The Tears Of Jesus 

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On three different occasions we read of Jesus weeping. As we seek to understand why our Lord wept at these times it will help us to see and appreciate even more the depth of His love and His commitment to obey His Father’s will. May we allow these events in the life of Jesus to motivate us to greater service to our great God.

“Jesus wept” (
John 11:35). Initially Lazarus is just sick when his sisters, Martha and Mary, sent news to the Lord about their brother (John 11:1-3). After stating that his sickness is not unto death, He delays His coming to Bethany for two more days (John 11:4-6). While He prolonged His coming, the one whom He loved did indeed die (John 11:11-15). There are at least three things in this text which would happen when the Lord did come and raise His friend from the dead. (1) Both God and Christ would be glorified (John 11:4). (2) Many would be made believers because of what they would witness, when this man who was dead and had been in the tomb for four days was raised (John 11:15, 42, 45). (3) The chief priests, Pharisees, and the council plotted to put Him to death (John 11:46-53).

Why did Jesus weep knowing He would raise Lazarus from the dead, restoring his life to him? The text gives us the answer to this somewhat baffling question. “Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled” (J
ohn 11:33). What lesson(s) do we learn from this very touching example? We have a Lord who understands the difficult things which we must face in life. When our hearts are shattered, because someone we love very dearly has passed from this life, Jesus is there to heal those broken hearts, to comfort, and to guide one safely through the troubling seas. When facing temptations because of Satan’s devices and our own human frailties, we have a High Priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15; Ephesians 6:11). What a blessing to have a Lord who can weep because of what others are experiencing.

“Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it” (
Luke 19:41). As Jesus approaches the decent of the Mount of Olives, He has a panoramic view of the city of Jerusalem (Luke 19:37). He could see a good portion of the city, its walls, gates, the Temple, and most of all the people. How many times He wanted to gather the people together like a hen gathers her brood under her wings and yet they were unwilling (Luke 13:34-35). What strong emotion this stirred within the heart and mind of our Lord, which brought Him to tears. He knew the pending doom of the city, how it would be destroyed by Titus and his army, and the hordes of people who would lose their lives. And yet the most tragic thing which would occur, if they continued in their rebellion, the loss of their souls. It was not for a lack of evidence to prove that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God, for their defiance. Signs and miracles were performed by the Lord so they would believe (John 2:23; 3:2; chapter 9, etc.). The words He spoke often fulfilled the Scriptures and were deeply impressive on the hearts of many who were listening (John 7:37-46). Yet most of the Jews remained in rebellion against the very One who was to give His life so they might be saved.

What a tender, loving, and compassionate Lord. “who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear” (
Hebrews 5:7). It seems the event(s) in the life of Jesus which the writer of the book of Hebrews has reference to, was the agonizing prayer of our Lord in the garden of Gethsemane and possibly also when He was hanging on the cross (Luke 22:39-46; Matthew 27:46). I think it is hard for us to imagine how excruciating such an ordeal was for the Lord, facing such a hideous and painful death designed for a common criminal. Remember this is the sinless Son of God, who was God robed in flesh. Yet despite the agony and pain He experienced in the garden and on the cross, He still asked that the Father’s will be done (Matthew 26:42). It was only through this means, what Jesus did for us, we could be saved. What a Savior.

We have a Savior with a heart which can be touched with such strong emotions, when He sees those who love Him weeping over the passing of those whom they care for very deeply. A heart filled with sadness over those who reject Him. And One who was extremely sorrowful when facing suffering and death and yet was never swayed from doing His Father’s will. Someone once said that the tears of Jesus are a translation of divine emotion into human language. May we express our thanks to God for such a loving Redeemer.

Jim Mickells

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