Beauty And Truth In The Shortest Verse In The Bible
“Jesus Wept.” Jn. 11: 35
Those two words reveal the true and full nature of Jesus more than any other passage in scripture. With those two words we see His total immersion into the realm of our humanity. His connection and His intimate love for us is made known through those tears that fell so freely from His eyes.
Notice, He did not whimper, He did not cry. He wept. We can imagine that His tears were punctuated by his voice, the inarticulate moans of weeping, full of loss and pain, the suffering that comes to us when we have lost one whom we loved. And it moved those in the crowd who saw Him in this paroxysm of sorrow, to say, “See how much He loved Lazarus.”
Jesus felt. He felt the deep human sorrow that rises in us at the loss of a dear friend. He felt the pain and the loneliness of Martha and Mary. He sensed how He would no longer see Lazarus, or hear his laugh, or know his comforting presence in this world. He felt the utter emptiness of that loss.
In that one passage we see Jesus in the fullness of His humanity. We see in Him, too, the nature, the depth of His divine love for all of us. Though he felt the very heart of human suffering in that moment, he also knew that death was not the end, that God could not be defeated by death, that life and love are eternal.
We can take comfort in the fact that God’s love for us is made tangible, made real, in Jesus’ tears for Lazarus. Lazarus represents us. Jesus’ tears represent His love for each and every one of us. Jesus’ love is not an intellectual love, it is not Platonic love, it is not the pretense of love. Jesus’ love is so real it can even conquer death. It can forgive our trespasses against Him and our brothers and sisters eternally.
We can not anthropomorphize God. But God made Himself known to us in Jesus. Jesus shows us the face of God’s love, the quality of God’s love, the transcendent mercy of His love. When I read that passage I, too, weep. I weep because I am overwhelmed. I have no words to express how much I am moved by this revelation of God’s love for all of us.
Through all of our doubts, we can still believe that He loves us unconditionally. What can we do in response to this love but give humble thanks, not just with our words, our prayers, but with our very lives. We give thanks for this divine gift by loving others with our words, with our just and loving actions. No one, no matter how small, or how marginalized in society, is beyond God’s love, therefore, no one should be beyond ours.
When Jesus wept, He wept for all of us, for our fallen nature, for our weaknesses and our desperate need to
return to God. He challenges us to imitate Him, to follow Him, to grow in our own capacity to love others, even those who are least like us, those who are not pretty to look at, so that we can weep with them when they are in the midst of their suffering. He wants us to be compassionate as He is compassionate, and to help them back to life.
He is ready to give us His Grace and will not fail us in our efforts to come home to Him.
- Dan Doyle
Dan Doyle is a retired professor of English and Humanities. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology. To read more of Dan’s work, click here.