The post title today comes from the shortest verse in the Bible. It’s John 11:35. It may contain two words, but I think they are some of the most descriptive and powerful words regarding Jesus and his humanity.
When I studied Hebrews August – April the author of this epistle lays out this letter to Jewish believers in Christ by proclaiming Jesus’ deity first of all. Secondly, he expounds on Jesus’ humanity. In reading the chapters in that letter over and over and over and over, it becomes more clear how important it is for these recipients to understand who Christ really is and why he had to be made like man and yet be God with us all at the same time. It’s such a powerful letter. I urge you to study it in depth some time if you haven’t done so already. My summary doesn’t do it justice.
As I was thinking of today’s post a friend came to mind, one of the consistent readers of my blog as a matter of fact. Her healthy grandfather passed away in an unexpected way a couple of months ago. He lived alone but only because his bride had to live in a nursing facility due to suffering the effects of Alzheimer’s. He would faithfully visit her daily. He was a precious man from what I have learned through his granddaughter. As God would have it, the wife’s health had become worse through these weeks and in His mercy, God allowed her to come into His presence last night. She is whole. She is with her husband and recognizes him. I can only dream of what their reunion must be like as they are present with Jesus today. Glory!
So often we think of grief as something only we humans can truly grasp. But, in today’s verse, we see the God-man understands and is able to sympathize with us when grief wraps us up.
Jesus’ friend, Lazarus, had been sick. His sisters, Mary and Martha, sent word to Jesus to come. Instead, Jesus stayed where he was for a few more days rather than rushing to the living Lazarus’ side to perform healing. His waiting would actually allow Jesus to perform an even more stunning miracle when he would raise Lazarus from the dead.
As Jesus got closer to the village where Lazarus lived with his sisters, Mary came running to him and informed him that he was too late. Lazarus was dead. Jesus saw her weeping as well as her friends who had come with her. In John 11:33 we see that Jesus was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. He inquires as to where Lazarus is buried and as they show him the tomb, Jesus cries. That Greek word for “wept” is, “δακρύω dakrúō ,” and it means to shed a tear. Jesus did not wail over Lazarus’ death like he did over Jerusalem when they rejected him as Savior. Nonetheless, Jesus did shed a tear over his friend’s death. It’s as if he was saying he was master over that situation, even death. It moved him to tears.
Eventually, Jesus would command Lazarus to come out of the tomb, alive.
This miracle would cause the beginning of the end of Jesus’ ministry on earth. It would cause some who witnessed this to go to the Pharisees and complain and stir their anger against Jesus. They would seek his life and that of Lazarus. Jesus and his disciples would go to the wilderness until they came back to Bethany (Lazarus’ hometown) to dine with Lazarus and his sisters (that’s when Mary anoints Jesus’ feet with expensive nard). Then the triumphal entry into Jerusalem would take place.
I think his shedding a tear here is even more poignant considering what the Savior would be facing within a few days. Yet, he shed tears over the death of a friend.
Jesus understands our griefs and sorrows. He knows the emotion that comes as a result of losing a loved one. He wept.