Trivia or Truth?

My children laughed, remembering the puppet show from VBS the night before. The skit featured a puppet who struggled with memorizing scripture. His puppet friend offered to help out.

“Perhaps you can break it down into two parts," The puppet friend suggested. "What can you remember?”

The first puppet scratched his cloth chin. “Well, it was something about Christ crying.”

I laughed along with my children at the puppet who couldn’t memorize John 11:35 the shortest verse in the Bible: “Jesus wept.” 

The answer to countless trivia questions and the first choice for Sunday school memory verses, John 11:35 often gets a bad rap. I could see the humor in the puppet skit, but as I laughed, my throat closed around a lump. See, only a few days before my grandmother had passed away. Suddenly “Jesus wept” wasn’t just a trivia answer to me. 

John 11:35 comes right in the middle of the passage about the death of Jesus’ good friend, Lazarus. In the rest of the chapter, Jesus teaches His disciples about the resurrection. He tells Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” (John 11:25, 26

What I find so amazing about this passage of scripture is this: Jesus knew what came next. He knew He would stand outside Lazarus’ tomb and order Lazarus to come out. He knew Lazarus would stand, shake off his grave clothes, and live. Furthermore, He knew that even if He did not raise Lazarus from the dead, Lazarus already possessed eternal life. 

And yet, He wept.

In those two small words we learn an important truth — Jesus is human. He is subject to the same emotions we fall under.

At the death of a friend, Jesus cried. 

What comfort to know Jesus sympathizes with our grief. He sympathizes with us not only because He created us and loves us, but also because He too lost loved ones.

    “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16)

Perhaps, like me, you’ve recently experienced a loss. I pray that you find comfort in the shortest verse in the Bible: Jesus wept.