Jesus – Fully Human, Fully God
‘Jesus wept’, (John 11:35) is described by Wikipedia as ‘the shortest verse in the King James Bible.’
On this occasion, Jimmy Wales’ website is correct – these two little words make up an entire verse of God’s Word!
Unfortunately, the brief nature of this passage means that it is possible to overlook the earth-shattering message behind those ten letters.
To understand the true importance of what John is telling us we first need to understand exactly who Jesus is.
The opening verses of John’s Gospel offer a clear description of his divine identity:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1, verses 1-2.)
In the words of the Nicene Creed Jesus is; (the) one Lord Jesus Christ the only Son of God, begotten from the Father before all ages, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of the same essence as the Father. In other words, Christ is God; co-equal, co-eternal and sharing the same essence as the Father. he is all-wise, all-powerful and any other superlative you can call to mind.
John is certainly keen to describe Jesus’ authority, majesty and sonship, but he is equally keen to stress that, despite his awesomeness ‘Jesus wept.’ That’s right, the God of all creation is capable of tears! In the context of this verse, he was crying over the death of his dear friend, Lazarus, who had passed away after being ill. (See John 11: verses 1 and 14.)
The fact that Christ Jesus was ‘made in human likeness’ while also being ‘in very nature God’, (Philippians 2: verses 6-7) and exposed to the rawness of human emotion is hugely significant for his followers on earth
If, as John’s Gospel states, Jesus expressed feelings of ‘love’, (verse 8), ‘joy’ (verse 11) and of course, tearful sadness (John 11:35) then he understands the full spectrum of emotions as experienced by every human being. Just as importantly, he cares about the lives he created and wants to do every aspect of life with each of us. He finds ‘joy’ in those he loves. Crucially, in Jesus ‘we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathise with our weakness, but we have one who was tempted in every way just as we are – yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and grace to help us in our time of need.’ (Hebrews 4, verse 15.)
Throughout my life, I have known the pain of being told I would amount to very little. I have felt the agony of a surgeon’s scalpel in tandem with the rejection by my peers. I was also advised to surrender my ambitions because I was thought to be incapable of fulfilling them. On the flipside, I have been blessed to experience the joy of graduating, I have experienced the thrill of seeing my scribblings published and known the joyous love that exists between a husband and wife.
In all things, I have experienced the power of a loving Saviour who ‘came into my heart and shut the door’ when I asked him to as a little boy. He has rejoiced with me in the triumphs, he also enabled and carried me through some incredibly tough times. Without him, I do not think I would be alive right now. What Jesus did for me, he can do for you.
The key to having the most fulfilling life here on earth is to ‘delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.’ (Psalm 37, verses 4-6)
Jesus the Saviour who wept in love and rejoiced in his followers will never let you down.