“Jesus wept.” John 11:35 NKJV
When it comes to memorizing scripture, the first verse that comes to most people’s minds is John 3:16. We all have been taught from childhood that John 3:16 is the Gospel in a nutshell. It would be safe to say that more people have memorized John 3:16 than any other scripture.
Other than John 3:16, when it comes to scripture memorization, probably the second most quoted verse is “Jesus wept.” Of course, the people who cite this verse (including your pastor when I was a boy), know the words, but usually don’t know the reference. We just blurt it out as a way of being “smart.” The verse is John 11:35. The context for the verse deals with story of Lazarus.
We know the beginning of the story and the ending of the story. Spoiler alert: Lazarus dies and Jesus raises him from the dead. But when these events actually took place, only Jesus knew the whole story. The verse, Jesus wept, is found in the middle of the story.
Just two words: Jesus wept. But from these two words, many questions.
The obvious question is why did Jesus weep? The obvious answer is that he is human, therefore His emotional response was to cry. These types of tears are called psychic or simply “crying” tears. According to Dr. Nick Knight, in an article entitled Why do we cry? The science of tears: “These are the tears produced in response to that strong emotion you may experience from stress, pleasure, anger, sadness and suffering to indeed, physical pain.”
Even though Jesus knew the story, he still had a strong emotional response to the situation and circumstances he was facing at the moment. In other words, Jesus was fully human and experienced the full realm of emotions. That’s why many of us can watch the same movie over and over and still cry at certain scenes, even though we know the rest of the story.
Our tears are a way of displaying to others our deepest feelings. Jesus, in His humanity, was displaying His emotions. The question then is what emotion provoked His tears? Was it stress, anger, or sadness? Was it in responses to the emotional hurt and pain that Mary and Martha were exhibiting? Was it frustration with His disciples and their lack of understanding?
We really don’t know the full answer, but we do know one thing, Jesus wept. If Jesus wept, so can we. Even though we know the rest of the story, we can still show our emotions. Jesus cared enough to cry. We should too.
The world we live in today is full of people who want to know: “does anyone care about me?” They question could be asked of us as a church: “does the church care about me?” Ultimately, the questions is: “does God care about me?” When Jesus wept, God wept. When the church weeps, Jesus weeps. May we be known at RoS as a church that cares enough to cry.
I love you and it’s a privilege to be your pastor.