Why Did Jesus Weep? (Y1.T2.D30)
Updated: Mar 18, 2022
The two-word sentence in John 11:35—"Jesus wept"— is not only the shortest verse in the Bible, it is one of the most powerful.
Why would I say that?
Because God came to earth in the form of a man, first to provide us salvation and second, an example of how we respond to life's trials.
Have you ever been flooded with a surge of sorrow so large you just had to weep?
Maybe you've worried as I did in the post about my missing grandson. Maybe someone you love has been sick to the point of dying, like Lazarus in our passages today. Maybe your heart has been broken by the devastating pain of divorce.
Grief is a real human emotion, and Jesus felt it. He wept because he loved his friends. He wept because he felt their hurt. He wept because he was human.
And as humans, we all have emotions, many of which—like tears—we are taught to repress. But if Jesus—being both fully God and fully man (Colossians 2:9)—expressed his human compassion, so can we.
Remember, when it comes to the death of Lazurus and the grief of his sisters, Jesus knows what's about to happen (i.e., he's about to raise the dead). Yet, with victory only moments away and Jesus fully aware of the supernatural glory he's about to reveal, he breaks down into tears because of the pain he felt for those he loved.
Human emotions aren't bad. Of course, they shouldn't stop us from moving forward in our ministry. But it's necessary to pause when the hurt hits us.
I can tell you, I didn’t manage my emotions well as a child, but thanks to this verse and personal maturity, when I hurt, I proclaim it aloud. I sit with my head in my hands and cry out with tears streaming down my face, "God, this really hurts and I'm really sad." And I weep knowing Jesus wept.
And like Jesus, I don't stay there forever. I express it, then clean up my face and move on. I encourage you to join Jesus and me. Emotions shouldn't be bottled up. It's okay to cry. Process what you feel so you have the right mindset to perform your ministry compassionately.
Jesus' Tears Represented His Love
1 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus from Bethany, of the village of Mary and her sister, Martha. 2 It was that Mary who had anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother, Lazarus, was sick. 3 The sisters therefore sent to him, saying, “Lord, behold, he for whom you have great affection is sick.” 4 But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This sickness is not to death, but for the glory of God, that God’s Son may be glorified by it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. 6 When therefore he heard that he was sick, he stayed two days in the place where he was. 7 Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let’s go into Judea again.”
8 The disciples asked him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you. Are you going there again?”
9 Jesus answered, “Aren’t there twelve hours of daylight? If a man walks in the day, he doesn’t stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if a man walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light isn’t in him.” 11 He said these things, and after that, he said to them, “Our friend, Lazarus, has fallen asleep, but I am going so that I may awake him out of sleep.”
12 The disciples therefore said, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.”
13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he spoke of taking rest in sleep. 14 So Jesus said to them plainly then, “Lazarus is dead. 15 I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe. Nevertheless, let’s go to him.”
16 Thomas therefore, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go also, that we may die with him.”
17 So when Jesus came, he found that he had been in the tomb four days already. 18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about fifteen stadia away. 19 Many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother. 20 Then when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary stayed in the house. 21 Therefore Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you would have been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. 22 Even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will still live, even if he dies. 26 Whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, God’s Son, he who comes into the world.”
28 When she had said this, she went away and called Mary, her sister, secretly, saying, “The Teacher is here and is calling you.”
29 When she heard this, she arose quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was in the place where Martha met him. 31 Then the Jews who were with her in the house and were consoling her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, “She is going to the tomb to weep there.” 32 Therefore when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you would have been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.”
33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews weeping who came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, 34 and said, “Where have you laid him?”
They told him, “Lord, come and see.”
35 Jesus wept.
36 The Jews therefore said, “See how much affection he had for him!” 37 Some of them said, “Couldn’t this man, who opened the eyes of him who was blind, have also kept this man from dying?”
38 Jesus therefore, again groaning in himself, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”
Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”
40 Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see God’s glory?”
41 So they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, “Father, I thank you that you listened to me. 42 I know that you always listen to me, but because of the multitude standing around I said this, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”
44 He who was dead came out, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth.
Jesus said to them, “Free him, and let him go.” (John 11:1–44)
Thank You for coming to give me a full and abundant life (John 10:10). Help me understand how a full life contains seasons of weeping, laughing, mourning, and dancing (Ecclesiastes 3:4). And that these emotions aren't only for self-reflection. You ask me to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15). Give me a heart that freely loves.
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