Why did Jesus weep? (John 11:35)

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  • Why did Jesus weep? (John 11:35)

    So why did Jesus weep?

    Was Jesus sharing in the grief of the people and weeping with them?
    Was Jesus saddened by the people's lack of faith and weeping over them?

    Here is the story of Lazarus to present the verse in context for handy reference:
    John 11:1-46 NASB
    1 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 3 So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” 4 But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was. 7 Then after this He *said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8 The disciples *said to Him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and are You going there again?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 This He said, and after that He *said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep.” 12 The disciples then said to Him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will [fn]recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of [fn]literal sleep. 14 So Jesus then said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.” 16 Therefore Thomas, who is called [fn]Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, so that we may die with Him.”
    17 So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about [fn]two miles off; 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother. 20 Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him, but Mary [fn]stayed at the house. 21 Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” 23 Jesus *said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha *said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are [fn]the Christ, the Son of God, even [fn]He who comes into the world.”
    28 When she had said this, she went away and called Mary her sister, saying secretly, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she *got up quickly and was coming to Him.
    30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha met Him. 31 Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and consoling her, when they saw that Mary got up quickly and went out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her alsoweeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and [fn]was troubled, 34 and said, “Where have you laid him?” They *said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews were saying, “See how He loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, [fn]have kept this man also from dying?”
    38 So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, *came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39 Jesus *said, “Remove the stone.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, *said to Him, “Lord, by this time [fn]there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus *said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41 So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the [fn]people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43 When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” 44 The man 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.”
    45 Therefore many of the Jews who came to Mary, and saw what He had done, believed in Him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them the things which Jesus had done

  • #2
    Jesus wept because He had human emotions and a close friend had died. And He wept because He realized the people didn't understand about a future resurrection.

    • #3
      Originally posted by Sue D. View Post
      Jesus wept because He had human emotions and a close friend had died.
      In what real sense did Jesus have any reason to be sad that a close friend had died?
      Back in John 11:4 Jesus announced how it would all end even before Lazarus died. In John 11:6 Jesus deliberately chose to wait and give Lazarus time to die. John 11:14 would have been the time to grieve the death of a friend.

      Strange happenings immediately surrounding "Jesus wept." In John 11:33, why was he deeply troubled? Why did he not weep when he was with them and 'deeply moved' but wait until they led him to the tomb and THEN "Jesus wept"? Was he sympathetic with their grief or upset with their mocking? Why does the crowd seem to be full of both genuine grief and mockery?

      I always joked about that verse when people talk about having to memorize a verse, I want to memorize "Jesus wept", but there really seems to be something odd going on there. More than simple grief (Jesus already knew how this was going to end).


      • #4
        I don't believe Jesus wept for Lazarus, he knew he was going to raise him from the dead. It was for our benefit that Jesus weeps, we have a God who cares for us, will weep with us, who understands our pain and trouble. This is why we can go to God with our prayer requests, because he understands our suffering.

        • #5
          Originally posted by atpollard View Post
          Was Jesus sharing in the grief of the people and weeping with them?
          I think so. Having human emotions, how many times have we shed a tear while watching a movie knowing the ending would be good? We could feel the sorrow and suffering of the actor. What kind of God does not know the suffering of His people?

          Love is a fruit of the Spirit, and is long suffering. Likewise, we already know the ending to our Christian individual and corporate stories, but that will not prevent us from shedding tears along the way for both ourselves and beloveds.

          God bless,
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