John 11:35 says, “Jesus wept.” Perhaps many Bible students have known this verse from a child. Some may have even memorized it when too young to remember doing so. Some prided themselves in memorizing several verses, such as, “Rejoice ever-more” (1 Thessalonians 5:16), “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), “Quench not the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19), and other short verses. This may have been done as a joke, or because it was easy. However, each of these verses contains great truths, and should be taken seriously. “Jesus wept” is one such verse.
We live in a day and society where people weep or cry, sometimes loud and long. So many parents have wept over the loss of children due to violence, car accidents, accidents, and so many other things. It is not unusual to see sports fans cry over their favorite team’s defeat. Even some players are seen crying after such loses. Sweethearts may weep over a break-up. Married couples may grieve over ending a marriage. One may be devastated over the loss of a job, possessions, a friend, or other things.
A stigma is sometimes attached to those who cry, especially to men. They may be considered weak or “sissy.” Even females are chided for crying. A song of years gone by had a line in it which said, “Big girls don’t cry.” One might hear someone tell one who weeps, “Stop acting like a baby.” A weeper might be called a “Crybaby” or “sissy.” The list goes on and on.
Beloved, the Lord Jesus Christ, Deity, was neither weak, feminine, nor a baby. Yet,
“Jesus wept.” Jesus was told, “Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.” (John 11:3). John says, Jesus also “loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.” (Verse 5). Four days after Lazarus died (Verses 11-14, 17), Jesus went to Bethany, the hometown of His three friends. (Verse 1). When Jesus saw Mary “weeping…he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled” (Verse 33), and “Jesus wept.” (Verse 35). Jesus again groaned in himself as He came to the grave. (Verse 38). Lazarus was then raised from the dead by Jesus, “the resurrection and the life.” (Verses 25, 43, 44). Jesus knew God would hear Him (Verses 41, 42), and so did Martha. (Verse 22). That is one reason Jesus waited until Lazarus died to go to Bethany. Jesus knew He could raise Lazarus from the dead, because He knew God would hear Him. He also lingered so that “God might be glorified.” (Verse 4), and to produce faith in the hearts of some. (Verses 42, 45, 48). “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God; and that believing, ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:30, 31). The Son of God was a compassionate person whose every action showed His love for body and soul.
Luke wrote of Jesus’ triumphant entry into the city of Jerusalem (Luke 19:28ff), saying, “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it” (Verse 41), that is, over the things they had done and what would happen to it. (Verses 42-44). Those catastrophic events are foretold in Matthew 24. Our Lord, the sinless, spotless, Son of God could not hold back His tears as He looked to the past and future, and saw the things the Roman army, under Titus, was about to do. One can easily see the tears flowing down the cheeks of the “meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:28-30), as He enters the city, saying, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not. Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” (Matthew 23:37, 38). It is difficult to read these words, some of the saddest in the Bible, without crying with Jesus. Question: Do we weep over the lost around us, and world-wide? Have we done what we could to reach and teach them? Do we realize what will happen to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ? (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).
Jeremiah is called the “weeping prophet.” A reading of Jeremiah and Lamentations will reveal this to be true. The prophet wept over a nation God said, “have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands.” (Jeremiah 1:16). Of an unrepentant nation, Jeremiah said, “Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughters of my people!” (Jeremiah 9:1; 13:17). God’s people to-day need to weep over the divisions that oc-cur in His Church, and shed tears over elder-ships with too little knowledge to stop it. Cf. Titus 1:9-12.
Paul reminded the Ephesian elders that he had “ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:17-34, especially, verses 19, 31). How active are preachers to-day admonishing all to follow Colossians 3:17 and 1 Peter 4:11? How many believe that Galatians 1:6-9 has been duplicated, and is being repeated, even at this hour? Does the church cry over the roads some are tak-ing at this very hour? What would Paul be saying and doing were he here today?
Paul admonished the “saints” at Rome (Romans 1:7) to “weep with them that weep.” (12:15). The Ethiopian eunuch “went on his way rejoicing” upon being saved. (Acts 8:35-39; Mark 16:16). It is ever right to rejoice with the saved, with those who do good, and with all to whom good comes. See 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. Additionally, our brethren should never have to weep alone, but know that fellow Christians will be there for and with them when they sorrow, when grief and heartaches come. The song, How Sweet, How Heavenly, Is The Sight, captures the Lord’s intent for His people. The child of God, who truly loves, delights in another’s peace, but also feels and bears the pain of others. Read the entire song.
We should mourn for those who weep. “Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her” when she died. (Genesis 23:1, 2). Included was self-mourning for his loss of his precious and beloved heir together of the grace of life. “Samuel mourned for Saul” when he died, even though God had re-moved him from the throne and replaced him with David. (1 Kings 15:35-16:1). David and others mourned and wept over the death of Abner. (2 Samuel 3:31-33). Job’s three friends came to mourn, weep and com-fort Job due to the “evil that was come upon him.” (Job 2:11-13). Solomon said, “There is a time to mourn.” (Ecclesiastes 3:4). He also said, “When the wicked beareth rule”, is such a time. (Proverbs 29:2). Learn when and where to weep, and do not be ashamed to do so.
There is a great need to weep over world conditions today. Society is bombarded with evil and corruption world-wide. People are being hurt, maimed, and killed at an alarm-ing rate. There is so much suffering. Many are leaving homes, families, relatives, friends, acquaintances, and countries, seek-ing help and compassion, due to sinful lead-ers and/or oppositions. Untold numbers have lost their lives in various ways attempting to escape abuse, and seeking asylum. It is hard to hold back the tears when one sees these things. Can you put yourself in their situation?
Weeping is not a sign of weakness. Mourning is a showing, an outpouring of love and compassion, care and concern, for the brokenhearted, helpless and such like. It is one of the most excellent supports one may give to the one who needs it. Be ready always to lend a shoulder on which another may cry. We need more people to be like the compassionate Jesus. Have you cried for someone other than yourself lately?