Millions flocked to Washington to witness a moment in history. A charismatic, mortal man took an oath on the Word of God to uphold his duties as president of our country. We see thousands of people line up for pictures or even glimpses of so-called celebrities. I often wonder if Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, was here with us now, how many people would flock to Him as they did to the inaugural extravaganza. People swamped, crowded, and followed Christ during His time as man. I say that we as the church need a revival in that we need to have the faith that those first believers had. Yes, they may appear selfish because they wanted something from Him, but are we any different? Our failed, human nature has not changed much if any. Regardless of why they followed Christ, they followed Him because they believed. They believed with an unshakable faith. With that being said, the real topic of today’s message is not the real faith of the people, but the unbelievable compassion of Almighty God.
John the Baptist had been killed. John the Baptist not only was the one sent to pave the way for the Messiah, he baptized Christ, and was His cousin as well. When Jesus “was told” as scripture teaches, he reacted in a very human manner.
When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
We all have bad days. When those bad days come we either coil up like a rattlesnake and strike or we retreat in our shells and hide. Each person reacts differently to bad days. Jesus being God knows all that will and has happened. He knew John was going to be killed. When it occurred, He being fully man as well as God felt the pain that we all struggle with when we lose a loved one. Jesus wanted to be alone and went to a solitary place. As the scripture teaches word got out and people followed Him. Now this is where things get complicated. Jesus was grieved. His human nature demanded He have a few moments alone. But in that moment, the crowd of people needed Him more than He needed to be alone. Look at what it says: he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Jesus practiced what He preached. Jesus, the Living God, the Son of Man, who lived a sinless life, gives another example of His love. In the midst of His sorrow, He continued doing the Father’s will. A different time Christ was asked what must be done to achieve salvation.
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
Jesus denied Himself time to mourn to heal those who needed Him. He literally took up the cross. How many of us can say we think of others much less do for others as Christ did and still does by the way when we are troubled by the world?
Many times we are taught that tears are bad and those who shed them are weak. Real men and such don’t cry, but that is so wrong! John 11:35 is the shortest verse in the Bible, but it too speaks volumes concerning Christ’s humanity. Lazarus, a friend to Christ, had been dead for four days. Jesus knew the outcome already but he waited. He was told that Lazarus was sick. He did not go to him. It was not that He wanted those He cared for to suffer, but He waited so that the Father could be glorified. When Jesus is told of his friend’s death, he did the most natural of all human emotions. John 11:35 says simply, Jesus wept. He cried. I in my heart am sure today that Jesus wept for Lazarus. I am sure today that Jesus weeps when people deny Him. Those who deny Christ also deny the Father. I am sure today that Jesus weeps for those of us who have confessed Him as Lord, but have not stayed true to His teachings. Brothers and sisters do not make Jesus weep. He loved us so much that He gave His very life for us. Remember His words, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”