Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept.
Sometimes life is just sad. Sometimes it’s just painful. Sometimes we lose someone we love and are overcome with grief. Sometimes we face a season of sorrow and mourning. Sometimes it is a time to weep. This is life in a world where sin entered in and sickness and death became a reality. This is a world where hurt and pain and sorrow come into our lives in different degrees from different sources, and we just have to endure through them.
Mary and Martha had just experienced the devastating loss of their brother. Jesus had not come to heal him, and Lazarus had died. They had demonstrated great faith in Jesus. They were true believers, true followers. They knew who He was and what that meant for them. So what does Jesus do when He sees them mourning and crying? Does He chide them for their unbelief? Does He tell them not to be sad? Does He dismiss them or leave them behind to face it alone?
No, Jesus draws near to them. He joins with them in their weeping. He grieves alongside them even knowing that Lazarus will shortly live again. Jesus, as fully God and fully man, felt the sorrow of loss, understood the pain of death, and sympathized with the emotions Mary and Martha experienced. Jesus as Emmanuel, God with us, is truly with us in every aspect of life. And He does understand the kinds of things that we experience here in our sin-cursed world. That’s why He went to such great lengths to atone for our sins and to demonstrate His love for us.
Even though we do have hope—hope in Jesus, in the resurrection, and in the reality of heaven—that doesn’t negate the pain of loss. It is a sad but real part of life in this world. We weep now for a time. We hurt now for a time. But God offers to us His comfort and peace, His presence in the midst of turmoil here. One day, He will wipe away all of our tears, and loss and pain will no longer be a part of our reality. One day death will be defeated. May we cling to Jesus in our times of sadness and trust His goodness in the midst of our pain. May we look to Him for solace even if we don’t understand why things have to happen as they do and trust He has a plan even for those things.