“Jesus Wept.” Maybe He Didn’t Like the Food . . . .

My ancestors include a number of clergymen and my ancestors in general were religious people.   But one curious thing I began thinking about recently.

At mealtimes when my paternal grandmother, Jessie Beatrice Bowie was visiting, she would say a blessing consisting of two words:  “Jesus wept.”

Well, I know, of course, that this is the shortest verse in the Bible (at least in some versions, most notably the KJV). It is John 11:35, part of the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.  When Jesus learns from Lazarus’ sisters that Lazarus has died,  Jesus (after a two day intermission) goes to the sisters Mary and Martha.

32Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

33When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.

34And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.

35Jesus wept.

What didn’t occur to me until recently is why would my grandmother say this as a blessing to a meal?

Am I theologically challenged? (Probably so, but . . . . ) What about this passage has anything to do with the typical things we pray for at mealtime?

Can anyone suggest anything?

What unusual rituals did your family have about mealtime prayer?


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3 Responses to ““Jesus Wept.” Maybe He Didn’t Like the Food . . . .”

  • Jay says:

    I remember when I was a child, I had dinner at my friend’s great-grandparent’s house. Her great-grandfather (a deacon in the church)said grace and then said “Bible verse, children.” My friend and her brother happily recited the verses they had memorized that week as I sat there panicked because, at the time, I did not know any bible verses. When it was my turn, there was dead silence and then her great-grandfather said to me “Say Jesus wept.” Maybe your grandmother just skipped the saying grace part and went straight to the bible verse and said the easiest one to remember!

  • Amir Dekel says:

    I have no idea but my guess is she wanted to start eating fast.

  • Deena says:

    my family used to say a catholic grace, (bless us o lord and these thy gifts…etc) to which they tacked on something about “and may the souls of the faithfully departed…etc.” it was supposed to be a remembrance of the departed ancestors who used to sit at our table…i like to think their spirits continue to do so. perhaps the reference to the deceased Lazarus was shorthand for the same idea?

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