Jesus Wept

The shortest sentence in the Bible, at least in English translation, is the iconic, “Jesus Wept.” John 11:35

This phrase is encapsulated in the crux of the full Bible story. So, why did He cry, anyway? As always, let’s start at the beginning…

of mankind.

” – God has said,’You must not eat of it (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) or touch it, or you will die’ ‘You will not surely die,’ the serpent told her.” Genesis 3:3-4

Spoiler alert: they ate it, and they died… eventually. Some speculate that since death is used as a term to indicate both spiritual and physical termination, they both experienced an immediate spiritual death. What is spiritual death? Separation from God. When they began to cover themselves and hide in order to avoid God as He walked through the garden, it was a sign the relationship they once had with Him was broken. What about physical death? Ah, many believe that humans were immortal before this time, and the spiritual death initiated the death process. In other words, the moment they betrayed God, Adam and Eve began to age, which would continue genetically through their descendants. As time went on, humans deteriorated faster and faster, living shorter and shorter lives. Either way, that snake lied.

So, what was God’s reaction to this betrayal? I’d venture to say sadness and definitely anger. He cursed all three of them vehemently in the following verses.

Why though? Didn’t He know what was going to happen?

Thousands of years later, when the Son of God walked among their descendants…

“Now a man named Lazarus was sick… When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”…

After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.

So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

Then Thomas said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days…

When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

Jesus wept.

Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” John 11:1-44

Some may be confused why Jesus would have cried at all, seeing as He was capable of raising Lazarus from the dead. He mourned not for Lazarus but for everyone else. He didn’t wish for them to be in such pain, and as Isaiah 53:4 states, “-surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrow.”

However, there was more than sadness expressed in these verses. Twice, it states that Jesus was “deeply moved” and “troubled,” which are the words ἐνεβριμήσατο and ἐτάραξεν respectively.

“Deeply moved” translates to “I snort as with indignation and anger.” Troubled translates to “agitated.” Now, anyone familiar with grief will find that it involves more than just sadness. Sometimes, anger, fear, and other emotions are combined. This phrase was repeated more than even the fact that Jesus was saddened. He was angry… but why?

Go back to the beginning, when Death was first introduced into the world. He’s angry that it exists. He’s angry that we have to grieve. He’s angry that our lives, spiritually and physically, are cut short due to the sins of this world. The reason this is such an important story concerning Jesus is because THIS IS WHAT HE’S HERE FOR. He’s here to make His followers believe in His divinity, His ability to save. He’s here to die so that we may live.

Our spiritual death was immediate in the Garden of Eden, but physical death was simply introduced into the human genome so that we would no longer physically live forever. When Jesus came to Earth, He saved many souls immediately and some bodies immediately. However, He wants to save everyone, eventually, in both ways. It is my belief that the seed of physical salvation has also been released into the world from Jesus, and it will come to fruition when the entire world has joined the Kingdom of God.

In the meantime, He grieves for what we must suffer.

Sources other than the Bible:
https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/jesus-wept–2
Strong’s Concordance
https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/don_stewart_709.cfm
https://answersingenesis.org/bible-characters/adam-and-eve/why-didnt-adam-and-eve-die-the-instant-they-ate-the-fruit/

One thought on “Jesus Wept

  1. Pingback: Grief | learning2belove

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