"Jesus wept." That's John 11:35, the shortest Bible verse. But even with just those two words, this verse still speaks some powerful truths that can radically affect the way we live and change how we traverse through faith, life and ministry.
A student in one foundations class once asked me, "Are all scriptures really useful?"
To that I could only ask whether he found any scripture to be useless. He said so confidently, "John 11:35. I've learned nothing from it."
With that statement, one must remember 2 Timothy 3:16 which states, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness."
That tells us that every narrative in the Bible points to a certain life-changing truth.
Here are three amazing lessons from John 11:35:
1. Jesus Was Fully Man
The doctrine of Christ's full humanity is an essential part of our belief. Because Jesus fully became man for us, it shows us to what extent He was willing to go to become like us. Here's one thing to consider: I don't think any dog-lover would consider being transformed into a dog just to show a dog how loved it is, but Jesus was willing to become man—a gazillion steps lower than being God—for our sake.
It also speaks to us of Christ's humility as being willing to become man just to fulfill the will of the Father. Philippians 2:7 tells us that Jesus "emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men."
2. The Cost Of Our Sin Is Christ's Tears
It's often debated whether Jesus knew Lazarus would be raised from the dead. If he did know why would He cry over a dead man whom He knew would be alive again in a few minutes' time? I believe that what made Jesus weep was knowing that Lazarus—and virtually every sinner, which means everyone who has walked on planet earth—would taste death because of one thing: sin.
Romans 6:23 tells us, "For the wages of sin is death..."
That consequence is so grave that it breaks the heart of our Saviour. But what good news it is to know that He has conquered it once and for all, and that death no longer has a hold over us if only we believe that His work was more than sufficient to free us from death's sting.
3. Jesus' Compassion Is Unmistakable
The Greek word used for "wept" in this scripture is the word dakruó, which means to weep silently. Many times in Hebrew culture, loud weeping was done as a form of a public show of grief—sometimes even insincere. But to weep softly as to have tears fall unnoticeably is unmistakable in sincerity.
Jesus' compassion and love for Lazarus stands for His love for all mankind. Jesus looks to us and feels compassion. He looks to the lost and has compassion (Matthew 9:36). Jesus is compassion, and John 11:35 justifies that all the more.