As a child in Sunday School asked to memorize and recite Bible verses, I often quoted “Jesus wept” because it is the shortest verse in the Bible. The occasion of that verse was Jesus’ grief over the death of his friend, Lazarus, and his empathy for the grief of Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus. This led to Jesus raising Lazarus in chapter 11 of John’s Gospel (which was a resuscitation – Lazarus was raised back to life but had to die again later. That story prepares us to understand that the Resurrection of Jesus in chapter 20 is something more – a transformation and not just a resuscitation).
Jesus also wept over the city of Jerusalem as he entered it on the day we call Palm Sunday. He predicted the coming destruction of the city which occurred during the Jewish revolt against Rome in 70 A.D., and he wept over that tragedy. This past weekend during our Holy Land trip we visited the church on the Mount of Olives which commemorates that moment of Jesus weeping – the Dominus Flevit Church. It is beautifully designed with tear drop vessels on each corner, the same kind of vessels that were used by mourners to collect their tears of grief over the passing of a loved one.
Jesus wept. More than once. And I believe he is weeping now. Jesus weeps with those who mourn. He weeps over the violence and hatred in our world. He weeps over divisions within his Church. Jesus wept and he weeps still.
So when we grieve, hurt, and weep, we can be comforted by the One who knows us and who will dry our tears. Revelation chapter 21 anticipates a time in the New Jerusalem when there will be no more pain, no more tears, and no more death. Until then, Jesus weeps with us.