Jesus wept.

John 11:35 (NIV)

If you’re ever looking for a Bible verse to memorize that will help you remember God’s love for us then that verse is “Jesus wept.” Most translations of the Bible in English will have this verse translated as such. It’s important to know that this weeping wasn’t a lamenting cry or wailing of extreme grief. This was Jesus crying in sympathy for those who were mourning the death of Lazarus. One can say that He was also crying over the fallen nature of humanity and the death that sin causes in this world.

While Jesus told us many things through words and other actions there’s nothing quite telling of His humanity than the shedding of tears. Sorrow is a bed that I believe most of us have laid in at one time or another in our lives. Few people, I imagine, when they think of the Bible think of Jesus sorrowfully weeping. What do you think of when you think of the Bible? What’s your perception of it? Some might see it as a book of rules. Do this, don’t do that, or else you’re going to Hell. I’ve heard people refer to it as an instruction manual for holy living. Others break it down into sections and see these sections as having different meanings.

When I think of the Bible I want to think of it as a message from God to us. As the inspired word of God, I believe that there is one single point that we need to get from the Bible. God loves you and wants to be in a relationship with you. Some people might want to shorten that message to a simple, “God loves you.” I don’t think that’s enough because it lends itself to passivity in the hearer. However, when you know that God wants to be in a relationship with you then I believe that changes things. Because of our fallen state though, there can be issues with the notion of a relationship. Perhaps then, we should add the clarifier, “intimate.” God loves us and wants to be in an intimate relationship with us. Yes, I like that.

How do we know that God loves us and wants to be in an intimate relationship with us? Well, it’s right here, “Jesus wept.” Maybe it’s not clear because we need to look at sympathy. That’s if we agree that Jesus was crying out of sympathy. We know that Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus (John 11:5). Typically when someone we love dies we feel grief. Therefore, we can agree, when we read this verse in context, that one reason Jesus was crying was out of sympathy for Martha, Mary, and the others who had come to mourn Lazarus’ death. However, I want to take a look at a definition of sympathy since I believe it’s important we examine this for our edification.

  1. a – an affinity, association, or relationship between persons or things wherein whatever affects one similarly affects the other (Merriam-Webster).

“Whatever affects one similarly affects the other” stands out to me here because I don’t want us to confuse Jesus’ sympathy with empathy. Empathy, in short, is a vicarious experience when we see that sympathy is not.

Now that we can agree that Jesus had sympathy I wonder about the notion that He also wept over the fallen nature of humanity and sin in the world. We are told that Jesus “was deeply moved in spirit and troubled” when He “saw [Mary] weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping” (John 11:33 NIV). Perhaps I’m wrong but I believe that Jesus was troubled because He didn’t like what He saw. I equate it with the aftermath of something that didn’t need to happen. For example, no one needs to smoke cigarettes and yet many people do, despite the knowledge that smoking causes cancer. No one needs to die of cancer from smoking.

Once sin entered into the world we became fallen. Fallen from the state of innocence that experientially knew good and now, knew evil. The product of sin is death which we all will experience. Therefore, I think that Jesus was troubled because Lazarus didn’t need to die if sin hadn’t entered into the world. In His eternal mind, I can see Him looking back to “last week” when everything was new and Adam and Eve hadn’t sinned yet thinking, “It didn’t have to be this way.”

This is how I see God looking at the world. I don’t see Him as an angry vengeful God who arbitrarily tells us to do this or that or we’re going to go to Hell. I see Him, tears streaming down His face, His clothes torn, spreading His arms, beckoning us to come to Him and telling us, “Come to Me, My children, I have made a way.”

Do you know God? God knows you and He loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, right now, and He wants you to know Him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so that we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.