Jesus Wept: The Philando Castile Verdict

"Jesus wept."

It’s the shortest verse in the Bible (John 11:35).  The context is that Jesus’ friend Lazarus has died.  People are heartbroken and weeping.  He who left his throne in glory to enter our brokenness, to rescue and redeem us, when he sees these mourning friends, he weeps.

Jesus wept.  His tears were real.  They sprang from a heart deeply touched and deeply grieved by the pain and brokenness his friends were experiencing.  Jesus is the very personification of love. Love empathizes, it enters into the pains and the experiences of others.  It feels what the other feels. 

What is striking to me about the passage is that Jesus knows he’s about to do a miracle of resurrection. He knows Lazarus will come forth from the grave.  He’s about to make the situation an amazing time of joy, wonder, and worship.  Jesus knows that ultimately he is going to set all things right in the universe. 

But first, he weeps. 

Yesterday another verdict was reached.  Police officer Jeronimo Yanez was found not guilty on all counts in the shooting death of Philando Castile.  Philando Castile was shot seven times in his car at point-blank range, as his girlfriend streamed the video live on Facebook, and a 4-year-old watched from the back seat. It seems, to the majority culture in America, that the news of acquittal has been met with a “meh” and a yawn. 

However, to many in the Black community, the news was once again devastating, even if it was expected.  Our black brothers and sisters are weeping bitter tears of sadness and frustration at a system they see as unjust. 

To my white Christian brothers and sisters, we are called to follow Jesus. 

It’s time to weep. 

It’s not the time to analyze the case and the verdict and comment on social media from a distance.  It’s not the time to shrug our shoulders and move on with our day.   It’s not the time to point out how difficult it is to be a police officer these days or how the vast majority of police officers are good men and women - we know this already. 

It’s time to weep because the love of Jesus and the example of Jesus demands that we do so.