Lord Jesus Christ, the good steward ‘Jesus wept.’ (John 11:35) Centuries ago, some anonymous monk who was busy numbering verses decided that these two words should form the shortest verse in the Bible. I suppose you could say that he was a good steward. The verse is such a great one to repeat to ourselves. In just two words it captures the entire mission of Jesus, to seek and save the lost - to seek and save by His tears. John is a master storyteller. Having walked with Jesus as they travelled to Laza rus’ home, he is clear about where he wants our focus to rest. Where? On the tears. We read how Jesus is deeply moved in spirit when He sees Mary (verse 33), how He weeps (verse 35) and is again ‘deeply moved’ at the tomb (verse 38). It reminds me so much of the way the book of Hosea describes God’s affections for His children:
I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them. But the story does not end there. Despite God’s love and care, His children wandered away from Him. Hosea 11 closes with these painful words:
How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? …My heart is changed within me All my compassion is aroused.
Hidden within that word ‘changed’ is the sense of the God weeping, of God being moved by the slow decay of faith within His children. It perfectly foreshadows the tears of Jesus over the death of Lazarus. Both Father and Son are deeply moved – changed, if you like – for the same simple reason: they love us. The monk who chose those two words to form John 11:35 may have been a good steward, but this passage reveals the lengths to which Jesus – the ultimate good steward – went to in order to seek out and save. Remember that a steward is both a ruler and a servant, one who exists to please his master. A good steward is a paradox. A good steward – like a good parent – gives life and shares pain. Nobody hates death more than God. Yet Jesus chose death Himself just so that we might escape it. Jesus entered the tomb, so that we might walk out.
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