John 11:35. It’s the shortest verse in the Bible. When I was a kid in Sunday School, it was kind of a joke verse. Our teachers of course wanted to make sure we were memorizing scripture, so this was the “go to” verse. “Of course I have some scripture memorized, Mrs. Davis; Let me recite it for you: John 11:35 says ‘Jesus Wept’.” (snicker snicker) I don’t think I’m the only kid who ever tried to get credit for doing the least possible amount of work. I probably spent more time and energy trying to find the easiest way of doing things, more time and energy than if I had just done the thing the right way from the beginning, but it was a game for me. And I was pretty good at it.
I don’t think of John 11:35 as a joke any more, and I don’t think of it as a simple way to do the least amount of work in memorizing scripture. I think of it as one of the most beautiful and powerful verses in the Bible (granted there sure are a lot of beautiful and powerful verses in the Bible).
Jesus is God, the Creator of stars and galaxies, and yet he was brought to tears over the loss of a friend. Jesus, being God, knew each person on the planet intimately – He knew the number of hairs on each persons head (whether or not he was consciously aware of each individual at all times is a theological question beyond the scope of this blog, but I can state without hesitation that Jesus IS God, and that He took part in creation), and yet Jesus was so concerned with one particular human, Lazarus, he cried.
In the early days of Christianity, when the book of John was written, the tendency of Christ followers was not to over-humanize Christ, but to over-deify him – they had trouble conceiving of Jesus as human because of how miraculous His life was. We tend to have the opposite problem today, portrying and thinking of Jesus as being too human and too ordinary. But especially back then, Jesus’ humanity was striking.
Jesus passion in John 11:35 encourages me so much! Jesus really DID care for and love his friend Lazarus. And if He can be that in love with Lazarus, then maybe he really can love me!
Do you have trouble picturing Jesus caring for you as a friend? Remember that Jesus wept. This verse (and several others listed below) help me to picture Jesus as a true friend, who can look me in the eyes and tell me he loves me. Sometimes when I’m feeling down, I try to picture Jesus as actually, physically sitting next to me, looking into my eyes, with his hand on my knee or my shoulder with love in his eyes. Here’s another video that really helps me to see Jesus’ humanity and the love that he had and the connection he had with his created ones. Check out the part where Jesus looks into the eyes of the blind man at around 1:14. And if you want some moving lyrics, listen to “Forgiving Eyes” by Michael Card. And there’s always the classic, “His Eyes” by Steven Curtis Chapman.
Mark 10:21 “Jesus looked at him with love”
John 11:5 “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus”
John 13:1 “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”
Leave a comment and share some verses or songs that help YOU see and experiences the passion and love that Jesus has for us.