Discover the profound meaning of wh'Jesus wept' and find comfort in the depth of God's love and compassion in times of sorrow.
John 11:28-37 — Jesus Wept — Aneel Aranha
Hello and welcome to the Bite-Sized Gospel. Today we will reflect on John 11:28-37. Listen.
After [Martha] had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
Let's begin with a trivia question: What's the shortest verse in the Bible? It's John 11:35, which we read today, and it simply says, "Jesus wept." In this verse and the passage upon which we are reflecting, we gain unique and powerful insights into the nature of God's love and compassion.
Jesus arrives at the tomb of his dear friend Lazarus, who had been dead for four days. The scene is charged with emotion as the dead man's sisters, Martha and Mary, express their grief and disappointment, saying, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." Their words are filled with a complex mix of faith, sorrow, and perhaps even a tinge of frustration. How often do we grapple with similar feelings when faced with suffering and loss?
Then Jesus wept. These words reveal an aspect of Jesus' humanity that is often overlooked. Yes, he is fully divine, but he is also fully human, subject to the same feelings and emotions as us. In his tears, we see the depth of his empathy and the authenticity of his emotions. Jesus, the Son of God, weeps in the face of human suffering.
But WHY does Jesus weep? Is it merely for Lazarus' death, or is there something deeper at play here? One unique insight we can obtain from this passage is that Jesus' tears are not solely about Lazarus but about the larger human condition. He enters into our suffering, identifies with our pain, and shares in our grief. Jesus' tears are a tangible expression of God's deep compassion for his creation.
Furthermore, Jesus' tears challenge us to consider the paradox of divinity and humanity. In his humanity, he weeps, yet in his divinity, he possesses the power to raise Lazarus from the dead. In this duality, we find a powerful reflection of the God who both mourns with us and offers us hope beyond our despair.
This passage reminds us that our God is not distant or aloof but intimately connected to our lives and our struggles. He doesn't stand at a distance, untouched by our pain, but enters into it with us. Jesus' tears show a God who cares deeply, who feels our sorrows, and who ultimately brings life out of death.
Jesus wept. The shortest verse in the Bible brings us immense hope and assurance. Let us rest in that.
God bless you.