“When Jesus saw her sobbing and the Jews with her sobbing, a deep anger welled up within him. He said, ‘Where did you put him?’
‘Master, come and see,’ they said. Now Jesus wept” (John 11:33-35, The Message).
That’s the verse that just about anyone who ever went to Sunday School at any point can quote from memory without a second thought: Jesus wept.
It’s the shortest verse in the entire Bible, but I believe it says way more than just two words. It spoke to Jesus’ view about grieving and loss.
Jesus knew full well that He was about to bring Lazarus back from the dead. He also knew that one day He would resurrect Lazarus along with everyone else who had died after placing their faith in Him. Still He wept.
Jesus knew that death has never been the natural order of things. Death is a result of original sin resulting in a broken creation that doesn’t work like it was designed to work. Death is not what God had in mind when He spoke the worlds into being. Yet here we are.
It’s well and good to mourn loss. It’s right and fitting to grieve the passing of a loved one. Not everyone grieves the same, but everyone should grieve at death.
I attended a funeral for a friend who was a fellow deacon. As much as my mind accepted it, my heart kept telling me he should have been there. He’d be the one going around comforting everyone, giving them the big bear hugs he was known for.
We do well to weep over his passing even with the knowledge that he is more healed, more whole, more fully alive than ever before. He sees Jesus face to face and knows a kind of peace and joy that we can only dream about and long for. Yet we grieve.
Tears are the result of the now but not yet, the realization that everything that Jesus promised is sometimes so close that we can almost reach out and touch it but still just out of our grasp. This world is very beautiful but remains very broken. The ones we love may be in a better place but we still have to live in a world without their smiles and hugs and kind words. We have to miss them every single day until we are one day reunited with them.
Thanks, Ron, for showing me so much more of Jesus than I had known before. Thanks for awakening in me a compassion for the least of these. Thanks for loving your wife and family and friends and church so well. Thank you for being my friend. I will miss you for as long as I draw breath.