Tuesday, March 8, 2011

When Jesus Wept -- (John 11)

SALVIATI, Giuseppe The Raising of Lazarus Oil ...Image via WikipediaIntroduction

“Jesus wept.” (v. 35)

This is the shortest verse in the Bible, yet one of the most important and meaningful.

He was ready to demonstrate His own words, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” (John 5:25)



Instances of Jesus weeping, being deeply moved, with strong emotion

At the tomb of Lazarus

At Gethsemane

Over Jerusalem


Emotional life of Jesus

Jesus is not an impersonal force, or One too far removed from us or unlike us to understand our feelings. He has experienced them and He created them.



Weeping at the tomb of Lazarus

Jesus had a special relationship with Lazarus and his sisters. They were His close friends.

“Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.” (v. 5) Yet He delayed His coming to their home after Lazarus died, because He was preparing a significant sign designed to glorify God the Father and Himself. Jesus came with His disciples to the home of Lazarus.


“…This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” (v. 4b)


I. Where and in What Circumstances Jesus Wept

Bethany, a village about two miles from Jerusalem.

Upon the death of His friend Lazarus
At Lazarus’ tomb. Before Mary, Martha, His disciples, and the other mourners.

     A. Although He had purposely delayed His coming

     B. Knowing Lazarus would rise again

     C. Knowing God would be glorified

     D. Knowing people would be moved to believe in Him


II. How Jesus Wept


     A. Openly
     B. Unashamedly
     C. Out of strong emotion
     D. In such a manner as to impress the people with His love for Lazarus
     E. As He prayed.


III. Why Jesus Wept (John 11:20-35)


     A. The Exchange Between Jesus and Martha: His statement and her confession
When Jesus arrived, He was met by Martha.

“…Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now, I know that  whatever You ask of God, God will give you..” (vv. 21-22) She expressed faith.

 “Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother shall rise again.” (v 23).
 Martha: “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”


“Jesus said unto her, ‘I am the resurrection, and the life. He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest
thou this?’” (vv.25-26, KJV)


Jesus is the one with final power over death.


“She said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord, I Have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.’” (v. 27)


This was to be a miraculous sign.


     B. The Exchange Between Jesus and Mary
She rose up quickly to meet Jesus - some distance from the house, where Martha had been.         She fell at His feet. “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” (v.32)

“When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit, and was troubled. (v.33)  ‘…Where have you laid him?’ They said to Him, ‘Lord, come and see.’” (v.34)



     C. Jesus wept. (v. 35)


     D. He prepared Himself for this important encounter. He was deeply moved --
Deep sorrow and sympathy for Mary and Martha, and by extension, all who would have to suffer as they did over the loss of their beloved brother. Sorrow over the fact of sin and death -- He had come into the world to abolish them. “The last enemy that will be abolished is death.”(I Corinthians 15:26) He was sorrowful over the state of mankind and the destruction caused by sin.


“And so the Jews were saying, ‘Behold how he loved him!’” (v. 36)

“But some said, ‘Could not this man who opened the eyes of him who was blind, have kept this man

also from dying?’” (v. 37)



“Jesus therefore again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb...” (v.38)



     E. He Had Indignation Over Death, and the Power of Satan
He came to abolish death and destroy the works of Satan. This event was a sign pointing to the greater reality of His own resurrection (and ours)   It was more convincing than raising someone from a deathbed.


Conclusion and Applications:


Jesus raised Lazarus, who had been in the tomb for four days, from death.

“… He cried out with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. He who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings; and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him and let him go.’” (vv. 43b-44)


1. Jesus demonstrates His humanity. He experienced human temptations and sufferings. He had human
friendships and human grief. The Bible says, “…weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15b)

2. Jesus’ work on our behalf is out of love. He wept for others. He shared their grief.


3. Jesus shows that it is appropriate and acceptable to weep over the death of a loved one, a believer,
even though we know that the person is with the Lord, in a better place. We weep over the unwanted separation, and over the unfulfilled hopes. Jesus understands our sorrow, and has experienced it Himself. But He provides the final remedy.


4. We can be thankful to God for Jesus’ example, and thankful in all situations. “Father, I thank thee…,” He prayed.


5. Jesus is our true comforter. He is our fellow sufferer. We can give and receive this kind of comfort

with others, knowing that Jesus is the Source.


“For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Rev. 7:17 (KJV)



Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible except as otherwise noted.

KJV = King James, or Authorized Version.


Illustration: Giuseppe Salviati, The Raising of Lazarus. Oil on canvas. Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venice, Unknown date. Public domain.


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