Sand Mountain Sermonette 18
John 11:35; John 11:33; Hebrews 4:16; Revelation 21:4
The Tears of Jesus
“Jesus Wept.” (John 11:35)
The shortest verse in the Bible, one which many of you most likely memorized in Vacation Bible School when you were a child as I did, speaks volumes to the heart of God! John tells us of Jesus’ weeping at the funeral of His best friend, Lazarus. John 11:33 says, “When Jesus therefore saw her (Mary, Lazarus’ sister) weeping and the Jews who came with her, also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit, and was troubled.” Through the tears of Jesus, we see that tears touch the heart of God. At the tomb of Lazarus, we see that Jesus weeps over our sorrows and that He is touched by our broken hearts.
As a pastor, I have witnessed many times as I stood by a coffin in a funeral home or at the grave site, a friend, neighbor, or co-worker burst into tears the moment he or she saw the bereaved. My father died several years ago, and the night of the viewing, many people from my hometown and surrounding area passed through the line to comfort my mom, my brother and his family as well as my own family. During that time, I shed quite a few tears, but when a little old man accompanied by his granddaughter walked up and introduced themselves to me, I really lost it! She told me her grandfather was an Albertville city policeman with my dad back in 1962. That instant, a black and white photo that had been taken of my dad and all the policemen including this gentleman who served on the police force that year; all dressed in uniform, entered my mind. John tells us when Jesus approached Mary and saw the others, including Mary’s sister Martha, in tears, their sorrow moved His heart!
I am also taken back to my field experience in Clinical Pastoral Education (C.P.E.) that occurred in seminary in the 80’s at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington. One day I was assigned to walk the children’s cancer wing and visit with children and youth and their families. After the completion of my assignment, I went into the hospital’s chapel, one in which I found myself alone, and I wept and wept. About a week later, when I was having one of my IPR (Interpersonal sessions) with my chaplain supervisor, Chaplain Bojia, I told him of my broken heart over the children with cancer and of my feeling that God might be calling me into full-time children’s ministry upon my graduation from seminary. Chaplain Bojia, a wise and committed Christian, listened lovingly to my words and then he said to me, “Louie, consider that God may be telling you in the midst of your emotions, that He is not calling you into full-time children’s ministry.” I went back and Nancy and I prayed about this, and I felt a peace from God directing me to stay on my current course to become an ordained pastor in a local church; one in which I still have to opportunity to minister to children. That day in the chapel, Jesus was crying with me! He was weeping with me over my broken heart regarding these precious children and their families and I believe He gave Chaplain Bojia the words to speak over me that day!
Christian, you serve a Lord who is near, not far away! Jesus wept! It’s okay to cry.
(Ponder Hebrews 4:16 and the beautiful scene pictured in heaven in Revelation 21:4).