Jesus wept (John 11:35).
It is the shortest verse in the entire Bible. Just two, little words. And yet there is a boatload of hope packed inside of them.
The backstory of these two words is one of pain and tragedy. Jesus was a dear friend of a family in Bethany consisting of two sisters and one brother: Mary, Martha and Lazarus. When Lazarus fell seriously ill, the sisters sent a message to Jesus. Jesus, however, had a surprising reaction:
Jesus loved Martha, her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard he was sick, he stayed where he was for another two days (John 11:5-6).
By the time Jesus arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had been dead for four days, long enough to take all hope out of the situation. Lazarus – this friend of Jesus – was gone. In the grave, in fact. But Jesus was not discouraged. He was there to perform a miracle – a miracle that would, in many ways, be the final nail in his own coffin, as the plans for his death grew more urgent later on.
Jesus would raise the very dead Lazarus of grace. But before He did, He wept.
Can you understand this? The God of the universe wept. It’s breathtaking to think about. And it kind of makes you wonder what the greatest miracle in this passage is – is it a Jesus who can raise the dead, or a Jesus who cries alongside his friends even though he knows he’s going to. TO DO ?
This is the kind of Jesus we follow. He is not the one who simply barks orders on the battlefield of life, telling us to go here or there, to do this or that.
We are not following an ivory tower Jesus.
The Christ we follow knows the full range of human experience. He is not an isolated God, but intimately linked to the pain of the human condition. He is Emmanuel—God with us. We can be assured that whatever situation we find ourselves in, God is also emotionally involved. When we mourn the death of a loved one, our Jesus also mourns. When we rejoice because everything is going well, his cries of joy eclipse ours. And when we fall in the mud before Him – so sure of theological facts, but emotionally destroyed by the circumstances of this sinful world – He falls and weeps with us.