“Jesus wept,” more than just the shortest verse?

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One of the most famous and oft quoted verses is known for a unique quality. The verse is John 11:35; “Jesus wept.” What is this unique quality, you ask. Surely, it is the verses length. Though, I am sure this greatly accounts for its popularity, especially in Bible Bees. This for many is what is significant. But is there more there besides the fact that it is the shortest verse in the Bible?

Yes! Absolutely! We see many things from this verse and the surrounding narrative that it finds itself in. But even if we keep our focus on this verse, this text is no less than amazing. As we look at this, the Bible’s shortest verse, there are a few questions we should ask. Who is Jesus? Why does He weep? Does He offer a solution?

Jesus is God in flesh. Jesus is fully God and fully man. He is the creator and sustainer of all (cf. Heb. 1:3; John 1:1-3, 14) and yet He weeps at death, specifically here, Lazarus’ death.

You may imagine that one stoic teardrop falls from His eye but other than that His face remains mostly stern. However, that is just not the right picture. I believe that when the crowd saw Him and everyone else they were in wonder that He, Jesus, wept more, more than Martha, more than Mary. Why would Jesus weep and weep more than even Lazarus’ sisters? Jesus weeps, as we see in the immediate context, over Lazarus’ death. However, in the broader context of Scripture, He weeps over all sin and the grave effects of sin in the world that is His creation, albeit the once perfect creation that was marred by the creature. Jesus sees death and sin as we cannot see death and sin; He sees it as the eternal creator. Jesus, the God man, can sympathize with us (cf. Heb. 4:15).

Jesus, praise Him as Lord, does offer a solution to the problem of death. In this passage He brings Lazarus, the one for whom He wept, back from the dead. However, what does Lazarus’ resurrection point forward to? What does Lazarus’ resurrection prove? It points forward to Jesus’ death and resurrection and proves that He who raised Lazarus cannot be bound by death but will Himself once and for all break the shackles of death and sin by His own death and resurrection. Jesus’ miracle points forward to the day when He will ultimately make all things new! There will be no more reason to weep for He Himself will wipe away every tear (Rev. 21:4)!

So, dear beloved, take heart, Jesus, who is God, weeps as you weep. He feels your misery. However, He does not leave us there, as everybody else has to because they are not Lord, but offers us the solution to all pain and misery. How does He do that, what solution does He give? Jesus gives Himself, His own life, He takes the misery upon Himself on the cross. He bears the wrath we all deserve. Through what Christ did on the cross, for all those in Christ, all things will be restored!

We can rejoice in that Jesus who is God wept. Lazarus died. Why? Ultimately, because the wages of sin is death (Rom. 3:23). Yet Jesus wept. He not only wept over the broken creation but entered into it, to restore it. So rejoice. Rejoice, that Jesus wept.