Monday, June 27, 2016
John 11:35, the shortest verse in the bible, reads, “Jesus wept.” In context, Jesus is weeping because he has come to the home of Lazarus, finds out he has died, sees Mary and Martha despairing over the loss of their brother, and sees Lazarus’ dead body for himself. In this moment, Jesus isn’t numb to the hurt surrounding him; He feels emotional pain and deep sadness.
This striking statement, just two words, reveals so much about the humanity of Jesus.
Last week, while feeling a bit helpless and at a loss for a situation that is beyond my control, I did what I always do. I grabbed my bible..closed my eyes..and let the page flip through my fingers until it stopped on a page. With my eyes still closed tight...I laid my finder down on an unknown part of the page. Before opening my eyes, I prayed. I prayed over the verse that I was about to read...whatever it may be. I prayed that it would speak to my heart in a way that calmed me. When I opened my eyes....there it was.
I had always heard the story of Lazarus...but I never read deep into the story as a whole. I started at the beginning and read. I let it speak to my heart. There is so much more to this story that I didn't realize.
Throughout the Bible, Jesus is revealed to be both fully man and fully divine, but a lot of times I tend to forget that being fully human means that Jesus felt real pain in His life, just like we do.
His humanness ensured that He was not immune to pain, anxiety, stress, anger, or heartbreak. He felt every emotion that we do, which I find to be very comforting.
When I saw this, my heart felt so much lighter; I realized, or rather, was reminded, that Jesus literally knows exactly how I’m feeling.
So often in my prayer, I tend to focus on the power and greatness and success of Jesus. These images of Him are great for examples of how we can strive to live our lives and give us inspiration to revel in His glory and saving power, but sometimes, we just need to be reminded that someone else feels our pain. We need to feel hope from someone who has felt as low as we do and has risen to joy.
Jesus weeping is a powerful image. You don’t weep because you’re having a bad hair day, your coffee spilled, or because your wifi isn’t working. Weeping doesn’t come from getting our feelings hurt or even when we suffer a physical injury. Weeping is a pretty rare, significant action in our lives, reserved for the times when simple crying just won’t suffice. We weep when we experience heart-breaking, passionate, emotional pain.....Jesus felt just that. His divineness didn’t take away His human tendency to feel hurt and despair, so He knows exactly how we feel.
We’re not alone in our struggles or our triumphs. Reflecting on the humanity of Jesus and His emotions has helped me to see that my emotions are not only natural.....they are beautiful.....necessary, and even shared with Jesus.
I closed my bible and I wept. I prayed. And then I wiped my tears away and smiled.
My prayer had been answered.