“And Jesus wept.” – John 11:35. This is one of the shortest verses found in the Bible. Purposeful? I think so.
These three words may not seem profound when we are reading this passage called “The Rising of Lazarus”. However, it’s simplicity and word choice reveals so much to us!
May I remind you that weeping is much different than crying. It’s not a tear shed over Marley & Me or a stubbed toe (a very painful stubbed toe, that is). It includes sobs. Weeping only takes place when one is in an overwhelming emotional state.
We can easily read over it because weeping is a natural occurrence. We’ve all been there. It’s a part of being human. But this weeper is not just a human, He is the Son of Man. Jesus doesn’t weep because He loses control of His emotions. He has full control and yet, He was vulnerable for us.
Jesus broke down when He was being led to Lazarus’ tomb. Mary, Lazarus’ sister, fell to Jesus’ feet and desperately reminded Jesus that He could have avoided her brother’s death. John tells us, “When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, he became perturbed and deeply troubled.” – John 11:33. Jesus felt their sadness. His heart broke for what broke theirs.
Jesus’ sobs were in front of plenty of people; not alone and certainly not silent. I’m picturing the ugly cry that is accompanied by gasps for air and a deep desire for a box of tissues. Cheek and maybe even neck tears were involved in this spectacle.
All of this grief could have been avoided. Every ounce of water could have been dried from their eyes and smiles could have been put on their faces. Jesus certainly had the power to stomp in there and reassure them that Lazarus’ heart would soon be beating again. But He took on the suffering right alongside the crowd. The earthly pain is what He chose.
This scene is so beautiful on its own but especially when we can fast forward to the Crucifixion. I don’t like to see anyone upset but knowing that our Lord knows our fragility and suffering in such a deep way amazes me. Although completely divine, Jesus came to us as a baby because He wanted to become one of us. Jesus’ humility to showcase His humanity should never be neglected.
From weeping to being tortured and nailed to a cross, He knows. Oh how He knows what we endure. But we will never be able to understand what He endured for us. That is sacrificial love.