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Why did Jesus Weep?

Why did jesus weep, What is the meaning behind Jesus wept? Questions
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Let’s talk about you question. Why did Jesus weep? What is the meaning behind “Jesus wept?”

Lazarus’s sister Mary sent word to Jesus, saying,
“Lord, he whom You love (Gr. phileis) is sick (John 11:3).”  

Jesus Loved the Family and They Loved Him

Jesus had spent enough time with this family to develop a mutual affection. Mary would soon prepare His body for burial, being one of the few of Jesus’ disciples who understood beforehand that He would die (Mark 14:1-11

Her sister Martha had prepared meals for Jesus and His disciples. 

Affectionate Love

‘Love” in this verse translates the Greek word phileis, which implies affectionate love, not just a love that would act in another’s best interest. God loves everybody but hasn’t developed a loving relationship with everyone.

Why Did Jesus Weep in the Story of Lazarus?

“When Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but … that the Son of God may be glorified by it” (John 11:4).” 
Jesus knew in advance that Lazarus would die from this illness, but also that He’d restore Lazarus to life.

Jesus Intentionally Delays

Jesus doesn’t do what we expect and, on the surface, does something (delaying) that seems unloving until we hear the end of the story. So, the writer again emphasizes how much Jesus loved this family. Why did Jesus weep?

“Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. So when He heard that he was sick, He remained where He was two more days” (John 11:5-6)

Jesus’ Diagnosis

Doesn’t Jesus care? Why is He tempting fate? His delay is intentional. But why? He could have arrived before Lazarus died, healed him, and prevented his death:
“After He (Jesus) said this, He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep. But I am going that I may awaken him from sleep (John 11:11).”

Was Lazarus Really Dead?

When believers in Jesus die, Jesus calls it sleep because Jesus will resurrect them to live again and forever. But Jesus’ disciples misunderstood and thought Jesus meant that Lazarus was only sleeping:
“So then Jesus plainly told them, “Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe” (John 11:14-15).

Why Four Days?

“When Jesus arrived, He found that he (Lazarus) had been in the tomb four days already” (John 11:17). 
Jesus waited four days because the Jews of Jesus’ time may have believed that a dead person’s spirit hangs around the body for three days before finally leaving.

Martha’s Complaint

“Martha … went and met (Jesus),” saying, “If You had been here, my brother would not have died” (and) whatever You may ask of God, God will give You” (John 11:20-22).
Martha knew Jesus was “the life” (John 14:6). And she believed that if Jesus asked God to bring Lazarus back to life, God would. 

Jesus said …, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said …, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day” (John 11:23-24). 

Does Martha Believe?

Jesus reinforced her belief in the resurrection, saying,
 “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, yet shall he live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26).

Martha knew that God would resurrect all believers on the last day. But Jesus wanted to hear what she believed about Him:
She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world (John 11:27).”

Get Your Sister

After this, Jesus asked for Mary, so Martha went to get her:
When the Jews … saw that she quickly rose up and went out, they followed her, saying, “She is going to the tomb to weep there” (John 11:31). When Mary reached Jesus, she “fell down at His feet, saying …, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.

Losing Composure

Why did Jesus weep? At this point in the story, the emotions start catching up with us. When we read, we tend to get weepy-eyed and teary. Jesus, who loves this family dearly, also sorrowed:

“When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews … with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see” (John 11:22-34). 

Jesus Wept

The next verse describes Jesus’ reaction to their grief, and it’s one of the shortest verses in the Bible:
“Jesus wept” (John 11:35).

Jesus’ compassion for their sorrow overcame His composure. As the observers watched Jesus react, they stated the obvious:
“Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him” (John 11:36).

Why the Delay?

Then, many stated another obvious:
“But some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have also kept this man from dying?” (John 11:37).

But everything Jesus did here was intentional. He purposely waited to arrive until four days after Lazarus had died. During Jesus’ ministry, He had already healed many people. He had even brought the recently dead back to life:
Jairus’ daughter had recently died, but Jesus took her by the hand and raised her to life (Mark 5:21-43).

He also stopped a funeral procession to touch the coffin of a widow’s son and raise him to life (Luke 7:12-15). 

Jesus Came to Reveal God

Jesus came to reveal God, and people understood that through Jesus, God had visited His people:
“Fear came on everyone. And they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen up among us!” and “God has visited His people!” (Luke 7:16).

The Resurrection and the Life
The Christ
The Son of God
The One to Come Into the World

But could Jesus raise a man who had been dead for four days? He’d already asked Martha, preparing her for the miracle:

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, yet shall he live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26). “She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world” (John 11:27).


Lazarus was wrapped in cloth strips and placed in a cave sealed with a stone that blocked the opening. So, Jesus asked them to take away the stone. But Martha objected to removing it, saying,
“Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days” (John 11:39).

 Jesus asked her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40).

Sent by the Father

Jesus wanted the bystanders to know that the Father had sent Him. For their sake, Jesus audibly addressed the Father:
“Jesus … said, “Father, … I know that You always hear Me. But … I said this (audibly), that they (the people standing around) may believe that You sent Me.” When He had said this, He cried out …, “Lazarus, come out!” (John 11:41-43).

Unwrap Him

At Jesus’ command, Lazarus was restored to life:
“He who was dead came out, his hands and feet wrapped with grave clothes, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go” (John 11:44).

Why Jesus Wept

Jesus wept because He loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. He empathized with their grief and brought Lazarus back from the dead to glorify His Father and help the bystanders understand that in Jesus, God was visiting His people. This helped them identify Him as the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.

We invite you to watch the “Great News” video on this page and find out more about God’s love for you and how you can receive forgiveness and eternal life – today!

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