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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Rejoice Always

"Rejoice...always...the Lord is near." (Philippians 4:4-5)

Rejoice always.
Pray without ceasing.
Jesus wept.
(Philippians 4:4, 1 Thesalonians 5:17, John 11:35)

The verses our sermon was our sermon were on at church on Sunday. The three shortest verses in the Bible. Do they contradict one another.
How can we be thankful?
Pray at all times. Live with an attitude of prayer.
How did Jesus rejoice always while weeping?
The questions we find ourselves asking is do we know why Jesus was weeping?
Was he weeping because his friend Lazarus was dead?
Certainly not, he knew he would raise Lazarus from the dead shortly.
Was he overcome with compassion for his friends Mary and Martha who were mourning for thier brother?

Was he brokenhearted because they could only see the finite? They could see their brother was dead. Gone from them for now. They knew and believed they would be reunited with him on the final judgement day. They missed him today. They grieved.
They thought that if Jesus would've only come sooner, their brother would not have died.

Jesus was in constant communication with the Father. He prayed unceasingly so that he would know what God was doing. He was always one with God's purpose.
Jesus never missed God.

Not once.


He did exactly what God told him to never deviating from the truth that was ordained in heaven and predestined from the beginning of time. Jesus was not late.

Jesus knew.

God allowed Lazarus to die so that he could be resurrected. So that Jesus could give a physical illustration of who He is...The Resurrection and The Life. By resurrecting Lazarus from the dead, God was glorified. The glory of Jesus was revealed. The glory of God revealed through his only son Jesus Christ. Jesus's ultimate purpose on earth, as is ours, to glorify God.

Could Jesus have been weeping because he saw humans suffering greatly as a result of living in a fallen world? He saw what mankind brought on themselves as a result of choosing ways other than God's way. Lazarus's death was not a result of his own sin or his sisters' sin. Lazarus died because we live in a fallen world. A world filled with sin and all its ugly consequences.

Jesus saw that.

Jesus wept.

Jesus wept while rejoicing.

Rejoicing because he could see the rest of the story.

Jesus did not enjoy the cross for the joy set before him. He endured the cross for the joy set before him. The cross...torture, death, separation from God the Father. The joy...redemption, reconciliation, hope and a future with us and God together.

Pure bliss.

He rejoiced while weeping because he could see, once again, why he came to earth. He could see that left up to our own choices, we would be separated from him forever. He could see that, yes, this was the only way our relationship with God could be restored. He could see that all would be right and redeemed in just a little while longer. He could scorn the cross, endure his calling...rejoicing at its ultimate purpose, its joy. The cross equals joy.

This Thanksgiving, whatever your circumstance, let us endure our cross and rejoice for the joy set before us...and thank Jesus for enduring his in order to set joy before us.

He is in our midst.


Wilhelmine Mitchell said...

Praying hands has always been one of my favorite pictures. It alone says a lot!

Kathryn, Michael & Alex said...

Be joyful always, pray without ceasing and give thanks in all circumstances...I pray that we always do that my friend.

Love you.