Monday, February 8, 2021
When I was a boy my Sunday School teachers spent a significant amount of time teaching us to memorize Bible verses. Every Sunday in class we would read, repeat, and recite the verse of the week. Occasionally, during a week of review, the teacher would ask us to recite our favorite memory verse. Most of the boys in the class, including me, would shoot up their hands and hope to be chosen first. That’s because to us, favorite verse meant shortest verse. Invariably the first verse quoted each week would be John 11:35. “JESUS WEPT.”
At that immature age we did not yet understand the significance of those two words. But now I do. The shortest verse in the Bible is packed with deep theology. This brief description of Jesus as he approached the tomb of Lazarus convicts me.
First, I see in the weeping of Jesus a confirmation of His humanity. Jesus is at once both Deity and finite human being. He is fully God and fully human at the same time. The Son of God who left His throne in glory to be born of a virgin can fully and intimately relate to every suffering we experience. He is not distant and unable to feel our pain. He equally experienced every hurt we now feel.
Second, Jesus openly shared the pain of grief. Some of the people who observed Him weeping said, “See how he loved him!” Jesus was not afraid to let His emotions come to the surface. Many of us bury our emotions. We believe they make us appear weak. But Jesus was certainly not weak. In fact, the expression of grief confirms the depth of one’s love for what has been lost.
Third, not only was Jesus weeping caused by the grief of death, but He wept over the unbelief of those around Him. Not everyone saw love in the tears of Jesus. While many were moved by the love of Jesus, others were moved to criticism based on unbelief. Verse thirty-seven of John eleven says, “But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?” Jesus wept because He saw more people who were dead – spiritually dead.
I am determined to let two words change my heart and mind. I will not bury the pain of grief and loss. I will not let my fear of being seen as weak keep me from showing ultimate strength. I will love others deeply without fear of being hurt and experiencing loss. I will weep over those who oppose me, criticize me, and seek to hurt me because I know it an expression of their unbelief. I will not criticize or condemn others to protect myself. I will grow in the compassion of Christ for the lost and dying. I will weep over the sinful condition of mankind. I will be determined to reach as many as possible with the Good News of Jesus for so long as I live.