“Jesus Wept.” (John 11:35) AV
Sometimes, a few sincere, heartfelt words are all that are required to express our feelings of sympathy; to show that we share the pain and feel the sadness of those who are bereaved. To “weep with them that weep...” as the Apostle Paul instructs us, is of real comfort to those who mourn (Romans 12:15).
In just two words, one noun and one verb, John makes a statement, in his gospel, about Jesus that is truly profound. John’s statement, “Jesus wept” is reputed to be the shortest verse in the Bible and yet is sums up the entirety of scripture as it speaks of God’s deep love for man and his identification with human suffering.
Like the two plain wooden beams that comprised the cross upon which the Saviour died, these two simple words convey a complexity of meaning that stretches human understanding and speaks mightily of God’s eternal love for us. As Jesus stood that day among the mourners, gathered round the tomb of his friend Lazarus, surveying that scene of deep sorrow and sadness, the air heavy with cries of pain and loss; he wept.
Was Jesus weeping for his friend, Lazarus, soon to be miraculously raised from the dead? Or were his tears shed on behalf of the mourners at the graveside, who would soon be rejoicing with him? Or could it be that those tears, flowing hot down the face of Son of Man were being shed for all who mourn and for all who would suffer the pain of loss down through the ages.
Those two simply words: “Jesus wept,” which John records in his gospel, speak volumes of the extraordinary love that Jesus has for each and every one of us. Jesus was intensely aware of how real and brutal an enemy death is and of its devastating effects on the human heart. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4), Jesus promised, and his tears, shed on behalf of all those who mourn, are a real and present comfort. These few words, comprising as they do the shortest verse in scripture, are perhaps the most profound of all.