We asked David Ferkaluk to write a few devotionals. Here’s his first which is very timely.
John 11:35 Jesus Wept
The shortest verse in all of the Bible that every Christian can and should memorize. This is perhaps one of the few instances in which the reference is more difficult to remember than the verse itself (memorize 1 Thess. 5:16-17 while you’re at it). This verse profoundly demonstrates the humanity of our Lord and Savior. Christians are well aware that Christ is truly God and truly man, yet Christians, as human beings are wont to do, tend to emphasize one aspect of Christ at the expense of the other. This terse verse is a fantastic reminder of Jesus as truly man.
The context is the death of Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, all of whom Jesus loved (v. 5). We know that Christ, in a powerful display of His deity, raised Lazarus from the dead, but despite His foreknowledge of that supreme act, The Resurrection and the Life (v. 25) actively wept! Let that sink in for us all.
As the Preacher says, there is an appointed time for weeping (Ecc. 3:4), and Jesus knew this and demonstrated it for us all. God the Son is not a transcendent Being Who exists blithely unaware or ignorant of how we feel as human beings. To the contrary! He understands all too well our pain and suffering. He wept, and I do not think that He did so simply because others around Him were mourning, but because He saw the place where the Jews had laid Lazarus (v. 34). His friend, whom He loved, had died. The wages of sin had achieved their goal, and Jesus saw those horrendous consequences. As a human being and the Son of God, He affronted Stoical philosophy and exhibited emotions—He shed tears because His friend had fallen asleep.
Let us imitate our Savior, let us find the appropriate time to weep—to mourn openly, and to fall back onto Jehovah who understands our pain. There is an appropriate time to weep, and thus we should be wary of steeling our hearts against tears. As Christians, we are to bear one another’s burdens, and in times of great pain and sorrow, sharing the yoke sometimes requires sharing the tears. Do not be afraid to weep; Christ certainly was not.