“Jesus wept.” John 11:35
This verse is from the story of raising Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus got very sick but Jesus purposely shows up late after Lazarus had died. Martha meets Jesus before He entered the town.
21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from 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. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” John 11:21-27
Martha speaks with great faith here. She says Jesus is the Son of God and can do all things. Yet, she sounds defeated when she says these things. Maybe it’s just my opinion and not truth, but I’ve heard people speak this way when their life is awful. They believe Jesus is the Son of God, but their circumstances are so bad that they don’t feel what they say. This isn’t a bad thing, in fact it’s praiseworthy that she could proclaim Jesus as Lord even when things seem so awful, but it does point out how broken she is. The brokenness that her brother is dead, and Jesus could have come sooner to save him.
Martha then calls for Mary and Mary falls at Jesus’ feet saying the same thing Martha did, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Jesus sees Mary crying at his feet, and the other mourners crying too. It says Jesus was moved to the very center of who He was, and He wept.
It’s odd that Jesus would cry. He knew He could and was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. That’s why He waited two days to get to Bethany. Yet, all the agony and crying around Him lead Him to cry.
Even though He knew the future He still empathized with the people. That is a very big deal. Often we find ourselves thinking that since God is all-powerful and knows the future, He doesn’t feel with us. That’s not true at all. He weeps with us, and celebrates with us. Even with God’s power and foreknowledge, Jesus still feels with us.
Notice too that He didn’t rebuke anyone for not believing He could raise Lazarus from the dead. He cries with them, and shows them that He is the Son of God by bringing Lazarus back to life.
As we go out into the world, let us remember this. Our Lord is sympathetic to the struggles of others. Though He knew Lazarus’ death was only temporary, He still cried with people. We must cry with people and celebrate with them too (Romans 12:15). Also we must proclaim our sympathetic God to others: a God who knows and feels our suffering, but pushes us forward through our hardships so that we may reap the treasure at the end of them (Hebrews 12:11).
May we all remember this and worship Jesus by telling others about His loving nature.