THE TREE OF LIFE by
Jesus Wept or,
Christ's Love at the Grave of Lazarus
"Behold how He loved him." John 11:36
Never did our blessed Lord appear more completely like
Himself as when, dissolved in tears, clad with power, and glowing with love,
He stood by the grave of Lazarus. It would seem as though this was His most
befitting place. He had come from a state of pre-existent glory to destroy
death, and him that had the power of death. He had come to unbar the grave,
to restore life, and to blend His sacred sympathy with man's deep woe. And
now, on an occasion entering deeply into His own personal feelings, and in
the presence of competent witnesses- some fortified with scepticism, others
warped with prejudice, yet others more with hearts bursting with grief- He
presents one of the most touching and signal displays of His power as God,
and of His love and sympathy as man, which marked His illustrious and
eventful life. Let us bend our devout thoughts to the scene before us.
One feature alone will engage our attention- that one enough to employ
our study and wake our praise through eternity-the love which Christ
illustrated and displayed at the grave of Lazarus: "Behold how He loved
him." I am not about to present for your study an affection alien from
yourself- a love in which you have no share. The love which Christ exhibited
for His deceased friend- which first bedewed and then unsealed his grave-
enfolds within its embrace and pillows upon its bosom alike each member of
His elect and redeemed Church; and if you believe that Jesus died and rose
again, if He is all your salvation and all your desire, then I am about to
illustrate a love in which you have a personal, inalienable, and most
"Behold how He loved him!" Such was the exclamation of the Jews as they
gazed with awe and wonder upon the tears of Jesus. They resolved the whole
scene into love. Blinded as they were to His Messiahship, and prejudiced
against His religion, yet the love of the Savior, which had now found so
touching and sympathetic an outlet, inspired their wonder and awoke their
praise. This exclamation of the Jews was but an echo of the expressive
declaration which introduces the narrative, "Now Jesus loved Martha, and her
sister, and Lazarus." Jesus loved them. He loved them from everlasting. He
loved them when He called them by His grace. He loved them in their domestic
relation, and His love now culminates at the grave.
What are some of the leading features of Christ's love as displayed on
the occasion of this bereavement, and which, in similar manifestations,
embraces all His disciples in all places? Oh, that while we meditate upon
this a great love with which Jesus loves us, the theme may enlighten our
minds, warm our hearts, and take captive every power, thought, and affection
for the Savior. We turn now to the instructive incident. The first feature
of Christ's love which it exhibits is seen in the delay which attended His
coming to the sisters in the earliest stage of their anxiety. Lazarus was
sick, but Jesus was not there. This we find in the sixth verse, "When He
heard therefore that he was sick, He abode two days sill in the same place
where He was." It was for this apparent neglect on the part of Christ that
Martha in her impassioned and impetuous grief thus gently chided Him, "Lord,
if you had been here, my brother would not have died."
But the Lord had a reason for His conduct, which He thus condescendingly
explains, "I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent you
may believe." What a striking and instructive feature in the Lord's love is
presented to us here- the delay which often attends His coming to His
people's help. We should have supposed that the moment Jesus heard that
Lazarus was sick, and that his sisters were filled with alarm, He would not
have hesitated in presenting Himself at the door of an abode which He had
often visited when bathed in sunshine, but which He now deserts when
enshrouded in gloom. But oh, how replete with instruction is this incident
of the narrative. It was the delay of love- what a holy lesson of Christian
experience! If the Lord sees proper to suspend for a time His help, to
postpone for a season His coming, He has reasons for His conduct, which do
not in the slightest degree contravene His wisdom, or the great, the tender
love, with which He loves us. And yet how apt are we to misinterpret this
delay, and call in question His love when its manifestation is for a moment
suspended. This was the case with the Church of old, "Zion said, The Lord
has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me." But how does God meet this
charge?- by reproof? -by indignation? Oh no! He meets it like Himself,
gently, lovingly, touchingly, "Can a woman forget her sucking child, that
she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yes, they may forget,
yet will I not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you upon the palms of my
hands; your walls are continually before me."
If possible, still more touching are the accents of His faithful,
unchangeable love towards His people in those remarkable words found in the
54th chapter of Isaiah's prophecy: "For a small moment have I forsaken you;
but with great mercies will I gather you. In a little wrath I hid my face
from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on
you, says the Lord your Redeemer." Is there a stage in your experience, my
reader, corresponding with this? Is there a mysterious pause, a solemn
silence, a strange delay on the part of God in His dealings with you? Is
there a tarrying of the vision, a hiding of His power, a veiling of His
purpose? No immediate response to prayer, no divine interposition on your
behalf, no joy or comforter hope imparted? Does God seem deaf to your
entreaty, Jesus ignorant of your position, or indifferent to your distress?
And are you ready, like the agonized sister, to misinterpret His conduct,
and to chide His delay?
Go to Bethany and learn that the Lord, in this delay, in coming to your
help is but waiting the appointed and the best time to interpose on your
behalf. He is but concealing His purpose to make your deliverance appear all
the more divine, His sympathy all the more tender, His love all the more
faithful. The darkness which, for a moment, obscures the sun of His love
will, when the cloud shall have withdrawn, but deepen its splendor and
heighten its effulgence. He is veiling His designs of mercy and His
loving-kindness, that when He does manifest Himself, He may be all the more
glorious in your eyes and precious to your heart; while you will take a
lower place in the dust, instructed, disciplined, sanctified, by that very
silence which you thought so mysterious, and by that very delay which you
deemed so unkind.
God knows your present position; Jesus is not indifferent to your present
sorrow, and will appear on your behalf. He is cognizant of the need that
presses, of the sickness that alarms, of the bereavement that crushes; and
only waits the ordained, the best time to come to your help, the time that
will give you the most touching, overwhelming demonstration of the great
love with which He loves you! "But the vision is yet for an appointed time,
but at the end it shall speak, and not lie though it tarry, wait for it;
because it will surely come, it will not tarry,"
We find another characteristic of the love of Jesus in the friendship
which subsisted between Him and Lazarus. "Our friend Lazarus sleeps," said
the Lord. The love of Christ is the love of friendship. There is something
exquisitely sweet and costly in the affection of a true, loving, confiding
friend. Real friendship is one of the few blessings of our humanity which
sin, though it has tainted and impaired, has not entirely crushed out. But
where shall we find a friendship like Christ's, so pure and unselfish, sc
constant and real?
There is no sin or infirmity in Jesus. He was without sin. Purer than
light flowing from the sun, or water from the spring, is all that emanates
from Christ. We cannot inhale earth's sweetest flower, or sip its purest
stream, or take to our bosom the choicest friend God has given us, and not
find a secret something which, in a measure, lessens its enjoyment.
But all the blessings which we have in Jesus partake of the pure,
benevolent source from which they flow, and are perfect; and whatever may be
the smiting of His rod, the utterance of His voice, the movement of His
hand, it but reflects the holy and loving nature from where it springs. The
love of Jesus thus toward you is the love of a Friend possessing all the
attributes both of a Divine and human friendship. "I have called you
friends." He admits us to the confidence and affection of His heart, and
asks, in return, that we reciprocate the same, and admit Him to ours.
Oh, what a Friend is the Lord Jesus! how little we know of the reality,
depth, and constancy of His friendship! how faintly we believe in it, how
slow to employ it, how ready to misinterpret it, how prone to wound it! And
yet never was there such a friend as Christ! A Friend loving us at all
times, ever showing Himself friendly- yes, a Friend that sticks closer than
a brother. Yes! "closer than a brother." A brother's heart, in your
adversity, maybe hardened, his door closed, his love and sympathy alienated,
or else, with a will, he maybe powerless to aid you. The wise man says, "Go
not into your brother's house in the day of your calamity: for better is a
neighbor that is near than a brother far off." But Jesus is that Friend who
more than takes a brother's place. He is both a Friend loving at all times,
and a Brother born for adversity.
"A Friend more tender, true,
Than brother e'er can be
Who, when all others bid adieu,
Remains the last to flee;
Who, be their pathway bright or dim,
Deserts not those who turn to Him."
Another feature of the Lord's love as illustrated in the history of
Lazarus is, its resurrection power: Jesus said to Martha, "Your brother
shall rise again." God often sees fit to write the sentence of death upon
His promises and upon our blessings. The Bible is replete with examples of
this. Perhaps, the most eminent and instructive one is that of Abraham. God
made him a great promise, namely, that he should be the father of many
nations, and that in his seed all the nations of the world should be
blessed. But before this promise was fulfilled, age was to impair all the
means naturally leading to its accomplishment. "Being not weak in faith, he
considered not his own body now dead, nor yet the deadness of Sarah's womb."
Thus did God write the sentence of death upon this great and precious
promise before He accomplished it. And even after its accomplishment, and
the son of promise was given, God commanded him to "offer up his only
begotten son, of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall your seed be called;
accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from where
also he received him in a figure." Thus God, as it were, wrote the sentence
of death, first upon the promise, and then upon the blessing, after the
promise was fulfilled. He may deal thus with you- ask the surrender of your
'Isaac,' and when obediently made, yield it back to you again.
And was not this the case with the patriarch Joseph? Long before the
vision of the sheaves should be realized, he was to be sold as a slave and
imprisoned as a criminal, God thus writing death upon the vision. And so was
it with David, king of Israel. God promised him a kingdom, and gave command
to the prophet to anoint him king. But before the promise is fulfilled, it
must apparently die. David is thrust out, became a fugitive and a wanderer
from the vengeance of Saul, is hunted upon the mountains like a partridge,
and hides himself in the dens and caves of the wilderness, like a traitor.
And thus, too, was it with Job. The sentence of death must be inscribed
upon children, and upon substance, and upon health, and upon all his
comforts, before God's purpose of love was accomplished in "blessing his
latter end more than his beginning."
And take that illustrious example of this mode of God's dealing presented
to us in the life of our blessed Lord. How truly did the sentence of death
pass upon Him before "God highly exalted him, and gave him a name which is
above every name." He must first be made of no reputation, must take upon
Him the form of a servant, must be despised, rejected, insulted, slain. All
this must be before He is glorified. Thus was fulfilled His own words,
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, except an ear of wheat fall to the ground
and die, it abides alone; but if it die it brings forth much fruit." Such
are some of the illustrations of this truth that, before -God fulfils a
promise, or bestows a blessing, He often seals it with the impress of death.
But then follows the glorious resurrection! In all the cases we have thus
cited, the bringing back to life of the promise and of the blessing,
followed the death which God wrote upon all. Beloved, there is a
resurrection power in Christ's great love to us. He may permit- as in the
case of Lazarus, the precious blessing to die, but, as in his case, He can
come and stand by the grave that entombs it, and with one word raise it up
to life again. Deem not, then, your mercy gone, your blessing lost, when
death seems to veil it from your view. There is the germ of an imperishable
life in every new covenant, blood-purchased mercy, which no death can kill,
and which no grave can retain. God hides it for a while that He may take its
place. Christ buries it that He may be our All-in-all.
And when the holy lessons are learned, and God takes His rightful place,
and Jesus has the pre-eminence in our hearts, the love of the Lord will give
us back our dead and entombed mercy. What a glorious foreshadowing have we
here of our personal, happy, and eternal re-union with the holy dead! The
sentence of death has passed upon them- the grave contains them- the veil of
the invisible world conceals them from our view. But, at the Lord's second
coming, His trumpet will sound, and the dead in Christ will rise first, and
then will come the complete re-union and the perfect fellowship, when the
risen body is re-united to the glorified spirit, and all the saints, clad in
their resurrection-robes, will meet, recognize, and banquet together at the
marriage supper of the Lamb!
Yes, wait but the Lord's time, and your smitten mercy shall quicken into
life again, your lost joy shall be restored, your departed happiness shall
return, and your buried hope shall rise from the tomb all the brighter for
its transient eclipse. "Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for
the upright in heart." "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the
Another feature of Christ's love most touching and marvellous, as
illustrated by this narrative- is, its sympathy. "Jesus wept." These are
among the most wonderful words recorded in the Bible. They mark the most
exquisitely tender, touching, and expressive incident in His whole life. God
has constituted us emotional beings. He has not only endowed us with
intellect, but also with sensibility. He has given a head to think, and
equally a heart to feel.
The religion of Jesus, as embodied in His own life, was not intended to
congeal the fine feelings of our nature, to crush and annihilate the sweet,
tender sensibilities of our being, to convert us into monsters. His religion
is not the religion of stoicism. It is the religion of God, and is therefore
the religion of love. It is the religion of Incarnate love, of Him who left
the realms of glory and tabernacled in this vale of tears, who exchanged the
anthems of angels for the sighs and groans and tears of men, who was laid in
a manger and sorrowed in Gethsemane- who died upon the cross, and left the
luster and fragrance of His risen life in the tomb. The gospel of Christ
does not therefore petrify our sensibilities, forbid our feelings, or chide
us when we go to the grave to weep there. "Jesus wept," wept from emotion,
wept from sympathy. Is there a more consolatory, soothing view of Christ's
love than this? -it is a compassionate, sympathizing, weeping love. "We have
not a High Priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our
infirmities." "Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto
His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest." He is
touched by our infirmity, sympathizes with our sufferings, weeps with us in
His sympathy is of the highest, purest type. No taint of sin mars it- no
element of selfishness warps it- no ingredient of weakness impairs it. It
never wearies or slumbers, it never chills or forgets. It entwines with our
every cross, attaches to our every burden, and frosts with sparkling light
each darkling cloud. It is not the vapid sentiment of fiction, nor the
morbid sympathy of romance. It is a divine-human reality- the sympathetic
love of the Incarnate God. Let your faith, then, repose with confidence on
the reality of Christ's sympathy with your grief. Deal not with it as a
fable, but as a fact, a gospel fact, an actuality in the experience of all
the afflicted, suffering members of His body.
Oh how sacred and precious are the tears of divine love, the tears of
Jesus! Soothed and sustained by such a sympathy as Christ's, we may well
drink meekly the cup our Father mingles; we can well afford to be severed
from all other sympathy, and weep out our sorrow in lonely places.-Jesus
weeping with us by the couch of languor, by the bed of darkness, and at the
grave of buried love. O you afflicted one, tossed with tempest and not
comforted, refuse not this cup of consolation which the Holy Spirit, the
Comforter, would give you- the sympathy of your Lord and Savior, your Friend
and Brother in the time of your calamity. Yield yourself to its irresistible
power, and it will draw you submissively to His feet, and hush to rest your
sobbing heart upon His bosom.
But there is a practical lesson taught us in the tears of Jesus, which we
must not overlook. If there is any one thing in the saints of God more
unlike Christ than another, it is a hard, unfeeling, unsympathizing spirit
towards others- the spirit that looks coldly upon those who through sinful
infirmity may have erred: who have been overtaken by a fault and have
fallen- or, who are enduring some severe persecution for truth,- or, are
bearing some heavy cross for Jesus,- or, are passing under the correcting
rod of their heavenly Father. Oh, did we drink more deeply into the spirit
of Christ, were we more like Him, patient and gentle, tender and loving, we
should go forth among the frail, the afflicted, the mourning, bearing the
honored title of, "Sons of Consolation."
Let us cease, then, to censure and condemn, to reveal the shame, and
speak of the faults and frailties of others; and, in the spirit of
self-condemnation, let us, like Jesus, learn to weep with those that weep,
while we rejoice with those that rejoice. Then shall we be as the dew in all
places where the Lord directs our steps- we shall support the weak, and
raise the fallen, we shall strengthen those who are combating with
infirmity, and cheer on those who are struggling against sin; we shall
sweeten with honey the cup of gall, and gild with sunshine the cloud of woe,
and so prove ourselves true disciples of Him who took upon Him our sorrows,
bore our sicknesses, and who went about doing good. Does Jesus weep with
you? Go you and weep with others.
One more feature. The love of Jesus is a spiritual, life- restoring love.
This is beautifully brought out in the words which He addressed to Martha,
"Your brother shall rise again." The love of Jesus is the love of essential
life: what a thought is this! What a view it gives us of the reality, power,
and preciousness of this love. It restores to life. What love other than a
Divine, Essential love could do this? In its spiritual sense how true and
blessed is this fact. Are we truly converted? Are we living souls? Has the
life-giving love of Jesus wakened us from our spiritual sleep, unsealed our
grave, and said to us "Live?" In a word, is Christ our life?
"Your brother shall rise again." Is the soul of him you love wrapped in
the profound sleep of spiritual death? Has nothing prevailed to raise it?
Has warning failed? Has threatening failed? Has judgment failed? Has mercy
failed? Have the thunders of the law rolled, and the lightnings of justice
flashed over that grave, and it still remains unopened? Have the beams of
goodness shone upon it, and the dews of mercy distilled upon it, and is it
still sealed? Now let Jesus draw near, and with tears of compassion like
those which He wept over Jerusalem, and with a voice like that which raised
Lazarus from the sleep of death, address Himself to the spiritual
resurrection of the dead, and your brother- your long sinning, long dead,
long buried brother- shall rise -and the voice of life-giving love shall do
The power of Christ's life-giving love is not less exhibited in the
providential dealings of God in our history. I venture once more to recur to
this thought, so important is it, that God often sees fit in infinite wisdom
and righteousness to write the sentence of death upon His promises and upon
our blessings. In the words of the apostle, "We have the sentence of death
in ourselves," and there is the sentence of death upon the blessings, upon
the promises, and upon all the means leading to their fulfilment. Is God
thus dealing, beloved, with you? Is the blessing dead? Has the sentence of
death passed upon the promise? Is the barrel of meal failing, the cruse of
oil exhausting? Is the human arm upon which you so fondly leaned powerless
in death? and the friend upon whom you so long relied gone? Listen to the
words of love as they flow from the Savior's lips, "Your brother shall rise
His mercy, beloved, is not dead, but sleeps. The promise is not dead, but
slumbers; there is life in the blessing- there is immortality in the
promise, because there is life Essential, restoring life in the Promiser.
That mercy enshrouded by the shadows of the tomb- that mercy once possessed
but now gone- that promise once given but still delayed, has enfolded within
it a deathless being, and the resurrection-power of the Savior's love shall
restore it again to life, all the more loved, loving, and precious, by the
very discipline which for a while veiled it from your view.
Thus the love of Christ possesses essential life within itself, imparting
life to all it effectually touches. It will fulfil the promise upon which
you rest, even though the sentence of death be written upon all the means
which lead to its fulfilment. He will restore to you the blessing which long
delay in coming to your help seemed for a while to have robbed you. "Your
brother shall rise again." Thus Jesus gave back to Martha and Mary their
dead and interred brother.
Oh, what a blessing to them now was the very loss of the blessing they
mourned! They never knew so much of Jesus as they learned during those four
days that Lazarus lay in his winding-sheet within the tomb. A lifetime of
divine and holy teaching, of spiritual and experimental experience, was
compressed within the space of those four days of bereaved grief. Beloved
reader, the Lord intends that the very loss of your mercy shall be a greater
blessing to you than the possession of the mercy lost! If the Holy Spirit
sanctify it, if it leads you closer to God, if Jesus steps in and fills the
void, you shall be richer and holier and happier than when you once clasped
the now vanished and buried blessing to your heart.
He intends by its very removal to enlarge your experience, to increase
your knowledge, to deepen your holiness, to enrich you with all spiritual
blessing, and to endear Himself sevenfold to your heart. You shall now learn
more of the character of God, know more of the heart of Christ, partake more
richly of the inworking of the Holy Spirit, and realize more fully your
calling and election than has yet been your experience.
And what a shadowing forth, as previously remarked, have we here of the
certain and glorious resurrection of the saints! The resurrection of Lazarus
was a type, as the resurrection of Christ was the pledge, of the final
resurrection of the just. "Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the
first fruits of those who slept." The same voice which said, "Lazarus, come
forth!" will wake the peaceful slumbers of all who sleep in Him.
Believers anticipate too faintly the resurrection-glory that awaits them
when Christ, who is "the Resurrection and the Life," will raise us from the
dust, and fashion our bodies like unto His own glorious body, according to
the power whereby He is able to subdue all things unto Himself. Oh what a
blessing the first resurrection will be! No more sin- no more deformity- no
more infirmity- no more pain- no more death. We shall be raised a spiritual
body- the material, the gross, the perishable forever annihilated; and we
shall re-enter the same body, personally and identically the same which we
bore about with us on earth, but now spiritualized, re-organized, and
adorned with all the beauty of holiness.
"Arrayed in glorious grace
Shall these vile bodies shine,
And every face and every shape
Look heavenly and divine."
But we must not overlook the marvellous display of the union of the
divine and the human nature of our Lord which now transpired. Jesus never
appeared more truly GOD, nor yet more really MAN, as now. As Man He wept
tears of sympathy over the grave of Lazarus; as God He unsealed it; as Man
He mourned the dead; as God He raised the dead to life. Here is blended in
marvellous union all the tenderness and sympathy of the human, with all the
power and majesty of the divine. Such is the Savior with whom we now are
privileged to do.
Because He is God-man, He is able to save to the uttermost all who come
unto the Father by Him. His atoning death- sealed and accepted by His
resurrection from the grave- has provided a full and free salvation for
every penitent believing, sinner. Do you feel yourself sinful,
self-destroyed, and lost? His Holy Spirit has taught you this, and now you
have nothing to do but to accept in faith the full atonement and sacrifice
the Lord Jesus has made to God for your sins, and you shall be saved! Within
the great love with which He loved Lazarus He is prepared to enfold you. The
voice which brought him back from the dead is ready to pierce your spiritual
grave and raise you into newness of life. Listen to His words, "Verily,
verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall
hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live."
Have you thus heard the life-giving voice of Jesus? Rest not until the
question is fairly answered by the Holy Spirit's sealing testimony in your
conscience, that Christ is the life of your soul. Oh that voice of Jesus! it
is the strongest, yet the sweetest; the most powerful, yet the most gentle
voice ear ever heard! It is the VOICE OF LOVE! "Behold how He LOVED him!"
Remember that Jesus is with you at the grave when you go there to weep. He
will, too, accompany your body when those who love you bear the sacred
remains of what was once a "temple of the Holy Spirit" to their final
resting place. And when they slowly and sadly return from the solemn scene,
and leave you there in lonely silence, Christ will watch over your sleeping
dust with an eye of love that never wearies until that day when "all who are
in the grave shall hear His voice, and come forth; those who have done good
unto the resurrection of life; and those who have done evil, unto the
resurrection of damnation."
"The resurrection of damnation!" solemn words! but not more solemn than
the final state of the ungodly to which they refer. The awfulness and
solemnity of that state no language can describe. There will be a
resurrection of all- of the just and of the unjust. But God has put a marked
difference between the two, both as it regards the time and the character of
the event. A thousand years will intervene between the first and the second
resurrections. "Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first
resurection; on such the second death shall have no power, but they shall be
priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years."
My reader, for which of these two resurrections are you preparing? The
resurrection of life or the resurrection of damnation? A part you must have
in one or in the other. The resurrection of damnation! What is it? It is to
rise to shame and everlasting contempt. It is to rise with all your sins
unatoned, unpardoned. It is to rise with all your sinful affections, and
carnal passions, and evil habits still and forever clinging to your being.
It is to rise clad in the robe of eternal death, and to join in the dirge of
mourning, lamentation, and woe, whose dismal sounds will burst from every
churchyard, from every cemetery, and from every sea, on that dread morning.
It is to rise but to sink into the abyss of endless woe!
Are you prepared for so fearful a catastrophe? Are you resolved upon so
terrible a doom? If not, then fly to Jesus without a moment's delay. Seek
immediately spiritual resurrection with Christ now, that you may partake of
the "first fruits of those who sleep in Him,'' and so have your "part in the
first resurrection." He is willing and He is able to save you. Your sins
shall not debar you. Your unworthiness shall not exclude you. Your age shall
not discourage you. Christ receives sinners and He will net reject you. But
you must come as you are, and accept His salvation as it is. You must come
empty, priceless, worthless, and receive as the free gift of God's grace,
the salvation which no worthiness could merit, and which no price could
The same redeeming love that raised up Lazarus from the grave, is
prepared, if prayerfully and earnestly sought, to raise you from a death of
sin into a life of righteousness. Son of God! Speak the word, and the soul
shall come forth! O You who are the Resurrection and the Life- whose great
love led You to die that we might live- cause me to feel the power of Your
resurrection, that I may live by You, and live upon You, and live for You
now: and that when the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised
incorruptible, I may rise to glory, honor, immortality, and eternal life,
and live with You forever. O You whose love wept at the grave of Lazarus,
let those warm tears of love fall on me- even me!
Jesus wept! Why, Savior, did you weep?
What meant Your sighs and falling tears?
Could You not break the dreamer's sleep,
And rob the grave of all its fears?
That man, poor sinful man should shed
A thousand drops of bitter grief
That on his curse-devoted head
Earth's woes should pour without relief
Were but the gall his hands have wrung
From fruit of sin's forbidden tree
His pangs are but a conscience stung
By poison fangs he cannot flee.
But, Savior, You no sin did know
Your holy heart from guilt was free;
From Your pure soul no grief could flow
The tears You shed were not for You!
No, no, but Your responsive heart
Thrilled to the wail of others' woe;
You felt Your soft affections start,
When others' tears began to flow.
When Martha's sobbing voice awoke
The music of a brother's name;
When Martha's gushing spirit spoke
In sad responsive tones the same;
Oh, then, from purest sympathy,
Your meekly lifted eyes did weep,
And from Your heart's deep fountain clear,
Your friendly, jeweled tears did leap!
The wasting form before You laid,
Immured in cold Corruption's cave,
To You, O Savior, was not dead
You mighty Conqueror of the grave!
You knew that Your Almighty Word
Would pierce the cold dull ear of Death;
That at the summons of the Lord
The wasting lungs would heave with breath.
You knew that before Your tears were dry
Lazarus upon Your neck would weep;
That before was hushed the sister's sigh,
Her bounding heart with joy would leap;
You wept; but oh, 'twas not the grief
Of Mary, Martha's heavy heart
Your tender soul sought sweet relief
To share in others' griefs a part.
Perhaps Your heaven-directed eye
Beheld, before the Great White Throne,
The weeping spirit backward fly,
Again in cumbrous flesh to groan.
Perhaps the motive of Your sigh
Is Lazarus- not his sister's tears
Not in the grave, but in the sky,
The cause of grief, perhaps, appears.
As on a rude and treacherous tide,
The storm-chased sailor sighs for home,
And long, 'mid heaving waters wide,
Prays for a safe and quick return.
And when, at last, far off he sees
His snow-white cottage on the shore,
He bends to Heaven his grateful knees,
Thanks God for sight of home once more.
When, bounding to the long-sought shore,
With kiss a waiting mother greets,
And, safe within his cottage door,
To friends at home his toils repeats
Could then some hard and sad decree.
Tear him from fond parental arms,
And hurl him back beyond the sea,
Again to battle with its storms,
Oh, then his failing heart might know
What grief a sainted spirit pure
Who's left this stormy world below,
And made the port of bliss secure.
Endures, when summoned from the skies,
To wear his load of flesh again;
To fight once more to win the prize;
Again to sin and suffer pain.
So thus t'was fit, Your power to prove,
And stubborn unbelief to slay,
To drag a spirit from above
To dwell once more in house of clay.
No doubt You also did bewail
Man's sin and bold rebellion vile;
What curses over his heart prevail
How guilt and sin his soul defile.
No doubt, the thought of Joseph's tomb,
Which open for Your body lay,
Cast over Your mind a saddening gloom,
And wrapped Your soul in dread dismay.
The grave a lesson had for You,
Which man, alas! too rarely heeds;
It told how dreadful sin must be
Which such severe chastisement needs.
At Lazarus' grave this truth I scan,
While faith its sacred silence trod:
Your gushing tears have proved You MAN,
The bursting grave has proved You GOD.