Growing up going to Sunday School, I remember being taught that the shortest verse in the Bible was found in John 11:35, “Jesus wept.” When called upon to recite Scripture, I always had that one in my memory bank! But there is so much meaning and depth in those two small words. As a child, I did not understand the significance, but as I read the passage now, it reveals so clearly the divinity and the humanity of Jesus.
As we read John chapter 11, we are reminded of Jesus’ friendship with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. When Lazarus became sick, Mary and Martha immediately called on Jesus. Verse 3 says the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” Those words show a very close bond.
Jesus delayed His return, and by the time He reached the town of Bethany, Lazarus had died. In fact, he had been in the tomb for four days. Many mourners had come to comfort the family and pay their respects. Martha and Mary went out to meet Jesus separately, but both said to him, “If you had only been here, Lazarus wouldn’t have died.” They had seen Jesus heal, and they believed He was the Messiah. Verse 33 states, “When Jesus saw her (Mary) weeping and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.”
He was so moved with sympathy and compassion by their tears that he wept at that moment. Even though He had come to Bethany to raise Lazarus from the dead, we get a glimpse of how our brokenness and grief touch him. At that moment, I believe He also wept over the destruction of sin. We know the wages of sin is death and that because of one man’s sin (Adam), death has consumed all humanity. Jesus came to break those chains of sin and death. But in the process, He became sin and endured death on the cross. His crucifixion was just days away.
I wonder how often Jesus has cried with us as we have endured grief and despair. Psalms 34:18 promises that “the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Have you ever felt completely crushed in spirit by circumstances in life? As if everything around you were falling apart? Those are the times when the presence of God is near. When we feel overwhelmed, when tragedy strikes, when we feel all alone, God will wrap His arms around us in love. Our hope comes in knowing that Jesus has claimed victory over death itself!
The last time tears are mentioned in the Bible is in Revelation 21:4, “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away”.
We know in the story of Lazarus that Jesus stepped in and brought him back to life. My sister, He will do the same for you. Remember, weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning!