found that he [Lazarus] had already been in the tomb four days.

18. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off;

19. and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother.

Perhaps some of these same people may have been those who had previously pointed to Mary as a sinner, on the day she anointed the Lord's feet.

20. Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him; but Mary still sat in the house.

21. Martha therefore said to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.

Martha knows that Jesus could have prevented her brother from dying; so in a way, she is chastising Him.

Nevertheless, she still believes, even if her spiritual vision is somewhat limited.

22. "Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You."

23. Jesus said to her, "Your brother shall rise again."

24. Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day."

25. Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies,

26. and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

And that same question is for all of us: "Do you believe this?"

27. She said to Him, "Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world."

28. And when she had said this, she went away, and called Mary her sister, saying secretly, "The Teacher is here, and is calling for you."

29. And when she heard it, she arose quickly, and was coming to Him.

Remember that Jesus feels their pain, and He knows that He has been adding to it, which, because He loved them, must have caused Him even greater pain.

These emotional feelings were building up in Him just as they do in us.

30. Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha met Him.

31. The Jews then who were with her in the house, and consoling her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there.

32. Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died."

In her pain and suffering, she also chastised the Lord, just as her sister had; for as with Martha, Mary's spiritual vision was also limited.

All of this was just adding to Jesusí emotional feelings, too.

33. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her, also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit, and was troubled,

34. and said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to Him, "Lord, come and see."

35. Jesus wept.

All this was even too much for the Lord to contain inside, and He wept as any of us would under similar circumstances.

36. And so the Jews were saying,

"Behold how He loved him!"

37. But some of them said, "Could not this man, who opened the eyes of him who was blind, have kept this man also from dying?"

Weeping is not necessarily a sign of our love.

But to those with limited spiritual vision, it might seem that it is, even though some people weep because they feel sorry for themselves.

Jesus truly loves, and His weeping is really a sign of that love, and these people knew that.

I say this because the Jewish leadership had thrown this blind man out of the synagogue, and also accused Jesus of breaking the Law.

What they are saying about the Lord here is proof that they knew the truth about Jesusí power and who He was.

It is because the Lord and we have the same emotional make-up, that we are able to discern the truth about many things, even when we don't always admit it.

I can feel the pain and suffering of every creature upon this earth, and the groanings of the earth itself, and I feel what you feel also; I just don't always express what I become aware of, for I also see much of the cause, as well as seeing beyond the circumstances.

And because I am no different from you, and have been created in the image of God, just as you have been, I know that all of you are capable of these feelings, too.

Society tries to make us hard and unfeeling.

The Lord made us to feel as He feels.

Don't be afraid to feel as the Lord feels, and never doubt that He feels as you feel.

Likewise, we shouldn't be afraid of the peer pressure that wants us to live in this corrupt world and perpetuate its corruption and death.

We need to feel the pain and suffering that wars bring, and seek to end them.

We need to feel the fear and suffering of every human and animal, and seek to end it in every way we can.

We need to feel the groaning of the whole of creation, and the sorrow of the Lord as He sees the misery we have brought upon it.

We need to do everything in our power to end the present corruption, and bring glory and joy to the Lord, and end His emotional suffering, as well as our own.

Amen.

Your Comments are welcome

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