Article By: Hannah Miller, High School Youth & Young Adults Pastor
As you get older, build more relationships, and live more life, you face more of the world’s brokenness around you. In the past few months, I have been put in a place to walk alongside some profoundly hurting people. I look at their situations, and my heart aches for them. And so often, in these situations, all we can do is stand by them, weep with them, and pray for them.
In John 16:33, Jesus says, “In this world, you will have trouble.” Whether we like it or not, as we live out our days here on earth, we will encounter trouble, heartache, and hurt not just in our own lives but also in the lives of those around us and those we love. But, if we remember the end of that verse, Jesus doesn’t just leave us in pain. He continues, saying, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
I have been thinking about this a lot: the fact that in life, we will have trouble. I so often want to try to self-protect. I want to shield myself and others from pain, hardship and brokenness. If I’m honest, and I’m sure I’m not the only one, I want heaven here on earth! When I see those I love walking through grief, sickness, and pain, I want to take it away from them. My heart breaks on their behalf!
As I pondered this, I kept thinking of the shortest verse in all Scripture. John 11:35 is just two poignant words, “Jesus wept.” Let’s unpack this story and see what it teaches us about walking through our troubles and others through their problems.
John 11 explains that a man named Lazarus (a dear friend of Jesus) was very sick. His sisters, Mary and Martha, send a message to Jesus saying, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” (John 11:3). AFter a few days, Jesus and his disciples head back to Judea, back to Lazarus and his family. However, by this point, Lazarus had already succumbed to his illness, and Jesus knew this (John 11:4).
Let’s pick up the story in verse 17: “On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in losing their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she met him, but Mary stayed home.”
Martha finally returns to Mary and tells her to come and see Jesus. Mary falls at Jesus’ feet in deep anguish and grief. Verse 33 says: “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.” Seeing others in pain moved Jesus deeply. He felt their pain and anguish deep in his Spirit.
They take Jesus to Lazarus’ tomb, and this is where we encounter those powerful two worlds: “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). Jesus stood weeping with the people, not out of hopelessness (for shortly after this moment, he raises Lazarus from the dead), but out of sorrow for those around him. It was Lazarus’ death that caused him to weep; it was the pain in the faces and hearts of those around him.
Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.” This has impacted me, and I’ve asked myself, “Who am I weeping with?” Not: “Whose situation am I trying to fix?” Not: “Who needs me?” Just: “Who am I weeping with?”
The situation that Jesus was in, witnessing other’s grief due to sin, has not changed. We are all in the same position that he was in. He looked and saw the effects of sin on those he cared about, and those same effects are ravishing our world every day. Are we burdened by the lost? Are we weeping, not because those around us are in pain, but because of sin? That’s the core issue! Not that we did something wrong, and now God punishes us in revenge. No, since the Fall (where Adam and Eve chose their way over God’s), sin has been causing havoc, and we all bear the marks of it.
Matthew 9:35-38 says, “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he told his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore, ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers into his harvest field.”
Jesus looked at the crowd and saw people who were “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” He always saw a more profound need within people. Even amid healing and working miracles, Jesus knew their greatest need was to know God and follow him. What do you see when you look out at those around you: your school, work, families, and the grocery store? Do you see broken, hurt, and helpless people? Do you see people not as projects to fix but as sheep needing guidance?
Do you see people hurt and burdened by sin and needing the love of Jesus? Do you weep with them in their pain? Weeping, not because they hurt, but because sin can so easily ravish? Not weeping because of anguish, but weeping because they are lost?
As the Body of Christ, we have to weep with our brothers and sisters experiencing grief and those who don’t yet know Jesus. Our burden is twofold: we weep with the broken and weep for the lost.
Maybe for you, you’re in the midst of grief and pain. I want you to hear four important words today: Jesus. Weeps. For. You! He does not change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). What broke Jesus’ heart in John 11 breaks his heart today. That his people experience the pain that comes with the effects of sin has him weeping for you! You’re not alone in your pain and your grief. Jesus wept, and he weeps still.
But, maybe for you, Jesus has led you to this blog today, and you’re feeling lost. It’s not an accident that you’re reading this right now. Jesus wants a relationship with you. He wants you to find life and purpose and meaning. But that can only truly be found in a relationship with him. If you want to know more about what it means to welcome Jesus into your life, please connect with us! We would love to share the love of Jesus with you!