Bulletin Article
June 24, 2001

Jesus Wept

By Doug Long

Jesus Wept As a father I have seen my kids go through a lot of things. I have seen their successes, and their failures, I can tell you without a doubt that the hardest thing a parent can do is watch their kid fail. Failure can be a good thing, it teaches character. Failure can inspire a kid to work harder, and get better. You must admit it though, it hurts a lot to watch your kid learn hard lessons that can be learned only one way. I think Jesus felt like this when he realized that a hard lesson must be learned, and one of his friends was going to have to die to teach it. I am writing about the story of Lazarus. The story can be found in the book of John 11:1-45. Verse 1 tells us Lazarus was sick, verses 2-4 deal with Jesus learning about the sickness, and declaring that this was for the glory of God. Skipping to verse 11 we have the first indication of Lazarus death, Jesus told the disciples that Lazarus was asleep. This is where I think Jesus must have been disappointed in his followers, because they had difficulty understanding what he meant. In Verse 14 Jesus had to tell them plainly that Lazarus was dead. He followed it up in verse 15 by an interesting comment,

"And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him."

I think the next couple of verses must have been heart wrenching to Jesus when Martha said to Jesus in verses 20-21,

"Lord if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give you".

Jesus reassured her in verse 23,

"Your borother will rise again".

Again she didn't understand what he was saying, and Jesus had to explain it to her in verses 24-26. Jesus declared to Martha in verse 25-26

"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And who ever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?".

In verse 32 it was Mary's turn to make Jesus heartache. She said,

"Lord, If You had been here, my brother would not have died."

Verse 33 tells us what Jesus was feeling.

"Therefore when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled."

I am sure his heart went out to them, and this obviously stirred emotions in Jesus. But he also realized that they still didn't understand who he was, and what he was going to do. I think this is why in verse 35 we have the shortest verse in the bible,

"Jesus wept."

Verses 34-40 deal with Jesus gaining access to the tomb, even though he said plainly that Lazarus was going to rise, they still argued with him. The Jews mocked him saying in verse 36-37

"See how He loved him!"

and some of them said,

"Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?".

The next verse has Jesus groaning again. In verse 39 we see Martha who Jesus told face to face that Lazarus would rise, displaying unbelief again, she complained about the stench if they removed the stone. Jesus must have been at his wits end by now, but he patiently said to Martha in verse 40

"Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?"

Verses 41-45 complete the story of Lazarus resurrection. Jesus spoke directly to the father, in verses 41-42, but he was also speaking to those listening. He had a lesson for them.

"Father I thank You that you have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me."

Jesus had to watch Martha and Mary go through anguish, and he had to let Lazarus die! These were people Jesus loved, and yet he had to let them suffer greatly to teach them, those around them, and also us a lesson. It is hard to watch those we love suffer, but sometimes it is necessary. Is it any wonder Jesus wept?