Maybe you know this; maybe you don't. Jesus wept and so did I.
This moment into the emotional life of Jesus is found in the gospel of John when Jesus comes to see his friends - Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Lazarus had died (although Jesus would raise him from the dead - which is not the point of these thoughts). Jesus was moved by the emotions of His friends and He wept with them. The sacred texts also tell us to "weep with those who weep."
I wrote in a recent blog about the generosity of God and the reality that He has given us what we need to live a godly life, participate in His divine nature and escape the world's corruption and our evil desires. But, what I am struck by is, not simply a godliness that produces moral behavior and a lifestyle like the "powerful" Jesus, but also the ability to weep. Jesus wept and that's godly.
I bring up Jesus' weeping because, recently I was talking with my therapist about my dad's death in December 2013 and how my recent emotions and memories highlighted hidden pain and grief in my heart. I was shocked by the tears and sorrow that ensued as he and I talked. I'm convinced Jesus wept, as I wept, and that's godly. I wonder how much my tears express a more authentic prayer, which could never be captured in words.
I struggle sometimes to know the role of weeping and lamenting in a faith that stands upon the bedrock of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. When St. Paul writes about the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15, he punctuates his point with triumphant language. YES! We are triumphant, but not because we don't hurt or weep, but because we can hurt and weep, knowing that Christ meets us in our pain. He meets us in our pain, not to judge us, but to say "I understand." He meets us in our pain to say, "I've been here. I hurt with you. I'll weep with you." Once the tears stop, Jesus grabs us by the hand and leads us forward into hope, joy, peace and healing.
I wept and so did Jesus. He is such a comfort to me and His eternal mercy and kindness are indescribable. I can't believe He saved me and called me into His family. I don't want to avoid the tears. The promises of Jesus enable me to share in His divine nature; namely weeping, and He weeps with me. Tears matter to God.
I leave you with the words from the classic Hymn, "Jesus Wept."
Draw near, ye weary, bowed and broken hearted;
Ye onward travelers to a peaceful bourne;
Ye, from whose path the light has all departed;
Ye, who are left in solitude to mourn:
Tho’ o’er your spirit has the storm cloud swept,
Sacred are sorrow’s tears since Jesus wept.
The bright and spotless Heir of endless glory,
Wept o’er the woes of those He came to save;
And angels wondered when they heard the story,
That He who conquered death, wept o’er the grave.
For ’twas not when His lonely watch He kept
In dark Gethsemane, that Jesus wept.
But with the friends He loved, whose hopes had perished,
The Savior stood, while thro’ His bosom rushed
A tide of sympathy for those He cherished,
And from His eyes the burning dewdrops gushed:
And bending o’er the tomb where Lazarus slept,
In agony of soul, then Jesus wept.
Lo! Jesus’ pow’r the sleep of death has broken,
And wiped the tear from sorrow’s drooping eye:
Look up, ye mourners, hear what He has spoken,
He that believes on Me shall never die.
Thro’ faith and love your spirit shall be kept;
Hope brighter grew on earth when Jesus wept.