The shortest verse in the English translation of the Bible is found in John 11:35, which reads, “Jesus wept.”
The weeping of this verse is not bawling, but the gentle rolling of uncontrolled tears as Jesus encounters the pain Mary and Martha feel over the loss of their brother Lazarus. Even though Jesus knows He is about to raise Lazarus from the dead, He still feels and empathizes with the pain of death that is part of the fallen world He has come to save.
The implications of the concept of a God who weeps should not be underestimated. Naysayers and non-believers like to say that a God who truly loved us would not let anything bad happen to us. But we who believe understand that because we are born into sin, bad things are going to happen. “Healthy people don’t need a doctor,” Jesus tells His followers. “Sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners” (Mark 2:17 NLT–emphasis added). The difference between the bad that happens to those in Christ as opposed to those who do not believe is that we know that God has our back in every situation we face.
Jesus wept. God cares for us. He loves us enough to die for us, and His sacrifice was not something He did easily. In my New Living Translation Bible, Jesus explains it this way:
“I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning! I have a terrible baptism of suffering ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until it is accomplished” (Luke 12:49-50).
Thankfully for us, Christ lay down His life so that we have the promise of eternal life. That truth brings us to the shortest verse in the original Greek of the Bible, which is 1 Thessalonians 5:16–Rejoice always. No matter how many bad things happen to us, we still have reason to rejoice, to be thankful that we have God to lean on.
God’s love is unconditional. Even though we are sinners, He died for us. We can repent of our sins against Him, and He will forgive us. We have every reason to rejoice, even through our tears.
Because we have a God who wept, we rejoice! The two shortest verses in the Bible encompass the entire message of the truth of Christ.
No wonder gratitude journals are so popular. When we face each day with an attitude of rejoicing, we find that smiles come more easily, being forgiving of others becomes second nature, and loving God first and others as we ourselves wish to be loved defines our days.