As I’ve trained student athletes over the years, I have enjoyed asking them for their favorite memory verse. Invariably, most would use John 11:35 . . .
I find it quite remarkable that Jesus wept. It’s really not extraordinary that He did weep—remember that He was fully God but also fully man—but it is the context in which He wept that is striking. If you remember, Jesus was standing outside of the tomb of Lazarus, the man He was about to raise from the dead. You might well wonder: If Jesus knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, why in the world would He stand outside of his tomb weeping?
I think it is clear that Jesus wanted to enter into the pain of Mary, Martha, and their friends at the deepest possible level . . . and so Jesus WEPT!
To be sure, this is the shortest verse in the Scripture, but it seems to have the deepest, richest sense of meaning. Our Savior reaches deep into the sorrows of His saints and enters into the pain of His people. Make no mistake, we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with us in our weakness and grief (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus is a “man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3 ESV); with tears He enters into the trials and tribulations we face. What a wonderful consolation to know that Jesus is with us when we are most vulnerable!
No doubt, Jesus could have repressed His tears. Most men do just that. But Jesus refused to be unnatural at any point of contact with humanity. It is natural to weep when we are in a season of sorrow and suffering. It is natural to let our tears flow from the fountain of personal pain. It is a source of great comfort to know that Jesus did not find it “weak” or shameful to show His human weakness. Remember, Jesus got tired, hungry, and thirsty. He was just like us in every way . . . expect without sin.
As a pastor, I have found that often this is the best ministry that you can provide for someone who is in pain. The ministry of tears reaches deeply into the hearts of man and ministers in ways that cannot be matched by words or deeds. And tears translate into every imaginable language! The Bible tells us to rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep.
Regardless of where this finds you today, you have a friend in Jesus who sticks closer than a brother and who is not afraid to weep with you. Remember, Jesus wept . . . and then He commanded, “Roll the stone away” and “Lazarus come out!” Jesus met His friends and followers in their deepest place of pain first, then He demonstrated that He was more than just a man. He was the incarnate God, who had power over life and death.
So when you find yourself in a season of weeping, don’t forget that you weep in the best of company . . . because JESUS WEPT!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!