He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4
Let's talk about tears. Do you cry? Are you a weeper? Most of us are.
About 30 years ago, I rented a VHS tape of a Disney film called Old Yeller. You've seen it, haven't you? If you have, you know what I'm going to say next. Well, I rented Old Yeller and played it for my family. We enjoyed that touching story of a boy and his dog. We liked Old Yeller until we got to the last ten minutes of the film. For those of you who don't remember, the boy is attacked by wild animals, pigs; I think it was, and the dog saved him. That part was okay. But things didn't stay okay. Because of his fight with the pigs, the dog came down with rabies, and the boy had to shoot his pet.
I didn't look around at my wife or the children, but I could hear some sobbing going. Then I heard Kleenexes being snatched out of the box. Then there was a nose blow ... a bunch of blows, and our youngest went running out of the room, sobbing.
Me, I remained rational. I kept saying to myself, "It's only a movie; the dog is still alive, and the boy is getting paid more than you are."
Nope, I didn't cry when I saw Old Yeller ... that time ... that time.
Most of us cry. In this world where catastrophe seems a constant, where tragedy and terror, sin, sadness and sorrow, are almost customary and commonplace, the sorrowful shedding of tears is familiar and frequent. Think back upon the last time you cried. Did you cry because of a personal problem, a soulful sorrow, a horrible ache within your heart? Well, you are not alone.
Even Jesus shed tears.
Jesus was true God, immortal, invincible, and all-powerful. Still, Jesus was also true Man, and not immune from sadness or sorrow. Centuries before His Bethlehem birth, the Old Testament prophet, Isaiah, had, by the Holy Spirit's direction, described the Savior. He said Jesus would be "despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering" (see Isaiah 53:3).
The Gospels bear that out when they speak of Jesus crying at the grave of His friend, Lazarus, or weeping over Jerusalem. Like us, Jesus cried.
But He did more than cry.
Jesus did something about the pains of life, which cause our tears. His life of suffering and His agonizing death were endured so all who believe on Him would have hope, be comforted, and eventually be brought into heaven where there are no more tears. Because of His grace, even death and grave have lost their sting and victory.
Now I need to be plain: believing on Jesus don't mean tears and pains won't come your way. They will. But, because of the Savior, they no longer can have the last word.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, I give thanks that because You have suffered and died for me, my future has been changed. When tears come into my life, be there to show me that, because of You, those tears will not flow forever. In Your Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries