It's been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, I would add that a few words elicit a thousand emotions.
Short phrases or sentences are often more powerful than a speech or essay. True story, I was perusing Barnes & Noble the other day trying to gain a little inspiration. After touching an untold number of books I went to the bathroom to wash my hands, I thought I was alone. As I'm washing my hands, I hear a man in the stall adjacent to me utter these two words, "Oh, Lord." Needless to say, I got out of there as fast as I could.
This past summer I’ve had the honor of presiding over many weddings. As the couples held hands in front of God, family, and friends, I asked them if they would make a covenantal promise, to love and cherish each other in sickness and in health, for rich or for poor, and they sealed these promises together with two words, "I do.”
Two words can be of monumental significance, and the more I read the Gospels, the more I'm struck by the significance of these two words in John 11:35, "Jesus wept.”
In John 11 Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, has died. Jesus is close friends with the family, He knew Lazarus was sick, but He intends to step on the scene of Lazarus’ death in a way that glorifies God through the Son so that people may believe. He travels to Bethany, just a few miles southeast of Jerusalem, and everything changes.
When we read, “Jesus wept,” we get a picture of the humanity and relatability of Jesus.
Jesus knew that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. He knew that in moments Lazarus was going to walk out of that tomb, hug his sisters, get cleaned up, and grab a bite to eat, yet Jesus still wept. If you’re the Son of God, wouldn't it be difficult to relate to others? If you knew that death was not beyond your ability to overcome, why weep over death? But that’s not our Jesus, He is moved by our emotions.
I love walking with our God who doesn’t chastise us in our weak moments, but who moves towards us. He understands our pains and rejoices with us in our victories.
“Jesus wept.” It doesn’t say, “Jesus had the sniffles and wiped away a single tear.” It says, wept. This is the ugly cry. This is deep acknowledgement and empathy. Jesus doesn’t simply see our struggles, He understands and feels them as we do.
Surely you would expect the Son of God to be arrogant. As He's performing miracles you would think He’d invite everyone to watch. “Hey everyone come and see how good I am at making impossible things happen!” But most of the time it was the opposite. Jesus didn't come to earth to rule and reign, but to take on the role of a servant.
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
An unfathomable display of humility. We can see just how highly God values humility in the next verse, Philippians 2:9, “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name…"
When Jesus moves towards this broken, hurting family and people, He is heartbroken with them. Not just for them, but with them. It takes a certain amount of humility to not just see someone else’s pain or struggles and say, “Oh man, I’m glad I’m not them,” but to step down into their pain, come alongside them, weep with them, and be with them in their lamentation.
Jesus doesn't swoop in like a superhero who only comes through to save the day, He walks with you in all circumstances. He’s not a superhero, He’s a Savior. In John 10:12 Jesus tells us that He isn’t just some hired hand. When He sees a wolf coming He doesn't scatter and abandon the sheep. He says in John 10:14, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me — just as the Father knows me and I know the Father — and I lay my life down for my sheep.”
“Just as the Father knows me and I know the Father,” that is intimate knowledge. He could’ve used any analogy but He kept it in the family. A father is not dismissive of the emotions of His children. He holds you in your heartache and brings healing to the brokenhearted.
Jesus turns sorrow into joy, but isn’t it a beautiful thing to have a relationship with a God who so passionately feels what we feel, yet who is so powerful that He takes away the sting of death?
If you’re hurting, this is Jesus. He moves towards you in your struggles. He sees, feels, and understands. He knows. In Christ we struggle as sons and daughters, not illegitimate children. Your breakup isn't the end, getting rejected isn’t the end, feeling lost isn’t the end, death isn't the end, but that doesn’t mean you can’t grieve. It means you aren’t grieving alone or without hope. Jesus isn’t done writing your story. He turns sorrow to joy and death to life.
Don’t overlook the significance of every single thing that God is doing in your life. Look at the significance of two words. Your weakest moments are where God can use you to show just how great His strength is, the most monotonous moments in life can be used to bring monumental glory to the Kingdom of God if you’ll let Him.
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If you like what you read here, I’d love to encourage you to check out my first book that comes out this November, Your Mess Matters: Trusting The God Who Creates From Dust And Redeems By Blood. Just click the button beneath!