Others Devotional, volume 22

God Was the First to Cry by Larry Baker

Scripture:  “Jesus wept.” Daniel 5:13-17

In the movie, Selma, 27 year-old Jimmy Lee Jackson was fatally gunned down in a restaurant by a white state trooper. Jackson, a peaceful advocate for voting rights back in 1964, was sitting down to eat with his grandfather, Mr. Cager Lee, when he was senselessly killed in the Alabama town of Selma.

The next scene shows a pensive Lee identifying the body of his grandson in the county morgue. Dr. Martin Luther King, in a dramatic and emotional moment, approaches the distraught 82 year-old grandfather in the basement of the building where the body laid. The two men face each other, both fighting back tears, and Dr. King is the first to speak. “There are no words to soothe your pain,” he whispers, choking back the emotion, “there are no words.” They continue to look at each other through tear-filled eyes and King continues. “But I can tell you one thing for certain. God was the first to cry for your boy. He was the first to cry.”

It was a similar scene in the town of Bethany. The morgue was more of a hillside cemetery, but the man lying there was just as dead as Jimmy Lee Jackson had been in Selma, Alabama. The dead man was Lazarus and his sister Mary was as distraught as Grandpa Lee. As Jesus approached, I can imagine a scene just as emotional, just as poignant, as the scene from Selma.

Jesus wept. Jesus, the very God of the universe, wept. Those two words give us a glimpse into the character of Christ. We are told he was deeply moved in spirit.

We don’t serve a God who feels sorry for us when we suffer. We don’t worship a God who protects us from pain and helps us avoid all suffering. We worship and serve a God who suffers with us. He feels the same pain. He shares in the heartache.

And we’re called to be like him.

Others – It’s Not About Us. Look around on your middle school or high school campus. Look beyond it. Do you see suffering? Do you experience suffering yourself? Do you cause it? Injustice happens. It happens in bathrooms. It happens on school buses. Even late at night from cell phones and computer keyboards, your classmates suffer unjustified and unnecessary abuse. It is sometimes a result of being too smart or not smart enough, or weighing too much, or wearing the wrong clothes, or talking a little funny, or having the wrong last name or the wrong skin color. Sometimes it comes from just wanting to do the right thing.

believe empathy is a necessary attribute in the Christian life. Empathy is the capacity to feel another person’s pain. Jesus demonstrated more than empathy when he was driven to tears at the tomb of his friend Lazarus. He shared in Mary’s suffering. May we have the same mind as that of Christ Jesus.

Prayer: Father, thank you for being a God who cries with us in our suffering. We praise you for your promise and our hope for a world without tears. We pray for your Spirit to dwell in each of us as we seek and work towards that kingdom here on earth. Amen.

About the Author: Today’s author goes by many names. To many he is known as Mr. Baker. To a select few, he is called Dad. To one, and only one, he is called Babe. And as of Thursday, February 16 at 10:20 am, there is one little guy who can call him Grandpa.

Originally published on March 3, 2017.

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