Someone once told me, “You’re not allowed to use definitions from Webster’s Dictionary when trying to get your point across about God.” Well guess what? I’m going to do it anyway.
“Jesus wept” (John 11:35), the shortest verse in the Bible, to me, may have the most meaning. A god, crying? Gods don’t do that, they’re gods! All-powerful! Nothing can hurt them! But, the one true God, Jesus, He actually wept–not just cried or sniveled a little—but boohooed. He bawled like a baby. How do I know?
Webster’s Dictionary defines wept as this: to cry because you are very sad or feeling some other strong emotion. OUR GOD CRIED AND GOT EMOTIONAL! Imagine that! And we are created in His image! (See Genesis 1:27). So now we know that we never have to hide how we feel, but instead, look to how Christ handled His feelings.
He actually cried, hard. Weeping is crying hard. I’ll get to why Jesus wept in just a minute, but as we can see in this short verse, God created us to be emotional because He is emotional! It’s okay to be sad. Jesus was sad, very sad that day. So when we feel sad for whatever reason, God simply wants us to, yes, feel our emotions, but then bring those emotions to Him. His Holy Spirit will then comfort us and guide us as to what to do with our emotions.
Don’t be afraid to feel. Feeling is good. Express your feelings and then don’t feel bad about expressing them. Just don’t sin while expressing them—that’s the key.
So why did Jesus weep? Did He stub His toe in the middle of the night? I’ve wept because of that. Did He burn His pizza? Again, such sadness I’ve felt after the oven overcooked my pie. No, Jesus wept because He felt the pain of His loved ones. He wept because He is so full of empathy.
Let’s do another definition here from ole Webster. He defines empathy as this: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. The ability to understand and share the feelings of another…wow…I don’t know about you, but that gives me goosebumps. My God, the Omnipotent One, CREATOR OF HEAVEN AND EARTH, He actually understands and shares my feelings? THAT’S JUST CRAY-CRAY!
Jesus wept that day because one of His best friends, Lazarus, had died; and Lazarus’ two sisters, whom Jesus was very close with as well, they were in a serious state of mourning. But let’s be clear, Jesus didn’t cry because Lazarus died. His death was part of one of Jesus’ planned miracles: power over death. He cried because of the pain Lazarus’ sisters were feeling! He cried because He is full of empathy!
Let’s back up for a sec. Four days earlier, Mary and Martha had sent someone to get Jesus because Lazarus’ health was quickly declining. They were afraid he was going to die and knew Jesus could stop this. “So the sisters sent word to Jesus, ‘Lord, the one you love is sick’” (John 11:3).
But Jesus purposely waited and didn’t rush over to heal him. Why? Because He had a much better, future purpose for this pain! The Bible says so, “When he heard this, Jesus said, ‘This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it’” (John 11:4 my emphasis added).
Most Christians know the story of Jesus bringing Lazarus back to life, but this message is not about Christ’s astonishing power over death. Oh no, this devotional is not about how Jesus allowed—didn’t cause—Lazarus’ death. It’s not about how Jesus let this tragedy happen so that maybe His greatest miracle ever–other than bringing Himself back to life–could happen! NO! THIS MESSAGE IS ABOUT JESUS FEELING OUR PAIN!
But if you’re not familiar with what happened in that story, Jesus walked up to this dead man’s grave and then spoke to one of the latest cast members of The Walking Dead. He said, “LAZARUS, COME OUT!” and he did! Stumbling from the tomb, looking like a mummy, pulling cloths off left and right, JESUS BROUGHT LAZARUS BACK TO LIFE! JUST IMAGINE THE STORIES HE HAD TO TELL! Myyyyyyyy goodness! I get so excited about the things Jesus does! Don’t you?! How awesome is our God?!
But this message isn’t about that. It’s about how Christ feels for those whom He loves—which is all of us. Jesus feels your pain! Yes, you! NEVER, EVER, EVER THINK THAT NOBODY FEELS YOUR PAIN, BECAUSE JESUS DOES AND HE’S THERE FOR YOU! He’s there! Friend, He is there!
If you don’t believe in Him, He’s longing to enter into a close, personal relationship with you. If you are a believer and you feel all alone–YOU’RE NOT! Jesus is with you always! He said it, not me, “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (see Matthew 28:20).
Do you want this relationship? Then simply say, “Jesus, help me,” and He will. He promises. I’m proof of this. I’ve personally been comforted by Him so I know it’s real. His Spirit continues to comfort me during my most troublesome times. He never leaves me.
So today, my friends, know this: God weeps. What makes Him weep? Hurting people. Why? Because He loves us so much. Jesus revealed this truth as He listened to the sisters say, “If you were just here, this wouldn’t have happened” (see John 11:21, my emphasis added). They were in such deep sadness, and Jesus felt that.
He feels your pain too. He will comfort you and then show you the good things which will eventually come out of this. You might get to see the results on this side of heaven, or you might not. Either way, Jesus will eventually reveal the everlasting benefit because of your pain. For the sad sisters, they got to see a miracle which made it to the pages of the Bible! So don’t focus so much on what or who is causing your pain. Instead, begin to focus on a God who feels your pain deeper than you do, and can do amazing things!
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father, today I want to thank you for revealing just how close you are to me. You’re so close, you feel what I feel. I also want to thank you for teaching me that you use all of my painful situations for good, future purposes. I trust you. Thank you for being with me. Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. Dad, so many of them are in tremendous pain. I ask that you comfort them with your Holy Spirit on a very deep level. Let them know you’re there. Ease their pain, please. As you do, help them to go even deeper into their relationship with you. Use this pain to teach them total reliance on you. Use this pain to let them know YOU are all they truly need–and they’ve got you forever. Even better, you’ve got THEM and you FEEL their pain! The pain won’t last forever, but your love and relationship will. Amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 2. Get your copy here!