My brilliant, wonderful husband emailed me this morning with the thoughts he had on his commute, and I just had to post them! I'm so blessed to have such an amazing husband!
Here's the email:
The shortest verse in the Bible is John 11:35, "Jesus wept." This is, to my knowledge, the only time in the Bible that Jesus weeping is mentioned. Even in the garden, during his agony, it says he was greatly troubled or distressed, even to the point that his sweat was as blood; but, never again in the Bible does it mention Jesus weeping. Yet, what profound insight, mystery, and wonder is contained within this shortest of verses, these two small words!
If we are to properly understand this verse, we have to ask certain questions about it: Why does Jesus weep? What does it mean that Jesus weeps? What happens to cause Jesus to weep? What happens after? Jesus weeps right after he learns of the death of his friend Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary. We know that he then goes to the tomb of Lazarus and calls him forth, raising his friend from the dead. We must naturally assume that Jesus knew he was going to do this, even upon learning of the death of this beloved man. Why, then, did he weep?
Jesus weeping gives us insight into his Sacred Heart. He is close to us in our humanity. He is close to us in our grief. He's close to us in our loss. He's close to us in our pain. He's close to us (though He doesn't share in it) in our despair. Jesus knew that these two sisters were grieving and hurting at the loss of their brother. He, in his humanity, knew their friends and, possibly, other family were grieving at the death of Lazarus. Tradition says that, by this point, it is likely that St. Joseph had died, so Jesus, too, knew the bitterness and loss that comes with the death of a loved one. What's more, Jesus knew that death was an aberration. Jesus knew that "in the beginning it was not so" and that death is a result of sin in the world. Jesus knew that what God had created as perfection, as a paradise for His beloved children has been twisted and convoluted and corrupted such that death entered the world and these frail, wounded people had to suffer this loss. Jesus wept because he felt grief and pain and loss, in deeper and more profoundly acute ways than we ever could on this earth.
Consider what it means to "weep." People typically weep (at least in my mind) when they feel the deepest, most profound pain and are too distraught to sob. Personally, if I weep, it's because I'm feeling, deep within the core of my being, this heart-wrenching pain that makes me feel so helpless or lost that sobbing is almost a profane action. Tears streaming down his face, Jesus could still probably speak some, or could probably hold these women close to himself and comfort them in their grief. Jesus felt such compassion and empathy and grief that tears just flowed freely.
These two words, this shortest verse gives us such a keen insight into the authentically genuine humanity of Jesus Christ. It shows us that God truly became man for us. This Man, descended from heaven, born of a Virgin, grown in wisdom and stature, lost and found in the Temple, feels what we feel. He weeps with us and for us. What's more, while it gives us this insight into the authentic humanity of Christ, it also simultaneously shows us His divinity. He has the eternal perspective which affords him the capacity to weep for the whole of humanity; for the existence of death. Yes, Jesus became man and weeps with us, but he came from the Father and will return to him and thus he weeps for us, too.