Why Was Jesus Weeping at Lazarus’ Tomb?

28 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved[a] in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying? (John 11:28-37).

Martha said it first, then Mary said it again: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” This time, she said this, but didn’t go on in regards to confidence in the Lord knowing what He was doing.

Yet, the Scriptures say that Jesus saw her and the Jews who were consoling her weeping, “and he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.” Why was he troubled?

I will tell you now that it was not because of the conclusion those in verse 37 had come to. What they were basically saying was, “Jesus had some limits. He could give sight to the blind, but raising the dead was above his paygrade.” Was Jesus crying over this? No, not at all!

Was he moved due to everyone else crying around him? Possibly, but not entirely. This does show that the Word made flesh was a human being—who has actual human emotions. The shortest verse in the Bible has one of the biggest impacts: Jesus does care—and He cares about where you are right now. John Piper rightly said, “The soul would have no rainbow if the eye had no tears.”

Why did he weep? He wept over the situation that put Lazarus in the grave in the first place: death. And how did death come about? The apostle Paul reminds us, “The wages of sin is death.” Jesus was weeping because this world is under a curse.

Romans 8:19-23 says:

19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

There’s an old story about a man who tried to save the city of Sodom from destruction by warning the citizens. But the people ignored him. One day someone asked, “Why bother everyone? You can’t change them.” “Maybe I can’t,” the man replied, “but I still shout and scream to prevent them from changing me!

Jesus weeps over the curse of sin in the world that man brought in. When Adam and Eve decided to take Satan’s word and their desires over God’s Word, the curse of sin was brought in. “You shall surely die.” Sin and death are connected. And it shows no mercy and does not discriminate.

In Luke 13, a tragedy happened there and some asked the reason. Jesus said, “Unless you repent, you shall likewise perish” (Luke 13:5).  Repent from what? Sin! If you do not, death awaits.  If you do, then a miracle of galactic proportions takes place: a sinner subject to God’s wrath is now a recipient of God’s mercy—all because God chose to identify with our suffering (thus showing that suffering can and often does have a grander purpose). 

But more on that tomorrow. 

Categories: apologetics, suffering | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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