The beautiful story of the life of our Savior Jesus Christ shows that, while He was here on earth, He experienced the fullness of the human condition. The temptations. The range of emotions. The circumstances. The joys and the sorrows. Highs and lows. Yes, Jesus did walk through all that we walk through in life, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15) “Jesus wept,” the shortest Bible verse (in English), is found in John 11:35 and shows that even Jesus Christ was moved to tears at times. But here is what is the most powerful thing about that tiny, little verse when “Jesus wept” about the death of Lazarus: Jesus may have wept at the same time as everyone else, but He did not weep the same way, nor for the same reasons.
In John chapter 11, Jesus’ dear friend Lazarus had died and by the time Jesus had gotten there, Lazarus had been dead for several days. What disappointed His friends the most was knowing that Jesus had been fully aware that Lazarus was sick, yet He didn’t come in time to save His friend. Here’s how the story goes:
“When Mary came to where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, ‘Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.’ When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. He said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to Him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus wept.”
Jesus Cried With His Friends, but His Tears Were Different
The Jews and the family members of Lazarus were all weeping and theirs was the kind of pain-filled screaming, agony, wailing and gut-wrenching sobs of grief that happen when you’ve experienced a deep and profound loss. This same type of agonizing cry was how Peter wept when he denied Jesus three times (Matthew 26:75), and is the same weeping as when Jairus’ daughter had died (Mark 5:39) and is what Jesus meant when He said, “Blessed are those who weep, for they shall be comforted.” (Luke 6:21) Grief. Loss. Pain. Despair. Emptiness. Agony. They were weeping for death of their loved one. But not Jesus.
While “Jesus wept” with them, He did not cry the same way. According to John’s words in the Greek, Jesus’ tears were much different. A more accurate translation would be this: Jesus had tears in His eyes. He wasn’t wailing and sobbing in agony. Jesus wasn’t overcome with grief and pain at the death of Lazarus. His tears were not tears of loss and pain. Yes, He had tears in His eyes, but not for Lazarus. Why? Because Jesus had a perspective of death that no one else could grasp at that point in time. He saw life through the eyes of faith, not with a natural perspective, but a supernatural one.
Jesus cried at this time because He had seen everyone’s grief around Him and, “He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.” (John 11:33) Why? Jesus wept at their lack of faith. These people were Jesus’ friends! They’d walked with Him. They’d seen His miracles. They’d experienced His power. They’d seen blind eyes open, lame walk, lepers cleansed, demons cast out. Yet, as soon as life got hard, really hard, they fell right back into fear, doubt and pain, even going so far as to blame and accuse Him for not being there when they needed Him. These friends were weeping and lamenting for a natural loss and because Jesus had tears in His eyes, they assumed He was grieving too and they said, “See how He loved him.” (John 11:36) But no! Jesus’ eyes filled with tears from the inner turmoil He experienced at the spiritual loss – seeing how quickly and easily His disciples abandoned their faith in Him when He had come to raise the dead to life.
Thought for today: Jesus Cried Over Our Pain, Not His Own
The hardest challenge of faith is to walk in something you have no earthly reason whatsoever to believe in, to ignore “reality” and live as though every promise the Lord has ever made has already come true- even if it dies in front of you. You’ve witness His goodness, His power. You know Him. Don’t look at the death, pain, loss, the hopeless situation, the diagnosis, behaviors, lack of progress, things getting worse – stand firm in your faith in Jesus Christ, the Savior, because He said, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (Mark 9:23)
We tend to look at life with natural eyes and Jesus sees it all with spiritual eyes, with a perspective of eternity and a Kingdom purpose and as we draw near to Him in worship and dwell in His presence, we find the strength we need to stand in faith and see Him raise the dead to life. “Let us firmly hold the profession of our faith without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23)
Worship the Lord, Who Raises the Dead to Life!
- “You Shall Weep No More”
- “When the Enemy Comes in Like a Flood, Walk on Dry Ground”
- Praise Goes Before and After the Miracle”
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