“Jesus wept.” It’s the shortest verse in the whole Bible.
Overcast skies threatened rain and then delivered with a pounding deluge. We huddled under the green canopy like penguins in the Antarctic. Nobody wanted to be there… no one wants to bury their Mom.
But there we were. A miserable, rain soaked, tear stained, grieving mess of humanity. Mercifully, the rain subsided and it was time to start the committal service.
I’ve done hundreds of these services in thirty plus years of ministry. I’ve never used John 11:35 that I can recall. The awkwardness of the moment seemed to call for a comment about the rain. “I think that shower is appropriate,” I found myself saying (much to my own surprise).
“God is weeping with us just like he did at the funeral of one of his best friends.”
Now even I was interested with where God was taking this impromptu service.
Mary and Martha got a message to Jesus to get to Bethany on the double as their brother Lazarus was very ill. Jesus hears the message and hangs out… for FOUR days!
His friend not only dies, but they’ve already had the funeral by the time Jesus gets there. If you take the “bible glasses” off then you can almost feel the tension as Jesus shows up at the house.
“If you’d have been here we’d be having a party instead of a funeral!” says Martha, maybe through gritted teeth.
Ever been there?
“You can only pray so many times before you realize that God’s either not there or — worse — He doesn’t care,” said my friend as hot tears freely flowed down his worn cheeks.
Nice God… Nice. Where were You?!
Here’s the kicker… Jesus was getting ready to convert this funeral into a fiesta! I’m wondering how he’s not smirking or even laughing out loud. But what do we see him doing? He’s crying. He’s comforting Martha by weeping with her even though He knows full well that those bitter tears are headed for better terms. Yet He. Weeps. With. Her.
And you know what? He still does it today.
That’s what I told those two sons staring at their Momma’s wet casket. Even though Jesus knows the joy she’s experiencing in His presence, He still weeps with us today. We have a God who weeps with us even though he has the power to change that which gives birth to our tears. Even when He sovereignly chooses to let the circumstances drive us into the valley of the shadow of death.
Even then, we have a Shepherd who weeps with us…
Grace & Peace,
Paul J. Dziadul
Pastor, Lake Wildwood Baptist Church
Flickr Creative Commons Images via Waiting For The Word (adapted).