Do you know the shortest verse in the Bible? In many translations, it’s only two words long: “Jesus wept.” (Check out John 11 to read the whole story!) Jesus was in a crowd of people when he learned that his friend Lazarus had died four days earlier. Jesus, like any of us, was sad to hear that his friend had died. And so he cried.
Did you notice that he didn’t feel like he had to go off somewhere private to cry? So often when I’m sad, I don’t want anyone else to know. I feel embarrassed to cry in front of somebody else, as if they might think less of me if they see my feelings. Instead of crying in a crowd, I cry by myself.
Jesus does something different. He is overcome by his sadness and the sadness of the people around him, so he cries. Not just a few tears, either. He weeps. He’s probably ugly crying. In front of a crowd of people. Jesus doesn’t seem embarrassed, though. He’s not hurrying off to get some privacy and a box of Kleenex. He is sad. He cries. It’s that simple.
The people around him didn’t make fun of Jesus or judge him for crying. They noticed how much he cared about Lazarus that he would cry for him. By showing his tears, Jesus showed everyone how deeply he loved his friend. He loves us that deeply, too.
As followers of Jesus, we don’t have to hide our feelings any more than Jesus did. If we’re sad, we can cry. If we’re happy, we can smile. If we’re confused, we can ask questions. Jesus is showing us something important: that our feelings and our ways of expressing them are part of who we are. Jesus didn’t hide his feelings. Why should we?
Heavenly Father, thank you for the example of your son Jesus who showed his feelings and wept at the death of Lazarus. Help me show my feelings as Jesus did, honestly and openly. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my savior. Amen.
By Pastor Beth Wartick
Trinity Lutheran Church