The shortest verse in the Bible is filled with empathy. Jesus, the author of life, understands what it feels like to experience grief and loss when a loved one dies. It hurts. It aches. We cry tears of sadness. We grieve in death. There’s a time for mourning, a time for weeping. As it says in John 11:35…
Some might question whether it’s necessary or appropriate for Christians to mourn the loss of a fellow believer. Don’t we believe they’ll be raised? Aren’t we confident they’re now with Jesus? Doesn’t our faith in eternal life make such sorrow out of place? Surely, a Christian funeral should be a celebration, not a time of grief and sadness?
Look again at John 11:35…
Jesus believed in resurrection. In fact he spoke of himself as the resurrection and the life. He knew that his good friend Lazarus would be raised from the dead. He knew, because he would raise him!
And yet, John 11:35…
If you’ve experienced the loss of someone you love, let the tears flow. Jesus did.
7 thoughts on “Faith, hope and tears”
Amen to that.
A verse that has also helped me think about good and godly grieving (that it is fine to let those tears flow), which I really only noticed late last year although I would have read it many times before is Acts 8:2, just after Stephen’s death by stoning. “Godly men buired Stephen and mourned deeply for him.”
Thanks for this post.
Hi Dave – Yes yes yes to weeping with those who weep and the Acts 8:2 verse is a helpful ripper – ta Meredith. Death remains an enemy and an insult to life and love. I think the blend of Jesus anger in John 11 and tears is the perfect winner. Anger at death and its family destroying handiwork and tears – not for his own loss – he knows he will have afternoon tea with Laz (I go to wake him up) but when he sees the tears of Mary etc He is moved by empathy – “In all their distress He too was distresssed.
That is how God feels at funerals – because to see Jesus is to see God – and so we too.
The last funeral in the old Barneys building was Kylie Crain (Steve the wonder musicians wife). It had this extraordinary sense of terrible tragic loss of her to our lives and family, and of great joy for her who had safley arrived home – at last.
Well enough of a rave. Thanks – but i don’t think Jesus wept for personal loss (Laz was sleeping) but empathy – i think
I thought it was out of empathy also. Lazarus’ family’s loss grieved Jesus. What an amazing Saviour, he felt our pain and shared in our joy. Remember when he turned water into wine? Jesus was no stranger to a party lest anyone think he was a narrow-minded kill joy.
From my friend Richard, who farewelled his wife on Easter Sunday:
Did Jesus weep as he approached the family of Lazarus from his own grief (feeling his own loss of a beloved friend) or empathy (feeling the pain of others)?
If we believe that Jesus was fully human during the three years of his ministry then how could Jesus not be weeping for both himself and his friends? It is important to me that the God I believe in, who was fully incarnate “and became fully human”, wept because of his own pain – God knows me and there is nothing that I will experience in this life that he has not experienced already – including the desperately awful loneliness of grief.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear (not / no evil) for You are with me, You comfort me.” Psalm 23.
thanks Dave for the reminder.