September 20, 2016

John 11:35: Jesus wept.

Devotional Thought

We sat on the front porch for what felt like an eternity.  She cried.  I felt helpless, not knowing what to say.  My cousin’s mother (my aunt) had passed away hours before.  I had never been trained for this and had no idea what to do.  I desperately wanted to console her and I searched for the right words, words that would offer comfort and encouragement.  I felt like Peter, who the Bible said, “not knowing what to say, spoke.”  Finally, I simply said, “I’m sorry.”  She smiled and we sat there for another several minutes watching the lightning bugs on that warm Kentucky night.

The eleventh chapter of John tells the story of Jesus as he approached the tomb of Lazarus who had died some 4 days earlier.  Verse 35 is the shortest, yet one of the most meaningful verses of the Bible:   Jesus wept.  Those two words provide an outward depiction of His sorrow and the deep sense of pain that often accompanies death.  His tears communicated not only a personal sense of loss, but also the deep level of care and concern that Jesus had for Mary and Martha.

My cousin later told me how much it meant that I would sit quietly and patiently with her on the saddest night of her life.  From that experience I learned that we don’t always have to know exactly what to say or what to do.  People don’t necessarily expect us to have all the answers.  Just caring enough to “be there” often speaks volumes.  I have learned to call this the ministry of presence.  Are you willing to “be there” for the people around you who may be hurting today?


Lord, thank you for caring so deeply for us and for loving us enough to sacrifice your Son so that we might be reconciled to you.  Help me to recognize those around me who are hurting.  Lead me to speak words of hope and encouragement. Show me how to meet physical and personal needs.  And when I need to just sit and provide a “ministry of presence,” help me to see that too.  Use me today to make a difference in the life of someone who needs Your grace and the power of the Gospel in their life.