How many `Real Men’ are reading this today? How are you determining if you are a “Real man”? Is it how hard you can hit or how well you can take a punch? Is it how many girls you
kissed or had sex with? Is it how much booze you can drink or what kind of car you drive? Maybe you measure your manliness on how much money you have or how tough you think you are? Would you dare measure up your manliness to how much you cry? Do men Cry? Should men cry?
As a member of the masculine sex, I will let you in on a secret. We (men) typically judge ourselves and each other by the following standards as well as others. It’s sort of a macho club we think we must belong to. Capitalizing on this ideology in the early 80’s, author Bruce Feirstein wrote a book called, ’Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche’. In this book, he introduced us to Flex Crush, a 225 pound nuclear waste driver who claimed to be one of the last Real Men in existence. After eating a breakfast that would normally feed 4 men, Flex is quoted as saying…
” We’ve become a nation of wimps, Pansies, and Quiche eaters. Alan Alda types – who cook and clean and relate to their wives.”
Two Types of Men
Flex went on to say that there were only two types of men in the world today… Those who eat quiche and those that don’t. He followed with a list of things that Real men do and don’t do:
* Real Men:
- Eat meat and potatoes.
- Hunt big game.
- Bust broncos.
- Don’t know how to cook.
- Do NOT cry.
- Don’t feel things like sorrow, pity, love, warmth, and sincerity.
- Do not relate to anything.
- They do not have meaningful dialogues.
- They do not talk about personal space and shared experiences.
- Realize that while birds, flowers, poetry, and small children do not add up to the quality of life in quite the same manner as a Super Bowl and six-pack of Bud, he’s learned to appreciate them anyway.
- Above all else…Real men Don’t eat quiche
I’m a quiche eater too!
It’s confession time! My name is Eduardo Quintana and I’m a quiche eater, and I want you to be a quiche eater too. I’ll let you in on a secret; not only do I eat quiche, but I help make them too! But what is a ’Real man’? I found an awesome bible verse that sums it all up in one verse.
John 11:35 Jesus Wept
Two little words that pack a wallop. You’ve heard the saying about walk softly and carry a big stick, haven’t you? Well this is God’s big stick.
Most of the time when you hear of this verse, it is usually associated with trivia, being that it’s the shortest verse in the Bible. But rarely is much more said about it. Do you even know why Jesus wept? Sure you know it has to do with the raising of Lazarus from the dead, but do you know why he wept? This is one of only two times that it is recorded that Jesus wept, but do you know why he wept? Jesus knew what the outcome was going to be, the raising of Lazarus, so why did he weep?
Let me tell you why Jesus cried.
We’re going discuss why Jesus wept, though John was never specific as to why. But
more importantly, today we are going to discover why we should be thankful that we have a God that will weep for us. Contrary to what the 80’s mantra was….Real Men do cry.
So let’s start off with a little background to the story. Jesus and his disciples were out preaching in the villages beyond Jordan. When they received word that Lazarus was very sick. Now Lazarus wasn’t just a casual acquaintance but someone, along with his two sisters Martha and Mary, that Jesus was real fond of and spent much time with whenever possible. So naturally one would assume that Jesus would rush right back to his bedside…do the little touching thing and heal his friend.
Oh but what limited minds we have! Do you know the new term “thinking outside of the box” that everyone seems to be using now-a-days? Well, it’s not new! This is what Jesus was doing. Jesus waited two days before He started heading back. He knew Lazarus was going to be dead long before he got there. Jesus was thinking outside the box! He was going to turn an ordinary healing into a miracle.
Not Going to Happen!
He even sent word back to the family that it would be for God’s Glory that he delayed his return. I doubt if that made Lazarus or his sisters feel any better! I assume that Mary and Martha were figuring that Jesus was really dissing their brother and blowing it off because it was just something God was going to use for his Glory.
And I can see those two getting together and really seething about Jesus’ seemingly callous attitude towards their brother. “Why that little son-of-a-virgin!” They didn’t want any lecture about how glorious this would be for God, they wanted him there to suffer with them. At the very least “he should have been here for the burial”.
But that was not to be. Four days after his burial Jesus strolls in with his entourage and the two sisters took him to task over his tardiness. Each one said the same thing….Martha in verse 20 and Mary in verse 32.
“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died”
What a ‘cutting-to-the-bone’ type of question to ask one whom you acknowledge as Lord God!
But haven’t WE asked the same thing? How many times have we waited just like they did? “Why isn’t Jesus here when we need him?” “Why doesn’t God hurry up and do something?” “Where were you, God on September 11?”
Has Jesus disappointed you? You’ve prayed, but no answers have come. You’ve pleaded, but God has delayed. Waited, but he hasn’t arrived. Held the funeral, but he didn’t attend. Or so it seemed. Where are you waiting for God to show up and be God for you?
We don’t know why Jesus waits, and we don’t know why God waits. No amount of theologizing and explaining can satisfy us while we wait, and wait we do.
But you know what?
Something critically important happens to us while we are waiting. Life is lived while we wait. Faith is proved while we wait. Hope is tested while we wait.
Yet we still have that nagging question, why did Jesus weep? He already knew the rest of the story. He already knew that Lazarus was to be raised from the dead and that Mary and Martha would be joyful again.
So why did he weep?
There are no shortages of answers for that question. Various theologians have offered reasons for it over the years. Here are a few of the reasons some people have offered as to why Jesus wept:
Some argued that Jesus was crying for the crowd because of their lack of faith. He looked deep into their hearts and realized that they did not understand him or his mission. They didn’t understand the matters about life and death the way he did. They didn’t understand that he had the power to bring Lazarus back to life. He was weeping for the crowd because they didn’t believe in him.
Reason #2Some say Jesus was weeping because he hated to bring Lazarus back from heaven. He knew that heaven was a wonderful place, and he was crying because he had to bring him back to earth to show his glory.
Others say Jesus was weeping tears of rage at the evil of death and sin. He grieved because of the sinfulness of humans and the death that followed that sin into the world.
Many say that Jesus was weeping for himself. He was crying in anticipation of his own death. He knew that the miracle he was about to perform would inflame the situation in Jerusalem and turn the Pharisees against him. And, in fact, John says that’s exactly what happened after this miracle. He was weeping because he was thinking about his own coming death on the cross
A More Revealing Answer
Now these are all viable options as to why Jesus wept. John is not specific as to why and we must draw upon our own Theology of Jesus as Christ. Personally I see the human side of Jesus coming through.
I see a fifth and much more viable reason for why he cried. Very simply put, Jesus cried because he cared. Simple and too the point.
If you look at verse 33;
33When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34″Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
Did you catch that at the end of verse 33? When Jesus saw her weeping, as well as the Jews around her, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.
He cried for the same reason we cry at funerals and he grieved with Mary and Martha. Jesus loved them and Lazarus. He grieved that Lazarus had died. He identified with their pain and he understood their tears. That’s what friends do. They cry when you cry.
When Jesus wept he was saying to us “I know what grief is all about. I know this is not the way it was meant to be and I know that death is awful. Jesus is saying, I know that separation from those you love is horrible, especially when their time is cut short due to the irresponsibility of other free-willed human beings.
Let me tell you a little story that will put it all into context for you. There are many different versions of this story out there but they pretty much all get the same point across.
There was this little girl who came home late one day from school and her mother was pretty upset about it. Her mother really started to rant and rave over the fact that she was so late until she finally settled down enough to ask her why she was late.
The girl told her mother that today was show and tell and that Sarah had brought a china doll that her grandmother had given her and on the way home she dropped it and it broke and she stayed to help her. Her mother’s tone instantly changed and she told the little girl how proud she was that she stopped to help Sarah fix her china doll.
The little girl replied instantly and said, “No Mommy the doll was too broke to fix, I just stayed to help Sarah cry”.
Jesus is like that
How Jesus-like this little girl was. She didn’t offer any advice, any funny story or even a piece of chocolate cake to cheer her up. She simply sat down and helped her cry.
That’s why Jesus cried. He was helping Mary cry and he knew the miracle that was about to take place, but he was moved and troubled. He had compassion for them in their sorrow.
If there is comfort in the presence of Jesus, there must also certainly be compassion.
Jesus wept. This was God’s big stick. Those two words speak volumes about who Jesus is. Jesus is still weeping for us, or should I say, with us right now. When we cry, he’s right there beside us doing the same thing.
Across the street from the bombed out Federal Building in Oklahoma City, where 168 people died needlessly and senselessly, there stands a memorial. At the heart of that memorial is a nine foot statue of Jesus. But this statue is not one of a stony Jesus with arms out wide like you may have seen in the Ozarks or in Brazil. No, this is a nine foot statue of Jesus with his face in his hands, turned slightly away from where the acts of terror took place, and the plaque reads, “And Jesus Wept.”
Jesus wept! Is he any less of a man for it? Would any of you like to look Jesus in the eye and tell him he’s not a real man because he cries? I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t because I think the very act of him crying showed just how much of a Real Man he was. And I want to be just like him.
I’m a crybaby at heart.
My eyes tear up at the drop of a hat. And judging from the fact that my size is bigger than most of you, I doubt if you would tell me either that I wasn’t a Real Man. But you know, I’ve had great comfort knowing that God helps me cry. He helps me feel the pain. And he tells me when I’ve cried enough.
A few years back, I had a dog that I truly loved. Snoopy was a Beagle, a 13 inch Beagle that my wife and I adopted. He had a horrible skin issue that made him break out and made him very uncomfortable. Snoopy also shed so much hair that it got annoying! But we loved him!
Snoopy grew old and week. He was unable to climb a single stair without help. After all, he was 17 years old! That’s like 92 human years! He was not in too much pain, but his skin issues had to be uncomfortable for him. Snoopy was a trooper through all this for as much pain and discomfort that he was in, he never showed it to me when he was with me. His tail wagged and tongue hung out just as much as the day we got him. During this time in our lives, I was traveling to another city for five days and coming home for two.
I was afraid that one day I would cet that call that Snoopy had died. So, I decided one day to have my wife take a week off her job and come with me to Houston. So, we took a road trip, My wife, Snoopy and I. We took Snoopy to Kemah Boardwalk where he watched in amazement as the sale boats left and came back. He sat next to us as we took in the beautiful sights. It was a fun week for all of us.
The week was over, and life went back to normal. For another week, I would be in Houston and my wife and Snoopy would be back home in San Antonio. Then, I went home one Sunday night to spend my two days off with my wife and dog at home. It’s like Snoopy was waiting for me to come home. Snoopy had taken a turn for the worse that week and his kidneys began to shut down. I came home that Sunday night and Snoopy wanted to be right next to me.
That night, he slept next to me and he began to whimper. Snoopy turned and licked me one last time. I held him tighter as I felt his life slip away. And I cried. My wife had to leave because she started crying too. Here I was a 40 year old man bawling my head off over my friend. We knew that this was best for Snoopy, and I know God was helping me that day as well. After a while God finally tugged on me and told me that it was enough. And I instantly felt relief. Sure, I missed my Snoopy, but God helped me through it.
And you know what? The things that are hurting you right now, at this very moment, brings tears to his eyes. What ever you are struggling with, God is hurting with you. He is deeply moved in spirit and troubled just as he was with Mary.
Today let us be thankful that we have a God that hurts with us. That cries with us. A God that would eat Quiche.
A final quote from my Pastor at the church I attend;
“I find it quite comforting that God not only walks with me through tough times, but that he hurts with me as well.”
Pastor Matthew Bell – Destiny Church