Summary: Let’s weep over the same things Christ wept over and not so much the other things we sometimes cry about.
Surely Jesus is the manliest man who ever lived, for no one endured and suffered what He did.
Yet the Bible clearly states that this strong man shed tears. "Jesus wept." He was a strong man, yet a man of great compassion.
Since it was proper for Jesus to cry then certainly it is for us. But the important question is, "What did Jesus weep about?"
We have all been prone to shed tears over things that didn’t really matter.
When we were children we may have cried over not getting our own way, or the loss of some silly toy.
As teenagers we may have shed a few tears over breaking up with some boyfriend or girlfriend, or not being as popular as we desired. As adults we look back over some of those tears with amusement.
What kind of things will we look back on when we get to heaven as being unworhthy of our tears? It will be interesting to find out.
In the mean time, we can be sure that there are some things worth crying over. We know - because Jesus wept over certain things.
Let’s learn to weep over the things Christ wept over and not so much other things.
1. Jesus wept in sympathy for others. (John 11:35)
Here in our text Jesus wept for the sorrow of his friends Mary and Martha over the death of their brother Lazarus.
The Bible tells us to "weep with them that weep". (Romans 12:15) The best way to display our love and concern for others in times of heartache is just being there and not being ashamed to sincerely cry with them.
Manufactured tears are not any good. In Jesus’ day one could actually hire mourners to attend the funeral of a loved one. Jesus was not a hired mourner. He was present out of love for His friends. It hurt Him to see them sorrowful.
Crying with others is not always convenient. Sometimes we have to interupt our schedules and display a level of unselfishness.
In the years I’ve been pastoring I’ve noticed a disturbing trend. Funerals seem to me to be less attended. Hopefully I’m just imagining things. But are we so busy in our lives today that we can’t stop and show our love to those who mourn?
Jesus went to the grieving sisters to model that He was the resurrection and the life, but also to model what really deserves our tears.
2. Secondly, Jesus wept in concern for sinners.
Luke 19:41 - "As He approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it."
Jerusalem was a center of religious teaching. If anyone should have received Jesus as Messiah it should have been the religious leaders and citizens of this city. Yet they would soon cry out, "Crucify Him!"
They were lost and didn’t know the Lord. They knew about religion but they didn’t have a relationship with God. They were headed for destruction so Jesus wept for them.
It is pure selfishness to cry so much for ourselves when we are headed to heaven and not cry for sinners headed for hell.
When the rich man in Christ’s story in Luke 16 awoke in hell his concern was for his five brothers to be warned of the impending danger they too faced.
In Psalm 126:5-6 the Bible says, "Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him."
Have we wept for those who do not know the Lord? It is doubtful we will bring them to God until we do. We will not sing the songs of joy until we have shed the tears of concern.
In his address to the Ephesian elders Paul included mention of the preeminence of his tears in his ministry. (Acts 20:19 & 31) His ministry was not marked by dry theology. When he proclaimed the Word of God it was mingled with the obvious sign of his touched heart - obvious because his eyes were moist with a language every hurting and hungry heart understands - tears. His ministry was patterned after that of his Master and that is why Paul was so successful.
3. Thirdly, Jesus wept over sin.
Hebrews 5:7 - "During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission."
It seems to me the author of Hebrews had Gethsamene in mind here. Jesus prayed until His sweat became blood. The sins He struggled with carrying were not His own. They were ours, the sins of every person to ever live.
Jesus wept over sin.