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“Jesus Wept”
By Will McCabe

I believe those are the two most powerful words in the entire Bible. Yes, that’s a big claim, but that’s because of the context and what those words mean. See, when we look at John 11:35, the shortest verse in the Bible, we sometimes overlook what it means for Jesus to weep.

First, let’s look back to the beginning of John 11. We learn about a man named Lazarus who knew Jesus. Martha and Mary even said “Lord, the one You love is sick” (v. 3b). Take that in for a second: “the one You love is sick.” Imagine the last time you were told something like that. It hits you like a ton of bricks, doesn’t it? More than that, we gain something from this verse: Jesus loves.

Yes, it may seem obvious to some, but do you know how rare that is to hear a Supreme Being who loves his/her creation? Where in Babylonian or Greek or Egyptian or Norse mythology did you hear that? Where in Hinduism or Sikhism or other religions have you heard this? The gods are typically said to make us out of boredom or make us to simply serve them. It was not like that with the true God.

See, while Adam was physically made from dust, he was also made with love. Look how he talks to Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:5: “I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born. I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” God does not just let us become made on autopilot and ignores us, but personally takes note of us even before we are born. Look how it’s phrased: He formed us. That term “form” would indicate that He made us out of His own two hands, carefully shaping us into who we are. Making us was not an accident or done haphazardly. It was done out of love.

Let’s go back to John 11. He decides not to arrive immediately when called to Lazarus. Why? Because “When Jesus heard it, He said, ‘This sickness will not end in death, but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it’” (v. 4). He knows Lazarus will die, but Jesus will raise Him from the dead to prove that God has power over death. This will be important later.

When Jesus finally arrives, Lazarus has been in the tomb for four days. Martha runs to Jesus and while sad He did not come immediately, does not question His decisions. She confirms her belief in Him and affirms that He is the Son of God. She then brings her sister, Mary, who was more blunt with her feelings. She simply cries out “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died!” (v. 32b). Let’s look at verse 33: “When Jesus saw her crying, and the Jews who had come with her crying, He was angry in His spirit and deeply moved.” Keep in mind, Jesus was not angry at Mary or the Jews, rather, He was angry that sin and death plague us. These people are mourning the loss of someone they love very much, and it upsets Him that death is inevitable for humans.

Let’s continue with verse 34: “ ‘Where have you put him?’ He asked. ‘Lord,’ they told Him, ‘come and see.’ Now we get to the two most important words with verse 35: “Jesus wept.”

Why is this significant? Well, Jesus cares about us. He is not an emotionless, apathetic, merciless Being who sits on a throne and views us as ants. He doesn’t like seeing us in such conditions. When we weep, He weeps. When we’re in pain, God feels the exact pain. He was so distraught with seeing His creation in such pain, that He weeps.

Now, what does this mean for us today? In recent months, we have encountered hurricanes, earthquakes, shootings, and more. We wonder what God’s response to all this is. He is actually more upset with what is going on than even those directly affected by these matters. He is upset with His beloved, His creation, dying due to the sin of the earth and the sin of others.

God does not delight in these events occurring, nor is this part of “His wrath,” as some personalities have claimed. Jennifer Lawrence, a popular actress, claims “mother nature” brought about the hurricanes because of climate-change deniers. Pat Robertson, host of the 700 Club, claims the Vegas tragedy is God’s wrath for those who disrespected Trump. Let’s reiterate something we talked about earlier: God does NOT delight in suffering. He does not care for politics, nor petty squabbles we humans create. He cares about our well-being and our souls.

A beautiful scene is recounted when Jesus heals a man born blind. In John 9:1-3, it goes ‘As He was passing by, He saw a man blind from birth. His disciples questioned Him: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” Jesus answered. “This came about so that God’s works might be displayed in him.”’

God would not have caused these because we are republicans, democrats, libertarians, or apolitical. He loves us all. God would not identify with any party because they are all man-made and imperfect. Most importantly, not every tragedy is done by God out of anger. Jesus allowed Lazarus to die in order to show His power. The man born blind was born that way so God’s miracles can be more apparent when seeing what he can do and by showing what God does for him. Hopefully through these tragedies, we can break down our political and other differences and for just a moment, unite ourselves in lamentation in recognition of an imperfect world.

As tragic as things are, as bleak as things look, we can’t look to how things are now. We can’t allow ourselves to only see what is right in front of us. This is difficult, maybe one of the most difficult things to ask of you, but look to the future, and allow the present to be put into perspective. Our time on earth is short, but our time with God can be forever. Our lives here can be downright miserable, but I’m looking for an eternity with a Being who will say “Well done good and faithful servant, I have missed you and have been earnestly waiting for you. I’m sorry you had to endure the sins and sufferings of the world, but know that I love you, then, now, and forever. Worry no more, because you are now with Me forever.”

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