Skip to content

Last weekend I found myself engaged in an interesting discussion with a new acquaintance on twitter. He (or she – this fact is not revealed in the twitter profile) is an atheist and took issue with a post I put up.

I thought I would share the conversation with you all, and allow us all to toss it about a bit.

Remember, please keep the Friday Q&A rules in any comments you make or I will have to delete them. The rules are:

Be polite.
Be honest.
Be gentle.
Be friendly.

Here is the conversation. (@MrBnd is my twitter name – please join me over there and say Hi, if you are a twit too!) I am going to leave my new friend’s ID out so as not to antagonize him/her, but I will shoot him a note so he can join us if he wants to.

@MrBnd: But everybody who hears these words of mine and doesn't put them into practice will be like a fool who built a house on sand. ~ Jesus (CEB)

@NewFriend: Oh dear (with this picture posted)

@MrBnd: Guess we best avoid derisive heart attitudes and mocking words - I sure need a Savior!

@NewFriend: Jesus seems to have blown it though! According to your tweet.

@MrBnd: I am not sure giving instruction on how to avoid foolishness is the same as calling someone a fool - i am glad for the wisdom

@NewFriend: So the people that did not put his words into practice are what? Or has everyone ever, always put his words into practice?

@MrBnd: I could tell you it is foolish to smoke, You can decide how to behave. I have not called you a fool, just shared wisdom

@NewFriend: Yes of course. Silly me. But wait! Maybe not so silly me. Given the word 'foolish' was not used. So answer my previous question.

@MrBnd: "like a fool" - aka foolish - I suppose neither of us is going to change opinions here, but thanks for the dialog

@NewFriend: exactly 'like a fool' therefore, those not "putting words into practice" are, by definition, fools. So who's right, Jesus or Matthew?

That is the extent of our conversation. I had to be elsewhere and did not come back to it later.

Here are some further thoughts of mine.

First, I don’t feel I need to defend Jesus. His words are Truth, and if I don’t get them on first pass, rather than pick at the words and set them up as reasons to be offended with Him, I assume the short fall is somewhere in my heart or mind. There is plenty that I don’t get yet, and there are depths and layers to Jesus’ words that I can not fathom.

Jesus’ discourse in John 6 about the Bread of Life is a perfect example. He says to the crowd and the disciples some things in a manner which made Him sound like a crazy person – you must eat My flesh and drink My blood if you want to be My disciples. Not only did it make Jesus sound a bit crazy, anyone who would follow Him had to be suspect too!.

In the end of this discourse He turns to the boys and says “does this offend you?” (John 6:61)

A few verses farther down the page we have this

You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” ~ John 6:67-69

So I have two thoughts rumbling around in my head in regard to the conversation above.

First about the process of questioning Jesus’ words – does it make me a non-thinker because I accept something I do not understand. This is what my friends profile expounds, that because there are things that are in tension in scripture, you have to turn your brain off to believe.

To this I would have to honestly answer that the most intelligent person on the planet probably knows less than 1% of all there is no know even of the natural realm in which we spend most of our time, and I am not that guy. There is so much more to the natural that I don’t understand that I could learn new things every minute of every day and still not reach the 1% mark.

Now add to that all that goes on in other realms – i.e. in the spirit realm – and, well, there is just some stuff I don’t know.

My friend’s profile actually states “it’s a sad day when you don’t learn something new.” Clearly he and I agree here. Neither of us know everything, else why would we both want to learn something new every day?

Now to the second part – the actual discussion about what Jesus said, contrasting His comments:

Is it hypocrisy to on the one hand say:

Don’t ever call someone a fool.

And on the other say:

You are a fool if you …

The “don’t call someone a fool” was in the context of an outburst of anger or insult, and would be like when my mother said to me growing up “don’t call your brother stupid.” It is not that people are not stupid, or fools, it is just not your job to point it out to them. It dishonors them.

On the other hand, any time someone smarter, or wiser than I wants to point out to me what actions I might be taking – what path I might be walking that make me out to be a fool – have at it. I would love to learn from other’s folly, rather than my own.

Well – I see I have gone way to long on this post, but now it is your turn.

What do you think?

Ben NelsonThanks much for coming by today. I really appreciate you!

See you tomorrow for SoS Saturday.

Ben

4

Last weekend I found myself engaged in an interesting discussion with a new acquaintance on twitter. He (or she – this fact is not revealed in the twitter profile) is an atheist and took issue with a post I put up.

I thought I would share the conversation with you all, and allow us all to toss it about a bit.

Remember, please keep the Friday Q&A rules in any comments you make or I will have to delete them. The rules are:

Be polite.
Be honest.
Be gentle.
Be friendly.

Here is the conversation. (@MrBnd is my twitter name – please join me over there and say Hi, if you are a twit too!) I am going to leave my new friend’s ID out so as not to antagonize him/her, but I will shoot him a note so he can join us if he wants to.

@MrBnd: But everybody who hears these words of mine and doesn't put them into practice will be like a fool who built a house on sand. ~ Jesus (CEB)

@NewFriend: Oh dear (with this picture posted)

@MrBnd: Guess we best avoid derisive heart attitudes and mocking words - I sure need a Savior!

@NewFriend: Jesus seems to have blown it though! According to your tweet.

@MrBnd: I am not sure giving instruction on how to avoid foolishness is the same as calling someone a fool - i am glad for the wisdom

@NewFriend: So the people that did not put his words into practice are what? Or has everyone ever, always put his words into practice?

@MrBnd: I could tell you it is foolish to smoke, You can decide how to behave. I have not called you a fool, just shared wisdom

@NewFriend: Yes of course. Silly me. But wait! Maybe not so silly me. Given the word 'foolish' was not used. So answer my previous question.

@MrBnd: "like a fool" - aka foolish - I suppose neither of us is going to change opinions here, but thanks for the dialog

@NewFriend: exactly 'like a fool' therefore, those not "putting words into practice" are, by definition, fools. So who's right, Jesus or Matthew?

That is the extent of our conversation. I had to be elsewhere and did not come back to it later.

Here are some further thoughts of mine.

First, I don’t feel I need to defend Jesus. His words are Truth, and if I don’t get them on first pass, rather than pick at the words and set them up as reasons to be offended with Him, I assume the short fall is somewhere in my heart or mind. There is plenty that I don’t get yet, and there are depths and layers to Jesus’ words that I can not fathom.

Jesus’ discourse in John 6 about the Bread of Life is a perfect example. He says to the crowd and the disciples some things in a manner which made Him sound like a crazy person – you must eat My flesh and drink My blood if you want to be My disciples. Not only did it make Jesus sound a bit crazy, anyone who would follow Him had to be suspect too!.

In the end of this discourse He turns to the boys and says “does this offend you?” (John 6:61)

A few verses farther down the page we have this

You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” ~ John 6:67-69

So I have two thoughts rumbling around in my head in regard to the conversation above.

First about the process of questioning Jesus’ words – does it make me a non-thinker because I accept something I do not understand. This is what my friends profile expounds, that because there are things that are in tension in scripture, you have to turn your brain off to believe.

To this I would have to honestly answer that the most intelligent person on the planet probably knows less than 1% of all there is no know even of the natural realm in which we spend most of our time, and I am not that guy. There is so much more to the natural that I don’t understand that I could learn new things every minute of every day and still not reach the 1% mark.

Now add to that all that goes on in other realms – i.e. in the spirit realm – and, well, there is just some stuff I don’t know.

My friend’s profile actually states “it’s a sad day when you don’t learn something new.” Clearly he and I agree here. Neither of us know everything, else why would we both want to learn something new every day?

Now to the second part – the actual discussion about what Jesus said, contrasting His comments:

Is it hypocrisy to on the one hand say:

Don’t ever call someone a fool.

And on the other say:

You are a fool if you …

The “don’t call someone a fool” was in the context of an outburst of anger or insult, and would be like when my mother said to me growing up “don’t call your brother stupid.” It is not that people are not stupid, or fools, it is just not your job to point it out to them. It dishonors them.

On the other hand, any time someone smarter, or wiser than I wants to point out to me what actions I might be taking – what path I might be walking that make me out to be a fool – have at it. I would love to learn from other’s folly, rather than my own.

Well – I see I have gone way to long on this post, but now it is your turn.

What do you think?

Ben NelsonThanks much for coming by today. I really appreciate you!

See you tomorrow for SoS Saturday.

Ben

Peaceable Kingdom - Edward Hicks

Deborah asks:

I have a question for tomorrow studying Hosea 2. Do you think that verse 18 is not only referring to the natural but also the spiritual realm of warfare?

shalom, shalom

Deborah

Wow Deborah!

What a great question.

I have to say, as I have said before, I am not a scholar by any means.

Here is the text Deborah is asking about – with a little bit extra on either side.

And it will come about in that day,” declares the LORD, “That you will call Me Ishi And will no longer call Me Baali. For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, So that they will be mentioned by their names no more. In that day I will also make a covenant for them With the beasts of the field, The birds of the sky, And the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, And will make them lie down in safety. And I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, In lovingkindness and in compassion, ~ Hosea 2:16-19

When I read this, I am thinking we are talking as yet unfulfilled prophecy. This is not something that I believe has come to pass as yet.

The Lord is pointing to a day in the future. What is sometimes called the Peaceable kingdom.

So Deborah’s question is does this mean actual animals at peace with one another, some cessation of spiritual warfare, or I might add a third choice – both.

Generally speaking I don’t hold strongly to any one view of end times at this point. I have just not studied it enough to be convinced one way or another. Actually, my problem may be the opposite of that. I was convinced, and then I studied from a different point of view and was convinced again – and then --- well you get the idea. There are many ways to read these scriptures.

So will there be a time in heaven or on earth when wars will cease and animals will get along.

Yep, I believe so.

I get the sense that was the case in the garden with Adam and Eve, which was an expression of a time with men and no sin. There was however that old serpent even then, stirring things up.

There are other accounts (2 in Isaiah – Ch 11 and 65) where the animals are getting along.

I love that this talk of peace is sandwiched in bridal language – Vs 16 – you will call me man not master – or perhaps  - husband not master. And in vs 19 – I will betroth you to me forever.

One more thing for you all to ponder. I am a firm believer in breaking through dispensations.

What I mean by breaking through dispensations is doing like the Syrophonecian woman did with Jesus, where He said, "I can’t heal the gentile dog because at this time I am here for the Jews." (really loose paraphrase therefore not in red)

She was like – I want it now – I can’t wait for the cross – my daughter is going to kill herself before that – and she would not take no for an answer.

How is it with you. Are you hoping for a day of peace? Spiritual – Natural – Political? Pull it forward – press in – Ask Seek Knock and not just a little. Knock for all our are worth.

Ben NelsonHappy Friday

Have a great day

Ben

Jesus is getting ready to leave town. He has checked out of “La Quinta Capernaum” and is headed down toward the docks. As always He is set about with crowds of folks who have been hanging on His every word.

And another of the disciples said to Him, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” ~ Matthew 8:21

I don’t think this is one of the twelve. More likely someone who was on the hillside for the Sermon on the Mount, or one who happened to be in the synagogue when He declared His messianic mission a week or so earlier. But you know what, it might be one of the twelve for that matter.

In any case, it was someone who had been following long enough to be considered one of Jesus’ students. This word ‘disciple’ means ‘learner under discipline.’

Jesus’ answer always seemed a little cold to me.

But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me; and allow the dead to bury their own dead.” ~ Matthew 8:22

I am thinking there are a couple different ways Jesus could have handled this. He could have drawn a map in the dust of the region of Galilee and showed the man where He was heading, so He could catch up again. He could have gone with this man to his father’s funeral. For that matter he could have headed over and raised his dad from the dead.

But I suspect this is not what is going on. I have a hunch that the man’s father was not dead yet.

I knew a man once who made a strong profession of faith and was following for more than a year. But he was from a Jewish background, and his elderly mom was a good Jewish mamma.

One day we were walking together and he began to ask me about his mamma’s future, since she did not know Jesus.

I suggested we pray for her, and that we ask the Lord for ways that he could begin to tell her about what a difference Jesus had made in his life, and how she should come and get to know the Messiah.

He told me he could never tell his mother that he had become a Christian. His exact words were "It would kill her if she knew I was a Christian." He could never believe that his mom needed Jesus. She was a good Jew.

I have a hunch this is what is going on here. The question is not, can you give me 24 hours to take care of my father’s remains and sit with my relatives for a while. It is more like: As soon as my father passes away I will join your band of misfits.

This is why Jesus’ answer seems so harsh.

If you want to be My disciple, stop what you’re doin’, swallow what you’re chewin’, and follow Me.

  • Not soon
  • Not later
  • Not someday
  • Not when I am out of debt
  • Not when I get married
  • Not when I am out of school
  • Not when my children are out of the house
  • Not when I retire

Jesus’ call to you today is simple – Follow Me.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by today.

See you tomorrow

Ben

Hey, don’t forget Friday’s coming – got questions – feel free to drop in at Friday Q&A so we can toss some ideas around.

8

Jesus is getting ready to leave town. He has checked out of “La Quinta Capernaum” and is headed down toward the docks. As always He is set about with crowds of folks who have been hanging on His every word.

And another of the disciples said to Him, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” ~ Matthew 8:21

I don’t think this is one of the twelve. More likely someone who was on the hillside for the Sermon on the Mount, or one who happened to be in the synagogue when He declared His messianic mission a week or so earlier. But you know what, it might be one of the twelve for that matter.

In any case, it was someone who had been following long enough to be considered one of Jesus’ students. This word ‘disciple’ means ‘learner under discipline.’

Jesus’ answer always seemed a little cold to me.

But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me; and allow the dead to bury their own dead.” ~ Matthew 8:22

I am thinking there are a couple different ways Jesus could have handled this. He could have drawn a map in the dust of the region of Galilee and showed the man where He was heading, so He could catch up again. He could have gone with this man to his father’s funeral. For that matter he could have headed over and raised his dad from the dead.

But I suspect this is not what is going on. I have a hunch that the man’s father was not dead yet.

I knew a man once who made a strong profession of faith and was following for more than a year. But he was from a Jewish background, and his elderly mom was a good Jewish mamma.

One day we were walking together and he began to ask me about his mamma’s future, since she did not know Jesus.

I suggested we pray for her, and that we ask the Lord for ways that he could begin to tell her about what a difference Jesus had made in his life, and how she should come and get to know the Messiah.

He told me he could never tell his mother that he had become a Christian. His exact words were "It would kill her if she knew I was a Christian." He could never believe that his mom needed Jesus. She was a good Jew.

I have a hunch this is what is going on here. The question is not, can you give me 24 hours to take care of my father’s remains and sit with my relatives for a while. It is more like: As soon as my father passes away I will join your band of misfits.

This is why Jesus’ answer seems so harsh.

If you want to be My disciple, stop what you’re doin’, swallow what you’re chewin’, and follow Me.

  • Not soon
  • Not later
  • Not someday
  • Not when I am out of debt
  • Not when I get married
  • Not when I am out of school
  • Not when my children are out of the house
  • Not when I retire

Jesus’ call to you today is simple – Follow Me.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by today.

See you tomorrow

Ben

Hey, don’t forget Friday’s coming – got questions – feel free to drop in at Friday Q&A so we can toss some ideas around.

In Flight
In Flight

Welcome to Friday Q&A

Today, I am thrilled to share a question from our good friend Debbie. Here it is in her own words.

Hi Mr. Ben! I’ve been reading in 1 Thessalonians and wondered if you could talk about vs 4:13-18. It’s where Paul talks about the dead in Christ rising first. I was just a little confused. Is he talking about their physical bodies, since wouldn’t they already be with Jesus? Thanks for your help! God bless you!

Here’s the text:

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.  For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

So – I thought Friday Q&A was going to be easy – LOL

First, I have to thank you Deb for bringing me to this scripture today (Monday). A dear young woman we have been praying for over the last couple years as she fought a wicked cancer went home to be with the Lord today, leaving behind her husband and four beautiful young children, as well as her extended family, and her family of faith. It has been a sad day.

Sad because she will be so terribly missed. Sad because her kids face a tough adolescence and their teens without her daily tender care, and for so many more reasons.

But today was also a joyous day. In the words that her 13-year-old son wrote on her medical chart “Today there will be rejoicing in heaven” (as I heard it.)

So I am glad you brought us here Deb.

To the question let’s break it down:

In Paul’s writings this idea of being asleep in Jesus is not about sleeping through the sermon on Sunday morning. It is referring to those who have passed from this life, through the door of death, into the presence of the Lord.

We are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:8

That said, he (Paul) does use this idea of asleep in the Lord a lot.

Let me give one more disclaimer there. There are lots of strong opinions about end times. I used to be really dogmatic about a “Pre-Trib” rapture, but since, have seen a good many other wonderful interpretations of these somewhat enigmatic scriptures.

So if what I say here does not line up with your understanding – that’s ok – you can share yours as long as you follow the rules below.

Here goes. (buckle on your thinking helmet so we can bounce some ideas around)

God – heaven – the throne room – all that great stuff is outside of time, or at the very least works on a different schedule

That is why we get things like – Jesus, the lamb slain before the foundations of the earth

That’s why on Isaiah’s day in the throne room in Isaiah 6, he overhears God asking for volunteers in the Godhead to redeem mankind.

That’s why John at age 90ish witnesses the scene of Jesus making His grand entrance into heaven and offering His blood to the Father in Revelation 5 at which time John sees you and I among the 10,000 times 10,000s around the throne.

When a believer dies – he/she is with the Lord. I don’t know for sure if that is instantaneous, or millennium forward, or perhaps millennium backwards. I don’t know if we will be conscious of a time (well - is it time?) before our body is resurrected, or if we get plucked out of time for a period and hang out in heaven as spirit beings. (I pick this one)

There will come a day and a time, when everyone (every Christian) who has not seen an earthly death will be taken up. This is commonly called the rapture. Call it what you want, those who have not tasted death will be called out of what we know now, into what lies ahead. At this time God will add bodies to those who got a head start. I don't know if that is the first trumpet call, the last call, or if they are both the same trumpet call, but when the trumpet blows - I am out'a here.

I believe this all take place shortly before the ultimate worship service John sees. Where the elders throw down their crowns, and we all worship God, and He presents His dearest and most precious son to all creation. I believe we will all be eye witnesses to Jesus presenting His blood to the Father. One translation of the event in heaven in Revelation 5 say "and I saw a lamb having the fresh marks of slaughter." This is the pivotal moment in all of history, and you and I will be there in person!

Much of what is confusing about God, heaven, eternity, and all of that get’s easier to hold loosely if you consider that God is not bound by time as we know it. Time is a creation, like matter, and so it does not have the same kind of impact on God as it does on us.

In our world God works with time, but in His – I don’t know – maybe not.

What do you all think? Is that just a little too Sci-Fi for you? Forgive me.

This one thing I know – Jesus is not just the key figure in human history, He is the central figure of eternity. [Tweet This]

Thanks again for the question Deb. Did that help, or did your head explode?

Join in the conversation – just remember the rules:

Be polite.
Be honest.
Be gentle.
Be friendly.

Ben NelsonSee you again soon

Ben

15

In Flight
In Flight

Welcome to Friday Q&A

Today, I am thrilled to share a question from our good friend Debbie. Here it is in her own words.

Hi Mr. Ben! I’ve been reading in 1 Thessalonians and wondered if you could talk about vs 4:13-18. It’s where Paul talks about the dead in Christ rising first. I was just a little confused. Is he talking about their physical bodies, since wouldn’t they already be with Jesus? Thanks for your help! God bless you!

Here’s the text:

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.  For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

So – I thought Friday Q&A was going to be easy – LOL

First, I have to thank you Deb for bringing me to this scripture today (Monday). A dear young woman we have been praying for over the last couple years as she fought a wicked cancer went home to be with the Lord today, leaving behind her husband and four beautiful young children, as well as her extended family, and her family of faith. It has been a sad day.

Sad because she will be so terribly missed. Sad because her kids face a tough adolescence and their teens without her daily tender care, and for so many more reasons.

But today was also a joyous day. In the words that her 13-year-old son wrote on her medical chart “Today there will be rejoicing in heaven” (as I heard it.)

So I am glad you brought us here Deb.

To the question let’s break it down:

In Paul’s writings this idea of being asleep in Jesus is not about sleeping through the sermon on Sunday morning. It is referring to those who have passed from this life, through the door of death, into the presence of the Lord.

We are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:8

That said, he (Paul) does use this idea of asleep in the Lord a lot.

Let me give one more disclaimer there. There are lots of strong opinions about end times. I used to be really dogmatic about a “Pre-Trib” rapture, but since, have seen a good many other wonderful interpretations of these somewhat enigmatic scriptures.

So if what I say here does not line up with your understanding – that’s ok – you can share yours as long as you follow the rules below.

Here goes. (buckle on your thinking helmet so we can bounce some ideas around)

God – heaven – the throne room – all that great stuff is outside of time, or at the very least works on a different schedule

That is why we get things like – Jesus, the lamb slain before the foundations of the earth

That’s why on Isaiah’s day in the throne room in Isaiah 6, he overhears God asking for volunteers in the Godhead to redeem mankind.

That’s why John at age 90ish witnesses the scene of Jesus making His grand entrance into heaven and offering His blood to the Father in Revelation 5 at which time John sees you and I among the 10,000 times 10,000s around the throne.

When a believer dies – he/she is with the Lord. I don’t know for sure if that is instantaneous, or millennium forward, or perhaps millennium backwards. I don’t know if we will be conscious of a time (well - is it time?) before our body is resurrected, or if we get plucked out of time for a period and hang out in heaven as spirit beings. (I pick this one)

There will come a day and a time, when everyone (every Christian) who has not seen an earthly death will be taken up. This is commonly called the rapture. Call it what you want, those who have not tasted death will be called out of what we know now, into what lies ahead. At this time God will add bodies to those who got a head start. I don't know if that is the first trumpet call, the last call, or if they are both the same trumpet call, but when the trumpet blows - I am out'a here.

I believe this all take place shortly before the ultimate worship service John sees. Where the elders throw down their crowns, and we all worship God, and He presents His dearest and most precious son to all creation. I believe we will all be eye witnesses to Jesus presenting His blood to the Father. One translation of the event in heaven in Revelation 5 say "and I saw a lamb having the fresh marks of slaughter." This is the pivotal moment in all of history, and you and I will be there in person!

Much of what is confusing about God, heaven, eternity, and all of that get’s easier to hold loosely if you consider that God is not bound by time as we know it. Time is a creation, like matter, and so it does not have the same kind of impact on God as it does on us.

In our world God works with time, but in His – I don’t know – maybe not.

What do you all think? Is that just a little too Sci-Fi for you? Forgive me.

This one thing I know – Jesus is not just the key figure in human history, He is the central figure of eternity. [Tweet This]

Thanks again for the question Deb. Did that help, or did your head explode?

Join in the conversation – just remember the rules:

Be polite.
Be honest.
Be gentle.
Be friendly.

Ben NelsonSee you again soon

Ben

Welcome to Friday Q&A, a brand new feature here at Another Red Letter Day!

I met Felicia on her blog very recently. I believe I found her through a twitter link. Not sure exactly. She has a wonderful blog, and I would love it if you would check it out.

A  Life  Sanctified  

Living my outrageous, audacious faith in Jesus!

She and I were talking the other day about this verse in John’s account of the raising of Lazarus in the context of what moves Jesus.

When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her, also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit, and was troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. And so the Jews were saying, “Behold how He loved him!” John 11:36

The question at hand is why is Jesus weeping?

Here it is from Felicia:

I’ve been giving this some thought …why did Jesus cry? Certainly it wasn’t for Lazarus because He knew He would raise him for His Father’s glory. So was it because of the disbelief of the others? The depth of pain the others were feeling? Or perhaps the disbelief of all humanity?

I have moved around on this question a fair bit.

I agree with Felicia, that it just does not make sense to me, that Jesus was saddened by the death of Lazarus.  (On the other hand I am not sure  the logic produced by my itsy bitsy brain is a sure test of scriptural soundness) After all we know from the context that Jesus basically let Him die because He knew what He would do.

I have heard many times He was basically sympathizing with the sorrow of the others around. The prior verse does say that there was weeping on every side. Mary, clearly one of His closest earthly friends, was weeping, as were the rest of the folks gathered. Was He just caught up in the emotion of the moment?

For many years I would have probably picked the next answer. He was saddened by the unbelief of some of His closest followers. Is this perhaps one of those “when I return will I find faith on the earth” or “did you learn nothing from the loaves and the fishes” moments?

Here is another thought. I know there are times when I consider the torture Jesus went through, all the shame, the beatings, the blood, nails, thorns, mocking, spitting, slapping, finally a spear in the side, and I am moved to tears, though I am fully aware of the next chapter. Perhaps Jesus was actually sorry that His delay causes Lazarus more pain.

One interesting detail here is that the word translated “wept” is not the same word as in the verse above. That word is more appropriate for mourning and grief. The word used in “Jesus wept” might better be rendered “shed tears”. This word in this form only shows up once in the Bible. Its root is the word “tear” which is more common, is used in two of the accounts of Mary washing Jesus’ feet with her “tears.”

It is also interesting as we ponder this that a couple verses down we see this:

Jesus therefore again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. ~ John 11:38

One of the struggles I have with Jesus doing things in reaction to emotions is that we also know of Jesus that He only does what He sees the Father do. (see John 5:19) So I will ask another question:

What is the relationship of Jesus being “deeply moved within” and the fact that He knew He was coming to raise the dead. I am convinced from the top of the story that Jesus knew Lazarus was coming out of that tomb, He had seen it with the Father. So what does the emotion have to do with it.

I know I am leaving this open ended. This is my whole plan for Friday Q&A. I am hoping for interchange. I would love it if you would interact here. What are your thoughts on the matter? I think we all learn from sharing our ideas, considering and then growing. So share away. It would even be great if you have a lot to say, just blog about it and put a link below.

Oh - and don't forget to go visit Felicia - you will be glad you did! - A  Life  Sanctified

Remember the rules:

Be polite.

Be honest.

Be gentle.

Be friendly.

Ready, GO….

If you have questions of your own you would like to toss around click the Q&A button on the side bar and we'll chat.

%d bloggers like this: