Who is the shortest man in the Bible? Knee – high – miah (Nehemiah) (LOL)!
What is the shortest verse in our Bibles? John 11:35, “Jesus wept.” (KJV version and many others). John 11:35 is only two words but it is packed with meaning. In Jesus’ tears we are presented with the heart of our Saviour and His love for us and for all humankind. As Isaiah 53:3 (NIV) reminds us, “he was a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering.” How do His tears speak?
They speak to us of His frustration over people’s indifference to Him. In Luke 19:41-44 (NIV) we read, “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” Jesus wept over the people’s indifference to His message and His person and to the coming disaster if they continued on in the path they were going. Jesus still weeps over the hardness of people’s hearts and their stubbornness to turn towards His grace and love, ultimately displayed at Calvary.
They speak to us of His compassion for our human condition. John 11:32-36 (NIV) portrays Jesus as the “God of all comfort.” 2 Corinthians 1:3 (NIV) says, “When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” Jesus has great compassion for the struggles and losses we face. He grieved deeply over the loss of His good friend Lazarus. He sheds tears for our human condition.
He also shed tears, at this point, because He knew that His fate was sealed in the raising of Lazarus: “So from that day on they plotted to take his life. Therefore Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the people of Judea. Instead he withdrew to a region near the wilderness, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples” (John 11:53-54 NIV). Jesus knew His death was drawing near. Hebrews 5:7-9 (NIV) states, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him” He shed tears and suffered death because of His love for you and I (John 3:16 NIV).
And finally, Jesus shed tears for His role in Heaven. In Hebrews 4:14-15 (NIV) we read, "Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,[a] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” Jesus now represents us in Heaven and takes our cares and concerns, our requests and joys, before the throne of grace. He is at work representing us and bringing strength and grace, healing and wisdom, into our lives through the Holy Spirit’s work in us. We praise Him that His tears, in one way, have never left us. His tears were shed in everlasting love.
May God bless you and keep you, in His tender care, as we start another week – Pastor Ralph