It was a heart-wrenching situation. A woman had lost her husband some time ago, and now her only son had died. Friends were carrying the body on a burial cot followed by the grief-stricken woman and many friends and neighbors from her small town. They were headed out of town to bury him.
At that very moment, it just so happened that Jesus and his followers were approaching the town. When Jesus saw the woman grieving, his heart went out to her. But then he said to her something that seemed very out of place: “Do not cry.” Imagine what she must have thought: Do not cry? Sir, you don’t know how devastated I am, and how uncertain my future is since I now have no one to support me. And why are you, a stranger, telling me this? (Just for that brief moment Jesus caused her to wonder about Him. He turned some of her emotions toward him.)
Then He touched the burial cot, and those carrying it stood still. Jesus spoke to the dead man. “Young man, I say to you, arise.” To the amazement of everyone, the man set up and began to speak. In an instant Jesus had revitalized the man’s cellular activity throughout his entire body. Amazing! And the woman; she now had tears of a different kind — tears of amazement and thankfulness and joy.
Death of loved ones will impact each one of us, and one day we will die ourselves. Jesus will not be there in person to ruin the funerals. But He is still present. He sees grief. He knows the pain. The Bible records that He wept Himself at seeing the deep grieving-pain of his friends, Mary and Martha, when their brother died.
Jesus is a Savior who empathizes with us in our earthly struggles. And yet, something else tears at His heart much more. It is when people neglect or reject Him as the God and Savior He is to them. The only other time the Bible records Jesus weeping is over the city of Jerusalem. Most of the people there did not recognize Him as their Savior or recognized Him, but still rejected Him. Jesus wept, for he understands the eternal consequences of rejecting His mercy and love. He gave His very life that we might belong to Him and someday live with Him, where there will be no more tears or pain or sorrow. Jesus desires to turn our hearts to Him. And as His forgiven children we also conquer death as He did. So, do not cry — instead, rejoice for all eternity.