The two young boys had been very close to their great-grandmother. They would tease each other, laugh together, and “Granny” would always have a little tune or rhyme to teach them. When she developed pneumonia, the family took her to the hospital. The boys were concerned, but weren’t prepared for what was to come. A bad reaction to a medication caused her disease to worsen instead of improve, and the family was called in quickly. Not quickly enough, though, and she died before they could reach the hospital.
At the funeral, the boys were very somber and held their head low, but were holding it in. That is, until the casket lid was shut. At that point they both sobbed uncontrollably. Seeing their hurt and grief was more than I could take as their father, and I cried with them. My wife, the two boys, and I held each other and cried for some time.
As we see those we love mourn, we too mourn. This empathy for each other is a sign of true friendship and love. We feel the same hurt that the other person feels, and while it may not be for the exact same reason, we cry with them.
Jesus was no different. When his friend Lazarus became sick, Jesus didn’t go to him right away. Instead, John says Jesus stayed where He was for two more days (John 11:6). He knew what the outcome of this was to be, and told others that it was for God’s glory, so that God’s Son would be glorified through it.
When He finally did go, He arrived to find that Lazarus had died. Lazarus’ sisters. Mary and Martha were mourning the death of their brother. Martha’s greeting to Jesus was interesting in that not only did she say that she believed that if Jesus had been there, Lazarus would not have died. She goes on to state “But, I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” This conversation continues as Jesus spends time with her, but then Mary finds out that Jesus has arrived. She runs to Him, and says the same as Martha, “Lord, if you have been here, my brother would not have died.” The difference? Jesus saw her and the others with her weeping.
The shortest verse of the Bible speaks volumes about the compassion Jesus had for these whom He loved. He knew what He was going to do. He knew that shortly there would be joy when Lazarus was raised from the dead. He didn’t laugh at them, or tell them that it would all be okay. No, He showed how much He cared by weeping with them. His tears weren’t for Lazarus. They were for those who were grieving. In just a few verses later, John says that Jesus was deeply moved. There was nothing superficial about this act, or the love Jesus had for this family.
Sometimes it is very tough for us determine what to do when a friend is hurting. What do we say? What do we do? For some, they do little things for their friend, such as shine their shoes for them before the funeral. But don’t feel like you have to do anything but be there for them. Sit with them, pray with them, cry with them. Just your presence can be worth more than you will ever know. That is, until it’s your turn. You’ll understand when you are the one who has been hurt, or lost someone you love. You’ll understand the love that person has for you, as they sit and cry with you, too.