Back in my childhood, I attended a Baptist Church. One of the things the Sunday School Teacher would offer a free chocolate bar to the students who could memorize a Bible verse. One Sunday, one boy stood up and recited John 11:35 “Jesus Wept”, the shortest verse of the Bible. Give him credit, he got his chocolate bar, and we all learned a lesson, something that also comes from the Bible, Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:“
But aside from the spirit that this boy showed, what does that verse really mean? We’ve all wept at some point in our lives, whether as a child as we fell and hurt ourselves, or as an adult when something has affected us deeply. I know that for myself I seem to weep more these days than I ever did. Sometimes I weep out of happiness, and sometimes out of sadness, but it is a human emotion that we have very little control over.
Now note that I did say its a human emotion. Some animals, usually mammals, have been seen to weep, but since we cannot see into their minds, its difficult to determine what is going on, but with humans we know why people are weeping.
In the Bible there are only three times that it mentions Jesus showing the human emotion of crying. In Luke 19:41 “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,“Jesus was crying over the city of Jerusalem when He realized what it had become. In Hebrews 5:7 “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared“, Jesus was said to be in fervent prayer and weeping as He prayed. And finally in the shortest verse, John 11:35 “Jesus wept.” When Jesus heard of the death of His friend, Lazarus, and saw how the death was affecting the family.
Jesus could express human emotion, and his displays of tears, although rarely written about, prove that to us. It also proves that in the time that Jesus spent amongst us, He was fully human and therefore did the things that humans did. He felt pain, especially during His crucifixion, He felt and expressed love to those around Him, He felt anger at those who defiled the temple, and He felt loss at the death of a friend.
When I think about all the verses in the Bible, over 31,000, my memory of verses is very limited. I can probably recall less than ten verses with their full text and addresses, but I am working on more, but I have always remembers the shortest verse after the Sunday School incident. None of the other students were permitted to use that verse again, so we had to choose longer verses to gain our chocolate bar. But it makes you wonder how often Jesus actually did cry if its only mentioned three times.
Very little is known about His early life, we know He was born in a manger in Bethlehem, and we’re led to believe that He was a quiet baby. We next hear of Him as a boy of about 12 years, when He preaches in a temple (Luke 2:41-52), so what happened during His early childhood is unknown. But if He was like any other child, He must have fallen down occassionally and hurt Himself, did He cry then? History doesn’t give us that information unfortunately. And since His chosen profession was that of a carpenter, I am sure He must have hurt Himself from time to time when a tool struck Him, but we don’t know if He cried out then.
But we do know that the three times that He did cry, were cries for humanity by a human God! He shared our pains and our stuggles ad He became human to do just that. His ministry amongst us was short, but it lasts forever. And one day, soon, He will return to take us to join Him, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll learn about more tears that He shed. And I am sure He will shed tears for the many that were not saved.
Take the verse John 11:35 along with you to church the next time you go, stand up in front of the congregation and recite it, and maybe someone will reward you with a chocolate bar, it worked for one young boy many years ago.
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Amazing Prophecies: Daniel & Revelation Made Easy
From Daniel: Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, four great beasts and a little horn, the ram and the goat, the Messiah appears. From Revelation: Letters to the seven churches, seven seals opened, seven trumpets, the great red dragon, seven-headed leopard beast, the three angels’ messages, the seven last plagues, the great whore Babylon, victory over Satan, Satan bound for 1,000 years, the New Earth.