"Jesus wept.” John 11:35
Memorization of Bible verses most definitely is not my forte. But this one I can memorize. There—snap—I just did it. “Jesus wept.”
But finding a Bible verse to memorize is low on my list of priorities. It’s more useful for me to find Bible verses that tell me something about the character of Jesus, that give me something to hang on to when life is hard and dark, when I question God’s goodness and purpose. Memorization isn’t nearly as important to me as understanding.
This particular instance of Jesus weeping comes from the account of the death of his friend Lazarus. Martha and Mary, the sisters of Lazarus, had sent for Jesus when their brother was ailing, but Jesus saw no urgency to rush to Nazareth. When he finally did arrive, Lazarus was dead and had been in the tomb for four days, starting to smell rotten. This is when Jesus wept.
Jesus knew that he could raise Lazarus from the dead. But he didn’t get cocky and brush aside his own grief and the grief of his friends at the death of their brother. Jesus fully accepted his humanity and felt the pain of losing someone he loved. He understood how we feel when we are helpless, powerless to escape the sadness of life. Just like us, he wept. I take some solace in knowing that, because I know that he gets it. Yes, Jesus can see the big picture when I can’t. He knows that death is part of the cycle of life and he knows that there is a big unseen eternal live beyond this frail human life. But, even though he knows that, and even though he knew he would raise Lazarus from the dead, he wept.
So when I’m crying, inconsolable in my grief, all I have to do is remember that one Bible verse that I just memorized—Jesus wept.