My favorite verse is “Jesus wept.” I think I came up with that as a smarty-pants answer when I was a teenager and the teacher asked for your favorite verse. I probably couldn’t come up with some great flowery scripture at the moment, so I went with the shortest verse in the Bible. But the truth is, as the years have evolved, that scripture has proved itself to be my favorite.
See, when you think of Jesus, you think of this super-hero ability to fast for 30 days and nights in the desert – NO FOOD, NO WATER. Anytime I have fasted, I usually have only fasted food. You can drink all day and keep your hunger away. And now God is convicting me of that, that it’s not true sacrifice. And I haven’t fasted for more than a few days at a time. When you think of Jesus – in human form – being able to do these things, it makes him seem less like a person and more like a God. But this one scripture, to me, shows just how human he is.
The story is found in John 11, when Lazarus dies. Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha were three of Jesus’ closest friends. Mary was the one who poured perfume on Jesus’ feet and dried them with her hair. I have always believed Mary or Martha is the woman in the Passion of the Christ that had that haunted look and followed Jesus everywhere he went. Not sure of that, but that’s who she is in my mind anyway. When Jesus gets word that Lazarus is sick, he instantly says, “He will not be sick unto death but this is for God’s glory.” So immediately upon hearing the news, Jesus decided what he was going to do.
He tarries where he is for another two days, but eventually reaches the city of Bethany where Lazarus lived. Martha runs out to meet him with an accusation – “Where have you been? If you had been here, my brother would not have died!” Can you imagine accusing Jesus? They were good friends – they spoke as friends – and let’s be real: He probably would not have died as Jesus would have healed him. Then Martha follows up with a “But I know that even now, God will give you whatever you ask.” She accuses but then follows up with a “But it’s not too late – this can be fixed because you are Jesus, the healer, the miracle worker.”
Martha runs back to tell Mary that Jesus is in town, and Jesus stays where he is rather than going to their home. Mary reaches the edge of town and immediately says, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Translation: “What have you been doing? Healing random strangers? When your friend, the one you love, is dying? What is up with this?” Mary is weeping, as are the Jews who came with her. Jesus asks to see the tomb, and as they traveled, Jesus wept. The Jews believed it was because Jesus loved Lazarus so much. But we now know that Jesus knew he was going to raise him all along! So why did he weep?
I believe he wept because they wept. His compassion is so real, His ability to read us, to know when our hearts are broken, He weeps with us when we weep. That does not mean he doesn’t know what may be down the road, but it means He is there for us while we are going through it. When I got divorced, even though I had Biblical grounds, I lay in my bed one night, and I was like, “You know, God, is this really your plan for me? I’ve been a Christian my whole life, and now my children are going to be raised by a single mother, a split family, and I have the shame of this divorce and now have to start over, worry about all these things, and this is what you intend for me?” I wasn’t really accusing – it was just such severe, severe disappointment in how my life was turning out.
Almost instantly, I had a vision of a ruler-like thing, and it had these little crosshatch marks on it, and about a third or half way through the ruler, this finger pointed to it and says, “This is your life, and you are right here. But you will make it to here” (pointing to the end of the ruler) “and I will be with you every step of the way.” The most amazing peace came over me, and I just knew that God was still in control; He still cared for me, He still loved me and He had not left me. That was enough. I raised my head up and the depression left me. Many times over the last 21 years in a blended family, God has reminded me that He is with me, He will never leave me, He is by my side. And that is enough.
See, Jesus knew within minutes, the sorrow would be gone and the celebrating would begin – but for now, He was human, and his friend was dead and his loved ones were mourning. So he mourned with them. Just always, always know that NO MATTER WHAT you are going through, Jesus is there with you; He is there by your side; He is weeping and mourning with you, even though He knows that in the morning, there will be joy. Just hold tight, don’t give up, keep your eyes in the right place and your spirit in communion with God, and you will make it! You are in the middle of the timeline, but you need to get to the end – and you can do it. It is worth the trip!
My name is Teresa Evans. I am a wife to Tom, a retired Circuit Judge, and I am a court reporter by trade, a mother by God's grace and a lover of Jesus Christ. I've grown up in a family blessed with many miracles, and have received multiple miracles myself.