The God Who Is Here

And when she had said these things, she went her way and secretly called Mary her sister, saying, ‘The Teacher has come and is calling for you.’ As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to Him. Now Jesus had not yet come into the town, but was in the place where Martha met Him. Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and comforting her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, ‘She is going to the tomb to weep there.’ Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to HIm, ‘Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.’ Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. And He said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to Him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, ‘See how He loved him!’ And some of them said, ‘Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?’”—John 11:28-37 (NKJV)

The first mention of tears in Scripture occurs in Genesis 23:2 when Abraham’s wife, Sarah, died. Abraham mourned and wept for Sarah. Jon Courson said there was no mention of tears over the fall or the flood, but when Sarah died, Abraham cried.

In Psalm 56:8 (KJV), David prays, "Thou tellest my wanderings, put thou my tears in thy bottle; are they not in thy book?" David is referring to the belief that God keeps a record of human pain and suffering so He will always remember. In Jesus’ day, women wore tear bottles—little vials that hung next to their cheek to catch their tears.

Tears are unique. Under a microscope, the saline molecule of a tear is in crystalline form and is shaped like a cross. It’s as if the Lord is saying, “I know, I understand. I wept, too.” Jesus understand our suffering as He was “despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief . . . Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:3-4 NKJV).

20 years ago, my wife and I experienced the loss of three of our parents within three months. My mother died in September 2000. My wife’s parents died in December only two days apart. We felt like we had been in a severe car crash—twice! It was really hard! But God is faithful, and we tasted God's goodness and comfort by His Presence and by the care and prayers of many.

The apostle John tells us Jesus was looking and calling for Mary. She responded and came to Him. Do you know the Lord is continually calling to us as well? He is intimately acquainted with all our ways (Ps139:3) and is aware of our hurt and pain. Jesus is very aware of what is happening with you right now.

Jesus saw the weeping and He groaned in His spirit. “Jesus wept” (John 11:35 NKJV) is the shortest and deepest verse in the entire Bible. Why did He weep? I believe our Lord’s weeping demonstrates His humanity and how He can relate to all of our experiences and how we feel. As the perfect God-Man, He experienced those things in a deeper way than we do. John MacArthur said, “His tears were generated out of grief for a fallen world entangled in sin-caused sorrow and death.”

We know that God’s presence brings us comfort (Psalm 46:1). Come to Him; cry out to Him. You will fine He is always right there beside you!

DIG: What past lesson have you learned through your pain and suffering? Did you see how God loves you? Know that He holds your tears in a bottle.

DISCOVER: Jesus is our merciful and faithful High Priest and is the God of all comfort. Whatever pain you’re experiencing, know that He bears your griefs and sorrows (Isaiah 53). What does He want to bear for you today?

DO: With the comfort He has given you, be a caring presence to someone who is suffering. Being a good listener for someone in their time of need is a great gift to give.

About the Author

Jeff Seward