Read John 11:32-44
Of course we don’t even have to know how this story plays out to know how it ends. John isn’t going to tell a story like this unless something amazing is about to happen… ultimately, Jesus goes to the tomb… he calls on the power of his father and Lazarus (after four days of being dead) is raised. Now, this is an amazing thing that happens and we could spend all kinds of time celebrating God’s amazing power at work through Jesus… and we should. But today I want to focus in for the next few minutes on those two little words that make up the 2nd shortest verse in the Bible… Jesus wept. (John 11:35 has been a favorite memory verse for generations. In the Greek New Testament, it is not the shortest verse in the Bible. It contains three words and 16 letters. 1 Thess 5:16… Rejoice always, has only two words and 14 letters.)
Do you remember the point of John’s gospel? That all who read it might believe that Jesus is the son of God… and they we might have life in him… (John 20:30-31) and believing isn’t just some kind of head knowledge… it’s not simply acknowledging that Jesus exists… our belief is reflected
in our actions… by putting our trust in Jesus. So, if we are going to do this… I mean, really believe, then I think we have to pay attention to moments like this when we encounter them. We have this tendency (at least I do) to want to jump ahead to the big payoff… the resurrection. But if we get too far ahead of ourselves we might miss out on knowing the true character of God… a God who weeps (even with the knowledge of what is about to happen there) at the death of a friend and at
the hurt and suffering of his friends who were in mourning.
The New Testament was originally written in ancient Greek, and this is the only place in the the entire New Testament where the particular word that get’s translated as “wept” is used. There are other instances, even in this story of people weeping and crying… but it’s almost like the word used here is reserved for the kind of tears that only a loving God could shed. So what does this say about our God? What does it say about the kind of God we follow in Jesus?