There is a verse in the Bible that’s only two words…but I think it is one of the most heartbreaking. It takes place in the context of a death–the death of one of Jesus’ good friends, Lazarus of Bethany. Jesus had received word that Lazarus was sick, but for some reason delayed his journey to Bethany–and when he arrived, Lazarus was dead. Not just dead…but dead three days and already buried. The Bible says that when Jesus went to the tomb, “Jesus wept.” There’s much more to the story…it ends in hope.
But those two words have struck me with new force recently.
Jesus also wept over Jerusalem, because the people were unwilling to listen to his message of love. He wanted so badly for them to be healed…to be restored to right relationships with each other and with God.
While it doesn’t specifically say so, I think there were tears in Gethsemane…when Jesus asked for the burden of what was ahead to be taken from him. When he realized that was not possible–and acknowledged his willingness to go to the end–I can’t imagine there not having been tears. And when Judas betrayed him with a kiss, I think there must have been tears in Jesus’ eyes…tears of anguish that one of his followers had so misunderstood his message.
He cared so much for those who were his family–both his family of birth and those who had become a family of choice as they followed him. Yet all of these struggled with understanding what he was trying to share with them. They just didn’t get it.
And Jesus wept.
Those are sad, sad words–and yet they also give me hope. In those times of pain when members of our families just don’t get it…and I weep…I know that Jesus understands the depths of that pain. He’s been there and experienced it. He walks that path with us. It doesn’t necessarily take away the pain–but a shared burden can become lighter.
And there’s another reason for hope. His followers–who cowered in locked rooms after his death, fearful of what might happen–were offered peace by Jesus when he came into those locked rooms. It wasn’t an easy peace…but it was strength and courage to walk the road that lay ahead of them. It was a peace that changed them from terrified cowards into bold proclaimers…who brought a message of a living, loving God who journeys with all…who weeps with those who weep…and who offers strength and courage to walk the road ahead..