Wonderful Counselor

Featuring Toby Baxley Posted on March 25, 2008

Jesus wept.

I’m not kidding. That is actually the scripture reading for the day. Here is a verse that I have overlooked many times in my reading, but after visiting a church in New York and hearing it used as an illustration in a sermon, it has meaning I had never discovered before.

For the purpose of our devotion today, I would like to submit to you that the power in this verse is where it falls in this story. Jesus went to Bethany because he heard that his dear friend, Lazarus, had died. When he got there, Lazarus had already been dead for four days. Both Martha and Mary came to meet Jesus at different points in the story, and they both had the exact same thing to say to Him.

“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

Knowing what we know about Martha and Mary from their story at the end of Luke 10, the way Jesus responds to each of them individually is nothing short of profound.

Jesus answered the “matter-of-fact” Martha with the truth, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” He answered the tenderhearted Mary with tears. Jesus wept with her.

In our ministry of encouragement to each other and to those who don’t yet know Jesus, we would do well to take the lead from our Wonderful Counselor. Some people need to be encouraged with the truth, and others just need someone to cry with them. On any given day, those needs may change. Truth gives credibility to tears and tears gives compassion to truth. We need to be ready at all times to minister with a healthy dose of both.

Father, give us wisdom to minister with the truth, compassion to minister with tears, and the discernment to realize who needs what.