John 11:35 is the shortest verse in the Bible. Did you know that? I can still remember the first time I heard this verse quoted.
I was at a youth event as a high school student and it was time to eat. It was our custom to pray before we ate, so a youth worker signaled for our attention to pray. Before he prayed, he shared his idea for a game. I like games as much as the next guy, but this game was a little to serious for my liking at the time. “Before you can get your food, you must quote a Bible verse!”, he said. When I heard that announcement, I thought to myself that I might have to go hungry. Quote a bible verse? I couldn’t think of a single verse to quote so I found someone’s Bible and began scouring it’s pages for a verse simple enough for me to quickly memorize and repeat to win my dinner. The other kids all seemed to be lined up and waiting their turn to recite a scripture to pay for their meal, and then I heard it. One of the guys came to the front of the line and said, “John 11:35, Jesus wept”. I stopped my search for a second because I couldn’t believe the genius of this guy. The youth worker reluctantly gave him his food with a kind of annoyed look, but I was impressed. “This guy had figured it out”, I thought.
This verse may be short in length, but it’s deep in comfort. Let me tell you my story of how this verse changed from a fun antidote to a life-giving word from God Himself to me.
In October of 2016, our beautiful son, Jake was diagnosed with DMD. (https://www.mda.org/disease/duchenne-muscular-dystrophy) We were blindsided. We were shocked. We were totally unsure of what that meant exactly, but we knew life had just been changed for ever. We wept and we prayed, and we wept some more. People rallied around us with prayer, encouragement, and thoughtful words. We were and still are grateful for the outpouring of love from family and friends.
The first Sunday after learning of Jake’s diagnosis I brought the kids to Sunday School at our church (calvarybaptistroy.com) and headed back home for something forgotten. As I was driving, I began to weep and pray. As I pulled into my driveway John 11:35 kept coming to mind. “Jesus wept Aaron” is the thought that gripped me, so I prayed with tear-filled eyes, “Jesus, weep with me”. I believe right there in front of my home, Jesus wept with me.
John 11:35, the shortest verse in the Bible, became my greatest comfort. The creator of all things. The sovereign king over all the universe. He, my Saviour, didn’t simply know about my suffering, but He knew my suffering intimately. My pain was felt by Him. What comfort that brought to my heart.