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Jesus wept – Friday Q&A

Welcome to Friday Q&A, a brand new feature here at Another Red Letter Day!

I met Felicia on her blog very recently. I believe I found her through a twitter link. Not sure exactly. She has a wonderful blog, and I would love it if you would check it out.

A  Life  Sanctified  

Living my outrageous, audacious faith in Jesus!

She and I were talking the other day about this verse in John’s account of the raising of Lazarus in the context of what moves Jesus.

When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her, also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit, and was troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. And so the Jews were saying, “Behold how He loved him!” John 11:36

The question at hand is why is Jesus weeping?

Here it is from Felicia:

I’ve been giving this some thought …why did Jesus cry? Certainly it wasn’t for Lazarus because He knew He would raise him for His Father’s glory. So was it because of the disbelief of the others? The depth of pain the others were feeling? Or perhaps the disbelief of all humanity?

I have moved around on this question a fair bit.

I agree with Felicia, that it just does not make sense to me, that Jesus was saddened by the death of Lazarus.  (On the other hand I am not sure  the logic produced by my itsy bitsy brain is a sure test of scriptural soundness) After all we know from the context that Jesus basically let Him die because He knew what He would do.

I have heard many times He was basically sympathizing with the sorrow of the others around. The prior verse does say that there was weeping on every side. Mary, clearly one of His closest earthly friends, was weeping, as were the rest of the folks gathered. Was He just caught up in the emotion of the moment?

For many years I would have probably picked the next answer. He was saddened by the unbelief of some of His closest followers. Is this perhaps one of those “when I return will I find faith on the earth” or “did you learn nothing from the loaves and the fishes” moments?

Here is another thought. I know there are times when I consider the torture Jesus went through, all the shame, the beatings, the blood, nails, thorns, mocking, spitting, slapping, finally a spear in the side, and I am moved to tears, though I am fully aware of the next chapter. Perhaps Jesus was actually sorry that His delay causes Lazarus more pain.

One interesting detail here is that the word translated “wept” is not the same word as in the verse above. That word is more appropriate for mourning and grief. The word used in “Jesus wept” might better be rendered “shed tears”. This word in this form only shows up once in the Bible. Its root is the word “tear” which is more common, is used in two of the accounts of Mary washing Jesus’ feet with her “tears.”

It is also interesting as we ponder this that a couple verses down we see this:

Jesus therefore again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. ~ John 11:38

One of the struggles I have with Jesus doing things in reaction to emotions is that we also know of Jesus that He only does what He sees the Father do. (see John 5:19) So I will ask another question:

What is the relationship of Jesus being “deeply moved within” and the fact that He knew He was coming to raise the dead. I am convinced from the top of the story that Jesus knew Lazarus was coming out of that tomb, He had seen it with the Father. So what does the emotion have to do with it.

I know I am leaving this open ended. This is my whole plan for Friday Q&A. I am hoping for interchange. I would love it if you would interact here. What are your thoughts on the matter? I think we all learn from sharing our ideas, considering and then growing. So share away. It would even be great if you have a lot to say, just blog about it and put a link below.

Oh - and don't forget to go visit Felicia - you will be glad you did! - A  Life  Sanctified

Remember the rules:

Be polite.

Be honest.

Be gentle.

Be friendly.

Ready, GO….

If you have questions of your own you would like to toss around click the Q&A button on the side bar and we'll chat.

0 thoughts on “Jesus wept – Friday Q&A

  1. Larry Carroll

    I figure that Jesus was weeping because He had a human side and had emotions. He was not a Vulcan like Mr. Spock. He loved these people and they were hurting. Hmmm, since Jesus is the same, yesterday and today and forever, He (and Father) also weep today when people like us are hurting. He's a "Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" as it says in Isaiah 53:3.

  2. Felecia

    BIG thanks to Larry for reminding me of Isaiah 53:3. It is truly humbling that Jesus would be moved by my grief. But of course, He is my Comforter. I guess I'll allow Him to cry for the sorrow we feel (aren't I nice?), after all, He above all knows we exist in a fallen world with the pain and suffering that sin brings. He alone knows the ending to the story - He's read the last page - God wins. So even though He wept with Mary and Martha for Lazarus and weeps for us in our trials and tribulations; He knows it will be soon enough when we are 'arisen' to live with Him in glory and no longer suffer. Perhaps that's precisely why John included it, to show the caring side of Jesus, making Him even more attainable. Oooo God is so good!

    Thanks, Ben, for the shout out and for the discourse. I'm truly happy that you found me ~ causing me to find you! Now I wish I'd written something wonderful for your followers to read if they pop over! Oopsie! 🙂


  3. Larry Who

    For a long time, I thought He wept for their lack of faith, but the only person who had ever raised a dead person out of the grave was Elisha, when a dead man was buried in his tomb and touched his dead bones. (2 Kings 13:21). So, it would have been a stretch for people to have faith that Jesus could raise Lazarus out of the tomb.

    Maybe Jesus wept because He is the Man of sorrows who bears our griefs and sorrows (Isaiah 53:3-4).

    Great question. I'm interested in reading what others have to say.

  4. livinginobscurity

    As I sit pondering this, like most I have previously been taught and assumed he was moved in His spirit by the grief around Him. Then too, I have been taught it was tears for the unbelief. Here's another perspective. Have you ever been so moved with tears of joy because you knew what was coming. Could Jesus have been so come with joy that the Father was going to reveal another aspect of who He is for us? When the Holy Spirit's power comes upon us, there are many reactions, some are tears. It is surely an interesting nugget you gave us to chew on! 🙂

    1. Ben Nelson

      Hey Gayle - there is a take i have never heard - wonderful thought! I love that what was about to happen is a further revelation of the Father - and what a revelation - I Am the Resurrection!!!! Woot

  5. Caddo-Jael

    Looks like things continue here with favor and success, plenty of good comments and smart lively students filling up the front row--Go Prof Ben--God bless you and the fam.


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