April 04, 2017

Jesus Wept

John 11:17-20, 32-36

Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

—  John 11:35-36

Many mourners attended Lazarus’s burial, but not his friend Jesus. Nonetheless, “Jesus wept.” Jesus’ gut-wrenching grief highlights the Savior’s sorrow over sin and death and what their curse does to us. Jesus was “deeply moved in spirit and troubled.” We can’t imagine the depths of divine grief buried in these words. And as he grieves death, sin, and evil, so do we.

We live near Plymouth, Massachusetts, where there is a cemetery of Europeans dating to the 1620s. We enjoy wandering among the headstones and wondering about the people buried there. Their lives were difficult. Many died very young. Death took its toll among the Pilgrims as it does among us. We mourn loved ones whom we will not see again in this life.

Jesus mourned a friend whom he would soon raise from death. Lent invites us to grieve as Jesus grieved, and to glory as he gloried—in the death of death. May we all see the depth of the Savior’s grief over sin in order to glimpse his resurrection glory.

“Jesus wept” is Scripture’s shortest verse—and one of its most profound. Imagine the Son of God, who would defeat death forever, weeping with mourners at the grave of the man he was about to resurrect. Lazarus would die again. Jesus would soon die too.

Let’s grieve with Jesus over our sin, but let’s not grieve without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). See how he loves us!

Jesus, comfort us with your grace. We grieve, but not without hope—all because of you. Amen.

About the author — Norman F. Brown

Chaplain Norman F. Brown graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, in 1969. He served aboard destroyers during the Vietnam conflict and ashore in San Diego, Calif., as an instructor. By then God had made clear his call to work in pastoral ministry, and Norman entered Calvin Theological Seminary, graduating in 1980. Chaplain Brown pastored churches during his ministry career but spent most of his time as a navy chaplain. During one assignment he served three years at Holy Loch, Scotland, where he and his wife, Ruth, encountered the Iona Community and their emphasis on spiritual disciplines. Chaplain and Mrs. Brown have three married children and nine grandchildren.

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