Written by Staff Minister Brandon Steenbock
“Jesus wept.” Two simple words. Incredible message. If you don’t know the story, go read it in John 11. But here are the basics: Jesus’ friend Lazarus got sick and died, and Jesus shows up four days later. Lazarus has been dead long enough there’s no mistake – he’s gone. But spoiler alert: Jesus is going to bring him back to life. So why does he stop by the tomb… and weep? Is this him showing us his humanity? Letting us know he
feels what we feel? Or is he showing us the value of friendship, how deeply he feels what his friends are feeling? Maybe those things. But I think there’s something more. See, this is no mere man. This is the eternal Son of God, in the flesh, who is the Author of Life. Humanity is his creation, his idea. Life is his gift. And at the tomb of his friend, he is looking at the consequence of sin, and the power of death. And he weeps. This
isn’t how it’s supposed to be. This isn’t how he made us. He made us to be whole – body and soul, together making one human being forever. We weren’t supposed to die. Death is a violent separation of body and soul, a horror brought by sin, a destruction of something beautiful and good God made.
Should we be surprised when God himself weeps at death? Should we be surprised when we weep? When someone we love dies, we comfort ourselves with the reminder that the person’s soul is safe with Jesus. That’s a very true thing. We comfort ourselves with the reminder that death is not the end, and that’s also a very true thing. But it’s not wrong for us to weep at death. To recognize that death is an awful thing that is not supposed to happen. After all, God does.
We don’t end with weeping, though. Jesus didn’t. He wept… and then he raised Lazarus from death. When we see death, we can weep, but we look to Jesus’ resurrection and remember that he has beaten death, and he’s going to reverse it. Every sad thing will become untrue.