Tears in Rain (John 11:35)

tearsSubmitted by Andy McIlvain.

John 11:35

Do you ever cry? Do you weep?

“Tears in Rain” is a monologue delivered by character Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) in the 1982 Ridley Scott movie Blade Runner. It is considered by many to be one of the greatest monologues in cinematic history. The dying replicant Roy Batty delivers the speech to Blade Runner Rick Deckard, after Batty saved his life despite Deckard being sent to kill him. The scene takes place during a heavy downpour of rain, moments before Batty’s death. His tears dissolves into rain as he reflects on his experiences and imminent mortality.

Tears are indeed a mysterious form of communication.

In all of God’s creation, humans are unique in shedding tears of grief, sadness, relief, exhilaration, etc. In doing so, we reflect an amazing range of emotional responses.

Tears it has been said are the articulation of our hearts, speaking out the groans too deep to be spoken. In his book Why Only Humans Cry, Ad Vingerhoets looks at all of the variables that might account for why people cry – some people cry more than others – like gender, age, genetic factors, personality characteristics such as neuroticism or empathy, a person’s attitudes towards crying, environmental factors and socialization. Factors like a person’s physical and psychological state, substance abuse, and medications they take can be an influence. You see there is a Language of Tears.

Jesus wept! John 11:35, is the shortest verse in the Bible, yet these two words are filled with great meaning and complexity. Here Jesus is the tender friend who weeps with those who weep over the death of Lazarus. Christ told us that if we wished to see God the Father then look at him as he is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). What we see then in Scripture is but a glimpse of how the Father grieves over death and sin.

Tears then become part of our image bearing, a language, just as laughter reveals aspects of our inner selves. God knows our pain, our joy and our frame (Psalm 103:14), what is in us (John 2:25), and shares in our flesh and blood experience (Hebrews 2:14).

The psalmist speaks of God gathering up tears in a bottle and writing them in a book, as if they tell a unique and special story. The apostle Paul speaks of the Spirit groaning with utterances too deep for words. The Hebrew prophet, Jeremiah, is called “the weeping prophet” and Isaiah characterizes the “suffering servant” as “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”

Our daily tribulations in this world have even been called a “Vale of Tears” in Psalm 84:6.

Someday you and I will leave that vale of tears behind and, standing before our Lord, welcome the reality of Revelation 21:4, “‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.””

Leave a Reply