Thursday, February 27, 2014

Why would Jesus weep when Lazarus died if He knew He was going to raise him?

The shortest verse in our English Bibles is John 11:35. The verse simply states, “Jesus wept”. Jesus’ friend Lazarus has just died (John 11:14). Jesus and His disciples arrive at Bethany after Lazarus’ death and Martha greets them. She tells Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died” (11:21). 

Jesus responds to Martha with a powerful statement, “Your brother will rise again” (11:23), thus declaring that he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead.  Martha is confused, she believes that Jesus’ is referencing the final resurrection at judgment, but Jesus explains to her “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies...” (11:25). Jesus wants her to know that He is the source of life even after death. 

Jesus has the power to raise the dead. It seems as though Jesus predicts the resurrection of Lazarus in (vs. 23) and then in (vs. 43) He makes it happen. What makes this section perplexing to some, is that in between Him predicting the resurrection of Lazarus and it taking place, Jesus cries. Some ask, “Why would Jesus weep at the death of Lazarus if He knew that He was going to raise him?”.

What made Jesus cry?

It was not that Jesus was crying over the loss of a friend, He was crying out of love and care for those who were mourning at Lazarus’ death. Jesus knew all things, Jesus knew that He was going to raise Lazarus, but Mary and the Jews with her did not. Mary and her companions were crying and the text reads that Jesus was “deeply moved in spirit and was troubled” (vs. 33). Jesus’ compassion for these people overcame Him and caused Him to weep in (vs. 35).

Some who were there wondered and assumed that Jesus was weeping over the death of Lazarus (vs. 37), but He was not. Jesus wept because His heart ached for those who were brokenhearted. Jesus cares about people. When people hurt, He hurts. In the case of Martha and her companions, He hurt so much for them that it brought Him to tears.

By Cliff Sabroe

Quotes from NASB95
Image from psdgraphics.com