The Oasis - July 2, 2024

Author: Rev. Eric Dupee
July 02, 2024

“Jesus wept.”
John 11:35

                My dad had a two-word response for those times when either someone did something very foolish or when a situation seemed utterly sad or ridiculous. He’d say, “Jesus wept.” In many circumstances, those two words were all that were needed to sum up the situation. Those words make up the entirety of John 11:35. Some Bibles now translate that verse to read “Jesus began to weep.” I prefer the shorter version. It’s more precise. It rolls off the tongue easier.
During our service trip last week at the United Methodist Economic Ministry, here in Maine, I found myself saying those words. Honestly, I don’t remember the circumstance. It could have been a number of things. I find that, on service trips, I become acutely aware it is not a perfect world. The conditions in which some people live can be quite rough. The materials needed to fix a problem are not always accessible. Although we do the best we can, volunteers don’t always do things right the first time. When I explained to some in our group about my dad’s use of the phrase “Jesus wept,” it was suggested it might make a useful memory verse for our Sunday bulletin cover.
                The context in which we find those words was the occasion of the death Lazarus, a friend of Jesus. After hearing Lazarus was ill, Jesus made his way to Bethany, only to arrive after Lazarus had died. Upon hearing of his death and seeing the grief of those who loved him, Jesus also wept. By including that detail in the story, John affirmed that Jesus felt deeply as any of us might. He had compassion for people as any of us might. He grieved like any of us might. I find it comforting to know that Jesus entered into the human experience fully. Because Jesus lamented, we should feel free to lament. Lament is the beginning of healing.



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