First Question: What’s the shortest verse in the bible?
Almost everyone who knows useless facts of the bible knows that the shortest verse is ‘Jesus wept.’
Second Question: Why is he weeping?
If you didn’t know, it’s during the story of Lazarus, when he is dead for four days.
This verse didn’t make much sense to me for a long time. If you read John 11, you will see that Jesus gets word that Lazarus is sick. He doesn’t even blink an eye and reassures everyone that his sickness won’t end in death. He spends a few more days where he was and than decided to go over and see Lazarus. On the way he tells the disciples that Lazarus is dead. There is still no hint of tears.
He gets to where Lazarus has been put away for four days now, in a tomb and he is questioned on why he didn’t come sooner. He reassures everyone that Lazarus will rise again. There is still no reason for us to think Jesus is even the least bit concerned. Then Mary (not his mom) comes running out to meet him, and the story goes as follows:
When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
In the words of my old senior pastor “WHY ARE YOU WEEPING?” Of course Pastor Tim was talking to us in the congregation. The question was left in my head in question to Jesus’ response. Why are you weeping Jesus? The Jews a few verses later seemed to think it was because he cared for Lazarus. I think they were wrong. Jesus seemed to be fine when he knew he was dead. He seemed to be reassuring to everyone else that had lost all hope. He even said more than once that he was going to raise him from the dead. So why cry?
I’m no biblical scholar by any stretch of your imagination but I don’t think it was because Lazarus was dead. I don’t think it was because Mary felt sad entirely. I don’t think it was because Jesus didn’t know what to do. I believe Jesus was crying because of the disbelief around him. This wasn’t just caused because Jesus was scared that people thought he couldn’t do it or that he was a wuss. He was crying because if Mary and the Jews couldn’t believe that Jesus could raise Lazarus from the dead after four days, how in the world would they ever believe that Jesus could be raised from the dead after three? If during Lazarus’ sleeping time everyone grew faint, disheartened and unbelieving imagine how they would react when the man doing the healing gets crucified.
Jesus was weeping because they still didn’t get it. They were still demanding a miracle. In the same way that the Jews around Lazarus were questioning “”Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” eventually they would be mocking and taunting Him on the cross “”So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30come down from the cross and save yourself!”
Jesus was weeping because Lazarus’ death was a test of their faith and they had failed miserably. They had already packaged him up in a tomb, the stone moved shut and the mourning process had begun. It was long after that it was the same thing that happened except with Jesus in the tomb.
How quickly do we but a rock over our tomb with our dead dreams and passions and promises that God has given us? Is He weeping right now because we still don’t get it? We don’t get that God can take something that is dead and revive it again. Let’s not become the Jews that mock those with seemingly dead dreams, or like Mary who gives up, or like Martha who accepts death, or like the disciples who are naïve all through this story. Let us allow this story to speak to us to allow light into our hearts to trust Jesus will come through like he always does.