“Jesus wept” (John 11:35). This has been called the shortest verse in the Bible, and yet it is one of the most profound. In these two short words, the nature of Jesus is captured in a beautiful and profound way. He is both God and human.
Jesus’ dear friend, Lazarus, had died. Weeping is how Jesus responded when he arrived in the town of Bethany and encountered the heartbreaking scene.
As a human being, Jesus is deeply and intimately connected to the pain of humanity. He is not immune to the suffering, confusion, and contradictions of the human experience. He lived right in the middle of all of it, just like we do. He wept at the death of his dearly loved friend. His heart was torn by the same pain our hearts are torn by. He faced the same sickening sense of loss that we face when death breaks into our lives.
But because he is God, Jesus has a unique perspective on humanity. He sees us at the moment of our creation in the Garden of Eden as the pinnacle of God’s creative efforts on Earth. He sees us on that terrible day when humanity fell and was banished from the garden paradise and the tree of life. He sees the curse of death that has ravaged our race ever since, bringing untold pain and sadness upon us. He sees the self-deception and self-destruction that we have inflicted upon ourselves. He sees the lost potential and dashed hopes and unfulfilled dreams. He sees all that has been lost for humanity in a way that no one else does. When the weight of all of that falls on him in that moment, he is, “deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled” (John 11:33), and he wept.
Fortunately, the story doesn’t end there. Jesus did not come only to experience our pain and suffering. He also came to provide a solution to the awful fate of humanity. He came to die as a sacrifice for our sins and come back to life to give eternal life to everyone who would believe in and follow him.
Jesus said to Martha, as she was grieving the loss of her dear brother, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)
Jesus is asking us the same question: Do you believe this? I do.