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The Shortest Verse Has Huge Lessons
John 11:35 is probably the first verse most of us memorized. "Jesus wept." That's it - just two words. But, when you think about it, there are many reasons for his weeping on this occasion. Lazarus, brother of Mary and Martha, all friends of Christ, had died and been buried five days before Jesus arrived in Bethany. When he showed up, there was plenty of emotion to go around. The sisters even bemoaned the fact that had Jesus been there earlier, He could have saved Lazarus. The human side of Jesus obviously felt their pain, but the God side of Jesus understood exactly what had happened. But, when Jesus saw their grief, their doubt, heard their questions, and pondered the effect of sin, the fallen nature of man, and God's love, all He had experienced up to this point saddened both sides of Him.
One more thing. Jesus' time here on earth was coming to an end. He knew the rejection He Himself would feel in a few days. So, with all the sadness around, it is easy to understand how He could get emotional at the sight of the sisters' sorrow. There are many commentaries that speak to all these emotions, including alluding to a connection between this event and Jesus' crying over Jerusalem in Luke 19:41.
But, there is another possibility to add to the mix. Lazarus was now free of all the pain of this life and was now in what Jesus told the thief on the cross was "paradise". Jesus had already told His disciples he was going to Bethany to bring Lazarus back to life. One of the likely emotions Jesus was shedding tears about was that He was about the bring Lazarus from paradise back into this sinful world, and Lazarus would eventually have to die all over again!
No wonder Jesus wept!
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