Loosing someone you love is one of the most difficult experiences in your life. What makes it so difficult a is all the conflicting emotions you feel and how this constantly shifting emotional landscape makes it feel impossible to stand in the midst of it. It doesn’t matter the circumstances, when you loose someone you love you feel unimaginable pain as if a part of you has been torn away; you feel inconsolable sorrow at the loss of one who filled you with such joy; you feel entirely isolated and alone at the loss of one who stood beside you and with whom you shared your life; and for the Christian, you also feel in sharp contrast to all that pain and sorrow and loneliness the great joy in knowing that the one you love now rests in the hands of our heavenly Father and you shall see that loved one again in the resurrection. And so, we weep. We weep in our pain, we weep in our sorrow, and we weep in our joy, but I am here to tell you that you need not weep for loneliness, for Jesus wept.
In our Gospel text for this morning, we read how “when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, come and see.’” And our text says “Jesus wept.” Our text does not say Jesus wept because His spirit was greatly troubled, or because Mary and Martha were in so much pain and sorrow, or because of His own feelings of loss for His dear friend Lazarus, or for joy in the knowledge that He was about to raise His friend from the grave. It only says, “Jesus wept.” Now we are not talking about an uncontrollable bursting into tears. Jesus is not inconsolable. Rather Jesus is silently shedding tears. He shed tears for the beloved friend that died; He shed tears for the two women who morn the loss of their brother; and He shed tears of joy in the knowledge that this death would not lead to death, but that is was “for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” For all of this, “Jesus wept.”
How often, in your pain and sorrow, do you feel lost and alone; abandoned by God? How often have you felt that if God loved us, He would not allow such things to happen? How often have you thought of God as distant and remote – up there in the heavens while we suffered here on earth? I am here to tell you this morning that this is not so, because “Jesus wept.” Jesus was not some spirit dispassionately inhabiting flesh. Jesus was not some avatar of the divine that stand apart from the pain and sorrows of humanity. Jesus is true man. He suffered as we suffer; He felt our pain and He felt our sorrow. Jesus is one of us. But Jesus is more that just us. Jesus was not just some guy from the past who we can look up to. Jesus was not some prophet or messenger of a distant God. Jesus is God the Son incarnate. Before all creation He was; in to all eternity He is; and He sits at the right hand of God the Father in heaven – that is, the omnipresent God who is everywhere and in all times present in His heavenly kingdom. This means that Jesus the man that suffered as we suffer; that felt our pain and felt our sorrow; the Jesus who is one of us is always with us, beside us in every moment of pain and sorrow. We need not feel abandoned and alone in the midst of our sorrow, because Jesus is with us and “Jesus wept.”
But we can not only take comfort and consolation from Jesus who wept, we can likewise take hope and joy from Jesus who wept. For Jesus not only wept tears of pain and sorrow, He wept tears of hope and joy. For when Jesus wept, He knew that Lazarus would not remain in the grave. He said to Martha, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” Jesus is not only our comfort and consolation in the midst of our pain and suffering, He is likewise and answer to all of our pain and suffering. Jesus took every pain we have endured and every sorrow we have felt and He took it with Him when He was nailed to the cross. It is in knowing that the Jesus who stands with us in this and every moment took our pain and suffering, sin and weakness with Him on the cross that gives us comfort and consolation in our pain and suffering, but is it in knowing that He conquered all sin and weakness, pain and suffering on the third day when He rose from the dead that brings us hope and joy. For the Jesus that wept at the death of Lazarus and Mary and Martha’s sorrow is the same Jesus that stood before the tomb and cried out in a loud voice “Lazarus, come out!” The same Jesus that comforted and consoled Mary and Martha, raised their brother Lazarus from the dead. The same Jesus that hung on the cross dying for you and for me, stepped out of the tomb three days later and lives now and eternally with the Father and with us. And Jesus who wept is the same Jesus who said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”