Since I was a child I have known that the shortest verse in the Bible was “Jesus wept” in John 11:35. What I haven’t known is why He cried. At first I thought I was because Lazarus had died, but Jesus knew his death was temporary and specifically went there to raise Him from the dead. If that was the case, why would He cry over his death? It made no sense to me. And it wasn’t just a regular, tears streaming down the face cry either. It says He wept which implies a lot more.
I was watching an American football documentary earlier this year on the life of Tom Landry. For those of you who are unfamiliar with that name, he was the coach of the Dallas Cowboys and always wore a “funny hat”. He had a complex system that changed how football is played. He was also very stoic. A player was once asked if he ever saw Landry smile. He said, “No, but I was only on his team for nine years.”
Despite his ingenious methods of coaching, he had six straight losing seasons with the Cowboys. At the end of the sixth season, after losing to Vince Lombardi again, he broke down and wept in the locker room in front of his players. For the next twenty years, the Dallas Cowboys had winning seasons with five Superbowl appearances. When asked about what made the change, the players all pointed to that moment when he cried. For the first time, they saw him as human.
I wonder if the same thing happened when the disciples saw Jesus cry. They had watched him perform miracles every day for a while. Could they have focused so much on the God side of Jesus that they failed to see His human side? Could they have been following Jesus without being emotionally attached to Him? Did this event change how they saw Jesus and then changed their focus and enthusiasm? I don’t know. I think it’s a possibility though.
Jesus understood relationships. He valued them as we should. He knew we needed to see His human nature as well as Hid God nature. He understands what it means to cry. He knows what it’s like to have someone you love die. He has been wounded by a friend that turned their back on Him. He experienced a wide range of emotions while here and can empathize with you in your pain and suffering. He was fully God and fully man.
I’m glad that John recorded the smallest verse in the Bible. I think it is actually one of the biggest verses there is. It reminds us of His human nature that allows us to emotionally connect with Him. It shows that He had feelings. It also leads to the part where He raised Lazarus from the dead reminding us there is nothing He can’t do. I hope the next time you come read the shortest verse in the Bible, you don’t skip past it. I hope you stop and think about what it means to you to know he wept and felt pain just like you.