“Jesus wept.” It’s the shortest verse in the Bible, and one of the dearest.
In typical biblical fashion, we don’t get a parenthetical commentary or a voice-over narration explaining what is going on in the mind of Jesus in John 11:35. Although there are myriad reasons why Jesus might have gotten choked up at the grave of his friend Lazarus, the gospel writer saw fit to keep it simple with just two words: Jesus wept.
PB is often asked to perform funeral services for people who have no church home. In many instances I am asked to play the piano and sometimes to sing a solo. In our church, the piano player faces the congregation, not far from the front pew. It’s a great set-up for leading praise music on Sunday mornings, but at funerals I find myself face to face with weeping mourners. That’s what happened this week.
I didn’t know the elderly gentleman who had passed away. I wasn’t acquainted with the family. But right in front of me sat a young man who was deeply sorrowful and he couldn’t contain his tears. Briefly looking up from my music, I caught a glimpse of his grief and I knew I was in trouble. Suddenly, the notes on the pages of “Amazing Grace” became blurry. At the funeral of a total stranger, I reached for the box of kleenex under the piano bench. “Mourn with those who mourn” is an easy command for me. I can’t seem to watch anyone cry without feeling the need to join in.
A friend of mine, who is going through an unimaginable time of deep sadness, came the other day. I met her at the door, we hugged, then I grabbed the tissues and we sat down and cried together. Sometimes it’s the only thing we can do. Sometimes it’s the best thing we can do.
It’s comforting to know that Jesus doesn’t just see our tears, or hear our cries, but that He actually joins in and weeps with us in our times of sorrow. As Joanna Weaver says, “Though Jesus knows our triumphant outcomes, though he sees the joyful ending just around the bend, he still gets down in the middle of our sorrow and holds us close, mingling his tears with our own.”*
You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8
*Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, page 134