Read John 11:35
35 Jesus wept. (NIV)
You might think we can say little about the shortest verse in the Bible. But it reveals something important about Jesus and about life and death. It shows Jesus experiences human emotions of the unpleasant variety. He was not a pretend human being, not a deity masquerading as a human. Here at the tomb of Lazarus he felt grief.
It also reminds us that death is something to be mourned. It is more than a little disturbing when people say that they don’t want a funeral to be a time of sadness but simply a glad celebration. While we appreciate the desire to express thankfulness for a person’s life, we need also appreciate the need to mourn, even to weep.
This is true even for Christians. In our legitimate desire to focus on the glad certainties of eternal life, we dare not use this as a means of denial of grief and sorrow. In the same episode at Lazarus’ tomb, Jesus spoke of the realities of resurrection and eternal life. However, that didn’t stop him weeping. Elsewhere in Scripture we read of Christians being those who grieve but not without hope.
And we need to note that grief is not confined to death events. We grieve at the loss of a marriage, a career, physical health, a hope, a dream.
Gerald Sittser is a Christian writer in the USA. He lost his mother, wife and daughter in a car accident. Sittser records that he chose not to run from his loss but walk directly into the ensuing darkness. He said he learnt that the best way of reaching the sun and the light of day was not to head west chasing after it, but heading east into the darkness till he reached the sunrise.