Reposted from The River Walk
Jesus wept. (John 11:35)
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been teaching a Sunday School class or children’s church or some other kids function and some smart aleck kid tries to convince me that the verse they were supposed to memorize was John 11:35. It seems that every kid (especially boys) learns that this is the shortest verse in the Bible sometime around 8-10 years old and they want to do their best to make sure everyone else knows it too. I can’t really blame them. I was once one of those smart aleck kids as well.
As I grew older and began to think more seriously about it, I wondered why Jesus would end up crying here. He is just moments away from raising Lazarus from the dead. You would think He would be brimming with excitement. There have been others raised but this guy had been dead for three days. The tomb is sealed and the stink had started. Not only that, this was not some remote location but a suburb of Jerusalem. Everybody who is anybody is here at the funeral and the whole world is about to see just how awesome Jesus really is. There should be a bounce in His step and a grin ready to break out on His face. Or so I thought.
Then in college my own father died suddenly. I learned what loss was really about. Yes, Jesus knew what He was about to do for Lazarus. He also knew what Mary and Martha had been going through. Nobody who has ever experienced that level of grief would ever wish that on anyone else. When Jesus was waiting for two days I don’t think He was doing so willingly. He knew His Father’s will and why He needed to wait. But He also must have been breaking inside as the sisters hope slowly died with their brother’s waning. And then they suffered what they felt was an unnecessary loss. And He was not there.
Do I weep when others weep and laugh when others laugh? The greatest act of compassion, the greatest sign of humanity is to be with others in their moments of triumph and sorrow. When I was young and immature I didn’t get this. All too often I still don’t. When someone else is talking I don’t truly listen. I’m too busy thinking about my response. When someone else is successful, I don’t rejoice with them, I’m too jealous. When someone else is feeling a bit awkward, rather than come to the rescue, sometimes I feel it is fun to just turn the screws a little bit and make the situation worse. Above all, when someone else suffers, do I suffer with them? Jesus wasn’t weeping for Lazarus, He was weeping with Mary. Do I do the same?