Jesus wept. This is the shortest
commentary of Jesus' prayer in the gospel of John. The essence of
this cry was the expression of the Father's greatest cry of
compassion for humanity! The truth of God's compassion is vividly
highlighted in the book of Hosea. Hosea was a contemporary of the
prophet, Amos, and his final prophetic word was released just before
the downfall of Israel in 722 BC.
The book of Hosea portrays two
human relationships to picture vividly God's endearing love: That
between husband and wife, and father and son. In the first
relationship, God instructs Hosea, "Go, take yourself a wife of
harlotry and children of harlotry, for the land has committed great
harlotry by departing from the Lord" (Hos 1:2).
In loving obedience, Hosea marries
a prostitute named Gomer, and she bears him two sons and a daughter.
God names each of the children and employs their names as prophetic
signposts to speak to Israel. Then He commands Hosea, "Go again,
love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery,
just like the love of the Lord for the children of Israel, who look
to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans" (Hos 3:1).
However, God remains faithful towards His unfaithful wife, the
whoring nation which persists in committing adultery against Him.
The second relationship typifies
the imagery of a father and son. It illustrates and demonstrates one
of the most heart-rending pictures of God's compassion. The moving
account in Chapter 11 expresses the caring heart of the Father
towards the waywardness and stubborn tendency of Israel, which goes
its own way. Herein lies the greatest love of God: The Lord was
longsuffering towards Israel and in the hands of the Father, there
is no rod even as He yearns with compassionate grief for Israel to
repent. Through Hosea, we see the poignant agony of God's heart
(Hosea 11:8,9 ; 14:4a). This is also the heart of Father God towards
His wayward church today!
Jesus wept. Behind these words lies
a great theme of intercession. It is the cry of compassion. Our
model of compassion should be one demonstrated in the days of Hosea,
for compassion is the heartbeat of true intercession.
Intercession is derived from the
two Latin words, "inter" and "cedere": Inter means "between" or
"among" and cedere means "to go", "to move" or "to yield".
Literally, intercession is going between two parties by paying the
price of involvement and intervention. The parable of the good
Samaritan sees the active involvement of the hands of compassion
towards a dying stranger (Lk 10: 30-35). Hosea, as the intermediary
party between God and Israel, pays the price of sacrifice by
marrying the prostitute, Gomer.
Compassion in Latin is derived from
two words, "com" meaning "with" or "together", and "pati" meaning
"to suffer" or "to hurt". The combined meaning expresses the
description of one who suffers with someone in need or one who
"hurts together" with those experiencing pain. Compassion is more
than mere pity. It is a dynamic love that seeks eager involvement in
the suffering of others. Hosea is seen seeking to suffer
sacrificially to sooth and comfort the agony of God's heart. This is
the earmark of an intercessor: Giving up rest and comfort in praying
for the relief of suffering victims.
The way of intercession is
clear-cut: We must pray for the fields of humanity with the tears of
compassion. Without the heart of someone like Mother Teresa, God's
people could not have reached the poor living in the slums in
Calcutta, India. Likewise, without a tender heart, we cannot pray
effectually. The heart of intercession is the intercession of the
heart! Our intercession must match the cry of compassion. This is
the real lesson behind the words of the apostle John which say
Saint John of the Cross once
remarked that "at the end of our life, we shall be judged by love".
Those who sow the seeds of prayer watered by the tears of love shall
have an enduring reward on that great day. Let us cry out for God's
love to overflow within us so that it can pour out onto others.
Remember, Jesus wept.