Thursday, February 10, 2022

           Occasionally, it can be fun to think about the particulars of the Bible...how many books, how many verses, how many chapters, favorite verses, favorite books, the longest verse and the shortest verse.  Well, the shortest verse in the Bible spans all of two words.  “Jesus wept” (John 11:35).  If you recite that verse to yourself then you can safely say that you have memorized at least one verse of Scripture.  Now the context of that verse might be important for us to consider.  In John 11, Jesus’ good friend Lazarus has died.  And by the time Jesus arrived days later, Lazarus had been dead for four days.  Lazarus’ sisters were grieving as anyone likely would.  And so too were others in the crowd who knew and missed Lazarus.  Jesus’ crying could have been over the death of Lazarus, in sympathy with Mary and Martha or the Lord could have cried over the sad spiritual state of so many who were in the crowd in Bethany on that day.  There were tears aplenty to go around. 
            The verse “Jesus wept” speaks to the compassion and empathy we find in the Lord.  His tears were shed over the pain and despair of the people.  His tears were shed over the failure of so many to recognize the very One who stood among them.  Sadly, like today, many would choose their sins over the Savior who could forgive them and cancel those sins by His death and cross.  If Jesus spent an entire day with you, would He weep?  Would He find some occasions for tears and sorrow?  One chapter later in John’s gospel, Jesus entered Jerusalem for the last time and for the final week of His life.  Atonement’s plans were calling.  The day of His passion was quickly arriving.  Perhaps Jesus cried over the sins of the world and the awful price He would have to pay for those sins—sins that He Himself had never committed.
            How often do we weep over our sins?  Do we feel the depth of our depravity and the distance that Jesus traveled to satisfy the debts that our sins against God had incurred?  The Christian season of Lent is an occasion to reflect human depravity and the vileness of sin.  Yet, we dare not isolate our tears to a convenient season of the year.  Each day is an occasion for recognizing how far we have fallen and the extent to which the Son of God reached to take hold of us in His grasp of grace.  We often cry and mourn when a friend or loved one has passed away.  But we might grieve even more if they came back to life as we recognize what they left behind to return to earth.  Some suggest this reality prompted Jesus’ tears.  Perhaps, our Lord cried over bringing Lazarus back to earth as He knew full well the glory from which Lazarus was departing.  I imagine a taste or glimpse of heaven might be enough to make us know we would prefer it to the fallen state of life on earth.
            Jesus wept.  We read two simple words that could be unpacked in extraordinary ways.  Crying is an intense emotion and here was Jesus emoting in the presence of all who were near.  Jesus gets our emotions too.  He understands sorrow and sadness, confusion and worry.  The Bible says “for He knows how we are formed; He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14).  Jesus certainly gets our frailty and humanity.  He was both divine and human so He knows what it is to be one of us.  Jesus’ tears remind us that He is a real, genuine and certain Savior.  He is not some mythological figure, comic book hero or sci-fi creation.  He is real.  For those of us who are great sinners, He is a Great Savior.  Have a wonderful Thursday!
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