Truth, Tears, Anger and Grace - Gospel in Life

Truth, Tears, Anger and Grace

Tim Keller |  September 16, 2001

Download Agreement

By downloading this file, I confirm I understand Gospel in Life's Copyright & Permissions policies and agree to only use this file for personal usage and will not upload it to any third-party platforms.


  • Death
John 11:20-53
RS 139-3


Today’s sermon comes from the passage in John 11 that describes Jesus’ miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead. Mary and Martha looked at the tragedy of their brother’s death and were saying, “What is this about? Where were you, Lord, in all this?”

Jesus brings four things to bear on this devastating situation: truth, tears, anger, and grace. Truth (which he wields with Martha), tears (which he wields with Mary), anger (which he wields at the tomb), and grace (which is for everybody).

John 14:27

This talk is about dealing with sadness by having hope and finding comfort in Jesus. It encourages us to pray to Jesus when we’re sad, knowing that He won’t leave us alone. It also discusses how the Spirit helps us when we’re weak. The talk ends by explaining four ways Jesus helps us deal with tough times: truth, tears, anger, and grace.

1. Tears

Even Jesus cried when He was sad, showing us that it’s okay to feel pain and that caring for others isn’t a weakness. His actions teach us that helping others isn’t just about fixing their problems or telling them what’s right. It’s about feeling their pain and supporting them, no matter what it costs us. We shouldn’t avoid feeling the pain of others, but see it as a deep act of love and friendship.

2. Anger

Jesus also got angry, which can help us understand our own feelings of shock, sadness, fear, and anger. Unlike Job’s friends who blamed Job for his problems, Jesus didn’t blame the people suffering or himself. Instead, he directed his anger at death itself, seeking to overcome it with new life. We should remember that everyone is human, deal with our anger in a positive way, and try to bring about good change and unity, even from tough situations.

3. Truth

Jesus gives us more than just comfort; He gives us new life. He doesn’t just take away our pain, He changes it, making everything new and giving back what was lost through heaven’s power. Believing in Jesus as God’s Son who died and came back to life opens up this power to us, helping us face anything.

4. Grace

Jesus showed His deep love for us by choosing to die so he could bring Lazarus back to life. This shows how dedicated God is to ending our suffering. It’s a special part of Christianity that God has personally felt pain and loss. This shows He understands our pain and has a reason for allowing it. Jesus, as the perfect counselor, gives us what we need – truth, tears, or anger – and we should ask for His help.



Truth, Tears, Anger and Grace

By Tim Keller

The Upper Room

By Tim Keller

I Am the Resurrection and the Life (Easter)

By Tim Keller

July Book Offer

Reading Galatians Can Change Your Life!

Galatians is a powerful book that shows how people can think they know the gospel but are actually losing touch with it. In this study of the book of Galatians, Dr. Keller helps you understand how this short book in the New Testament can transform your life.