The shortest verse in the Bible deals with the ultimate aspect of life. It deals with the subject of death. Only two words are found within that verse. Only two words which should penetrate our hearts. Those two words are: “Jesus wept.”
The situation is that Jesus went to a friend’s house and there he was confronted with the fact that his friend was dead. His response was simple. His response was natural. His response was human emotion. “Jesus wept.”
This puzzles me. I stand in wonder when I read that verse. For I must ask the question: “Why is the King of kings and the Lord of lords breaking down and crying at the moment”? He who holds the power of life in His hands still wept, He still cried, at the situation of death. Yet, though I ponder that question in my mind, the scripture still speaks plain; “Jesus wept.”
As I examine the story of the death of Lazarus in the Bible one answer to my question seems to be plain. Jesus wept for the family. For you see Lazarus, the friend of Jesus, had two sisters. And when Jesus came together with them he could see their pain and their suffering and the effects of losing a loved one in their tear filled eyes. And because of the sympathy and empathy which Jesus had, He was moved to share in the loss of the family members. He shared in the loss of the family. And so the scripture tells us that: “Jesus wept.” We who are friends of the family need to weep as well.
But perhaps Jesus cried not only for the family but perhaps he cried because he too had suffered a loss. For you see Lazarus was His friend. It is possible that Jesus had traveled with him, eaten with him, shared common interest, and had grown in a close friendship with him. But the friend of Jesus was now gone. And that relationship had been broken, Jesus felt the pain of losing a friend and, “Jesus wept.” We who are the friends of -------- --------- need to weep as well.
But there may be one other reason why Jesus cried. For Jesus knew that He Himself would soon face death. And he knew that there would be pain and sorrow among his own family and friends. For you see, death is a conclusion to our lives in this world. And each of us will face the reality of death eventually. It may be that many of us will be orphaned by death before our time comes. But the reality is that loved ones will be left behind. And the pain and sorrow at each of our deaths will be present. And so, “Jesus wept.”
But the story does not stop there, for the scriptures go on to tell us that Jesus went to the tomb of his friend Lazarus. And that there he found Lazarus dead and buried. But at that point the truth becomes evident. For at that point, the scriptures proclaim, that in Jesus there is the power of life. For Jesus spoke the words and Lazarus rose from the grave. And you see because of that event we too have hope. For if Jesus can raise his friend Lazarus from the grave He can raise us as well. And so it is proclaimed by Jesus when he says, “He who believes in me will not be disappointed.”
Yes, today is a day of weeping: for the family, for the loss of a friend, for the reality of death in our own lives but there will be a day of rejoicing for those who know Jesus Christ.