Who says, “big boys don’t cry?”

Pastor Jeff Struecker

Last week I told you this week would be awesome, and I hope it doesn’t disappoint you. What we started learning about a few weeks ago are human capacities. God gave human beings gifts that separate us from all other aspects of creation. He gave us gifts like mountains and trees, birds and fish. Even the animals themselves don’t have these gifts as we do. 

We started learning that God gave us these gifts for His glory and our good. So last week, we talked about the gift of reason, and I want to ask you, have you reasoned with somebody about Jesus lately? Have you started talking to somebody about what you believe and why you believe it? This week, we will talk about the capacity for human emotion. And we’re going to see one of those famous verses in the bible. 

It’s not the shortest verse in the bible that everybody likes to quote Jesus wept, but it’s in the same story, and I’m going to use this verse from the bible. I had to look at a couple of different bible translations to make sure that I gave you the real weight of what this verse is trying to say. Here’s the backstory, Jesus has some good friends named Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Mary and Martha are sisters. Their brother, Lazarus, gets sick, and they call to Jesus, who’s out of town doing his thing. And they say, Jesus, you need to stop what you’re doing, and you need to come back right away because our brother Lazarus is sick, and he’s almost dead. But Jesus doesn’t show up right away. He waited for several days, and when he did show up, Lazarus was already dead. 

Now, of course, when he shows up, Mary and Martha are distraught. You would be too if you just lost your only brother. They come to Jesus, and they’re looking to Jesus because they’re hurting, and Jesus has this theological discussion with Mary during this conversation. 

I don’t want to talk about the theological discussion. I don’t even want to talk about the words that Jesus says to her about eternal life, though I think there are some of the essential words in the entire bible about eternal life. 

I want you to hear what the bible says about Jesus’s emotion because sometimes we get to the point where we feel like, “If I were a better Christian, I would control my emotion better. If I weren’t so emotional, I wouldn’t be so scatterbrained, or I wouldn’t draw so much attention and embarrass myself so often.” I need you to stop thinking that way if that’s how you feel because, in this situation in John Chapter 11, Jesus shows real and very powerful emotion. 

And because Jesus is the ultimate example of what it means to be human. You and I should try to emulate Jesus, act like Jesus, and represent Jesus in everything that we do. This means we should let our emotions represent Jesus, and our emotions should follow Jesus’s emotions. 

I want to put a verse from John 11:33, and I want you to commit this verse to memory. Here’s what the bible says when Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her. 

Memory Verse

I need you to understand the word anger because I have heard many Christians say that it’s always wrong to get angry, and I want to tell them that’s just not accurate. In fact, the perfect man got furious in this situation, and not only was he angry, but some bible translations used a different phrase. This version says he was deeply troubled. Some say that he mourned in his spirit. 

I’ve often thought about this particular phrase, ‘Jesus got very angry.’ I’ve often wondered what made him so angry about this? Because there’s a woman, he cares deeply about who is broken over the loss of her brother, Lazarus. He is hurt because they’re hurting, but he gets angry at this point, and I can’t help but wonder, is he angry at sin? Is he angry at death? Is he angry because he knows this is not the world that he created, and human beings were never designed to die, but we are all going to taste death because of sin?

I don’t want to get off on a tangent on why exactly Jesus was angry, but I want you to hear from the bible that he was hurting because they were hurting. He was angry. He was deeply moved by what he saw. This is Jesus showing real emotion. 

And I’ve got a question that I want you to think about, and I want you to think about the implications. Here’s the question.

A Challenge

Now, I’m not asking who is the person you’ve heard make that statement. I am trying to figure out where that statement came from? Something about that statement feels very wrong to me because this statement may suggest to some people that when you become an adult, not only do you not show emotion but that you don’t feel emotion. 

Human emotion is a gift from God, and you don’t even have to apologize for crying when you are hurt and for crying when the situation is sad. That’s a genuine emotion that God gave his people, and Jesus himself showed that kind of emotion. 

Not only was he deeply angry. Not only was he deeply moved, but he was moved to the point that he wept, and the phrase there in the bible makes it sound like it wasn’t just little polite tears, but he was heaving up and down sobbing at the pain that his friends were experiencing.