Vol. 12 No. 2 February 2010
By Ed Benesh
For years, men have debated this verse and exactly why “Jesus wept.” Perhaps you have a theory of your own. Some say it was because His friend Lazarus had died. Others will tell you that it was because His friend, a righteous man, had gone on to glory and Christ wept because He was now going to bring him back from that glorious reward. Still others would say that He wept simply because He was caught up in the emotion of the moment and wept as everyone else was.
All of these, I believe, miss the clearest and simplest point of the concise and pithy statement, “Jesus wept.” Jesus wept because “Jesus cared.” He cared about His friend. He cared about his soul. He cared about Mary and Martha. He cared about the lesson He was teaching them.
This is abundantly illustrated for us time and again in His ministry. When He healed the leper—He cared. When He spoke to the woman at the well, a societal pariah, offering guidance and rebuke cloaked in the words that were soft as a dear friend’s—He cared. When He withstood the stiff-necked Pharisees and called them hypocrites—He cared.
As His followers, we must display the same type of care and empathy. We must be sympathetic and have the ability to put ourselves in another’s shoes, rather than simply try to impose our will, experience and personally create expectations and traditions on them. If we can do that, if we embraced every person where they are and help them see their way clear of trials, circumstances and difficulties, then we may have the mind of Christ, which always saw others before self and treated each person as if he or she were the only person in the world at that moment. If we can listen and not talk, if we can understand and not condemn, if we can see a man in pain and care enough to reach out to them, we will weep as Jesus wept.
In this day, care enough to consider others before self, serve and make a difference in your life and theirs.
Just this past weekend, while I was driving in Bowling Green, I saw two men carrying crosses on the side of the road, followed by a crowd of about 30 or 40 people. As I passed these two men, I looked at the crosses they were carrying, and I couldn’t help but notice that both crosses were accessorized with wheels!
Now, I understand why they placed wheels on these crosses. The wheels make the crosses they are carrying easier to carry. The wheels make the crosses more convenient to bear. However, that’s the impetus for this article. You see, there’s nothing convenient about a cross! In fact, it was designed to be an inconvenient, excruciating and humiliating means to kill someone. Convenient crosses? They don’t exist—or at least shouldn’t.
If I can jump from what I saw this past weekend to a spiritual application, I would say that from the looks of things, I believe that many people have attempted to put “wheels on their cross.” Remember that Jesus said that in order to be one of his disciples, one must be willing to deny himself, take up a cross daily, and follow him (Luke 9:23). From what I’ve witnessed in some, rather than denying self, and bearing one’s cross daily, some have attempted to accessorize their cross. Unwilling to reject Christ completely, they have attempted to fashion a cross of convenience—crosses with wheels.
Our society has made an icon out of the cross. We wear crosses around our necks, they dangle from our ears and they are even tattooed on our bodies. This all makes me wonder if we have failed to comprehend the true significance of the cross. The cross represents selflessness, sacrifice, obedience, dedication and self-denial. Do you think most people realize that? The cross is more than a piece of jewelry or a trinket, and it certainly doesn’t have wheels.
My advice to those who wish to gain public attention by carrying a cross—take off the wheels! Those wheels are incongruous with the message of the cross. I for one, noticed the wheels, not the cross. Don’t lessen the burden of the cross by accessorizing it with something that makes it convenient. What do you think?