By Sarah Zaske, Pastor of Spiritual Formation at Indian Creek Community Church, Olathe, Kansas
Lord, thank you for the life-changing power of your Word. Help me to obey your Word, so that my ways may please you and lead others to you.
Jesus wept. “See how much he loved him!” the people said.
Sadness often wants to hide. If you feel like you are going to cry, you may retreat into another room to ‘get it together’ so that no one sees you sad. Maybe you isolate from relationships or social functions on days when you are feeling down. If you do cry in front of someone, chances are that you will apologize for it! Yet, the blessing of Jesus is upon those who mourn (Matt. 5:4).
While grief can be considered the internal feeling of sadness over suffering and pain, mourning is the external expression of that sadness and pain. Jesus calls us to mourn. We are to take our pain and let it be known to others. If we do this, we are given the promise of comfort.
In this passage of Scripture Jesus takes it a step further. He doesn’t just tell us to mourn, but he exemplifies this! Lazarus had died, and Mary collapsed at Jesus’s feet in tears. What was Jesus’s response? John 11:33 notes, “Jesus saw her weeping, and he saw how the people with her were weeping also; his heart was touched, and he was deeply moved.” Jesus was experiencing grief. However, today’s reading records that when Jesus went to the place where Lazarus was buried, “Jesus wept.” This was Jesus making his pain known.
This act is puzzling. If Jesus knew that momentarily he would miraculously raise Lazarus from the dead, why would he cry and mourn at his tomb? We may never fully know, but I believe this is the compassion and empathy of Jesus at its best. Jesus wept with those who wept, literally. In doing so,
he exemplified how we should love people amid their pain. Jesus showed compassion and care to others, not just through words, but also through tears. This gives us the freedom to do the same.
Think about someone you know who is currently in a painful season of life. Reach out to them today. Don’t feel the need to force words or solve their problems; instead remember that the best gift you can give them is your presence. If tears come as a result, don’t hold back. Remember that tears are a powerful way to communicate the love of God to others.
Lord, I cling to the promise that those who mourn will be comforted. Help me to mourn the pain in my life and, through the power of the Holy Spirit and the community around me, bring comfort. Give me eyes to see how I can join you in comforting those around me using not just words, but also emotional expression to show the love and compassion of Jesus.