Why I Am So Glad That Jesus Wept
Bible trivia: The shortest verse in all the Bible is found in the Gospel of John, chapter 11, verse 35. It reads, “Jesus wept.” That’s it. That’s all it says. All of chapter 11 focuses on the death and resurrection of Lazarus, a man described as “he whom you (Jesus) love.” His sister sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was very ill, and Jesus went to be with him.. eventually. He did not go immediately, but instead delayed. He delayed, and Lazarus, “the one whom He loved”, went from ill to dead.
Jesus loved Lazarus, yet when He learned of Lazarus’ death, he remained calm while others were deeply troubled. Many of His disciples and those around Him questioned why Jesus would delay as long as He did, but this is not the issue I wish to write about. Jesus did eventually arrive at the scene of the dead Lazarus, and when He did he came upon a scene that deeply troubled His spirit. The text says that when he was told where Lazarus had been laid, “Jesus wept.”
There is likely a very deep and complicated theological explanation as to why our Lord wept. I, however, do not possess this knowledge. What I do know is that our Lord wept, which is amazing, and I am so glad to worship a God who wept. Why? Because it is such a human thing to do. God is God, and everything in the natural world, He created without breaking a sweat. He is God, and in the very truest sense of the word, He is awesome. His majesty and glory can make Him seem unrelated or untouchable to us mere mortals. Furthermore, we tend to forget that while Christ was fully God, He was also fully man. He was perfect, but He also was one of us. He knows what we go through, the struggles we face, and the sorrows we encounter.
Jesus wept, because He was moved to tears. That is wonderful to hear! Our God is not a cold, stone-faced cowboy devoid of emotion. When one of His own cries, so does He. He feels what we feel. We all need a good cry now and again, and whose shoulder is better to lean on than the shoulder of the One who made everything, the shoulder of the Everlasting? Ps. 34.18 says that God “is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed of spirit.” This is on clear display in the episode with Lazarus.
The conclusion of the Lazarus story is that Jesus brought him back from death into waking life. Why? For God’s glory, of course. Perhaps that is why He delayed His arrival. Perhaps Christ wanted to lend a visual to the statement that He “is the resurrection and the life.” I am no theologian, but I do know that Christ delayed His arrival, and the story of Lazarus is one of the most telling stories of the New Testament. You can’t argue with results.