28After Martha said this, she went and privately said to her sister Mary, “The Teacher is here, and he wants to see you.” 29As soon as Mary heard this, she got up and went out to Jesus. 30He was still outside the village where Martha had gone to meet him. 31Many people had come to comfort Mary, and when they saw her quickly leave the house, they thought she was going out to the tomb to cry. So they followed her.
32Mary went to where Jesus was. Then as soon as she saw him, she knelt at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33When Jesus saw that Mary and the people with her were crying, he was terribly upset 34and asked, “Where have you put his body?”
They replied, “Lord, come and you will see.”
35Jesus started crying, 36and the people said, “See how much he loved Lazarus.”
37Some of them said, “He gives sight to the blind. Why couldn't he have kept Lazarus from dying?”
38Jesus was still terribly upset. So he went to the tomb, which was a cave with a stone rolled against the entrance. 39Then he told the people to roll the stone away. But Martha said, “Lord, you know that Lazarus has been dead four days, and there will be a bad smell.”
40Jesus replied, “Didn't I tell you that if you had faith, you would see the glory of God?”
41After the stone had been rolled aside, Jesus looked up toward heaven and prayed, “Father, I thank you for answering my prayer. 42I know that you always answer my prayers. But I said this, so the people here would believe you sent me.”
43When Jesus had finished praying, he shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” 44The man who had been dead came out. His hands and feet were wrapped with strips of burial cloth, and a cloth covered his face.
Jesus then told the people, “Untie him and let him go.”
As any child who has participated in a Bible memorization competition in Sunday School knows, John 11:35 is the shortest verse in the Bible. I’ve often wondered why. What is it about the two simple words, “Jesus wept” that made scholars believe they needed to stand alone?
In this story, we get the impression that Mary is so overcome by grief that she can’t even muster the strength to run out to greet Jesus as her sister has. So, Jesus calls for her. She runs out to him and falls down in a flood of tears at his feet. And Jesus is “deeply moved in spirit and troubled”.
It is clear that Jesus knows his heavenly Father has heard his prayers regarding Lazarus. He knew God would raise him from the dead before he even made the trip. But where that kind of supreme confidence might tempt someone to stand apart from all the weeping and pain, Jesus feels Mary’s pain. He cries with her.
I’m thankful for John 11:35, because it’s a reminder I think we need sometimes. God, in all his glory, majesty and strength is moved by our pain. He calls us to come to him in our pain. He calls us to come out of death into life. He joins us in our tears.
Dear Jesus, Thank you for your incredible compassion and care for us when we’re in pain. Thank you that you know how we’re feeling, even in our darkest moments, and want to share that with us. Thank you that we can rest in your comfort. Amen