Jesus Wept

John 11: 33-36.

When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, He groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,

And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto Him, Lord, come and see.

Jesus wept.

Then said the Jews, Behold how He loved him!

Jesus wept - Wikipedia

It is not strange that Jesus would “groan in His spirit, and be trouble.” He saw the grief of Mary and Martha, saw their sorrow, along with those who had come to mourn with them. He loved this family, and it touched His heart of compassion to see them so distraught.

We may have difficulty identifying with the outward display of grief that was going on. We’ve done our best to keep a stoic appearance in the face of such loss, and keep our deep grief and mourning to ourselves. I’m not sure why, really. Are we convinced that showing outward grief is a sign of weakness? Of a lack of faith? Of selfishness, or just lack of self-control? If we allow ourselves to weep openly, are we afraid we WILL lose control completely? Embarrass ourselves?

I worked in my counseling office for 18 years, and often spoke with those who had experienced great loss. Often, their first question was, “Why am I still crying so much? It’s been six weeks–month–even years, Shouldn’t I be past this?”

I don’t know when we started making rules for how long we’re allowed to grieve. Grieve as long as you need to. Don’t worry about what someone else may think. Yes, we need to trust God to help us through these times of grieving, but we cannot bottle up our grief. Sooner or later, the cork in that bottle is going to pop, and all that grief will come pouring out like lava from a volcano. Grief is something we have to endure, and the only way out is through. Yes, it’s hard. Sometimes it’s awful. It’s always lonely. But believers are never alone. God knows our griefs, and He grieves with us, just as Jesus grieved with Mary and Martha.

Jesus asked where Lazarus was entombed. Of course, He already knew, but often, grieving people find comfort in showing the grave to others.

When Jesus wept, the Jews took note. “See how much Jesus loved Lazarus!”

The Jews were not afraid or reluctant to show their grief, and I have learned that grief shared is often grief relieved. The people understood Jesus’ grief, and He understood theirs.

Romans 12:15 commands us to rejoice with others who rejoice, and to weep with others who weep. Never tell a grieving person not to cry. You are robbing them of their grief, and robbing yourself of an opportunity to show compassion and empathy.

2 thoughts on “Jesus Wept

  1. Thanks Linda. Blessings to you. I appreciate what you wrote here, how you explained it, and that you brought forth more of the backstory one seldom hears. This relates directly to your experience as a counselor.

    They knew the Lord could have healed Lazarus. They had the faith for it and I’m sure Lazarus did also. Another part of the backstory which we seldom hear is the perspective of Lazarus himself as he lay dying. Prayers had certainly gone forth. Again, great faith was present. They had even sent word to the Lord, going through the great effort to send a messenger to find Him. But still, despite all that, their prayers were not answered. Lazarus, if still conscious in his last few days, and even up to the end, was likely at least a little confused and possibly heartbroken, as his sisters likely were. They knew the Lord could have changed their circumstances but chose not to.

    The Lord had decided nature must take its course as if He wasn’t there. It was not at all that He didn’t care. He always cares, but especially for those He is in close relationship with because such people have demonstrated their love and friendship. So, it was just as difficult for the Lord to let it happen without intervention.

    Isn’t this what happens when anyone dies? Isn’t this what happens when the Lord’s very close children in the faith die? He usually never intervenes. He does on occasion, because there are legitimate reports of people being raised from the dead, and some of these are in Scripture. But He most often lets nature take its course. Does He grieve every time anyone of His children die as He did for Lazarus? I believe so. He is no respecter of persons. He treats all of His children the same. In the case of Lazarus, though, something special was written down in the Lord’s future history before Creation. It was God’s plan all along for this event to occur. It would show what the Lord could do. It would show His great love. It would give us all an example of what awaits us when our own resurrections will take place.

    And it was not just “in His humanity” that the Lord wept. I believe God has wept an ocean of tears over what has happened to His perfect Creation by sinful human beings. All of the pain and misery in this world has been at the hands of rebellious people. And to various extents, because we all need a Savior, we are all guilty. However, we praise God because He made a way in the midst of such difficulty, made payment for our sin, and promises a new eternal perfect Creation that will never become corrupted.

    In the meantime, we may still wonder why the Lord sometimes does not intervene in times of personal difficulty. Many of us know He could change our circumstances. We have the faith for it. But it doesn’t happen. Just as He allowed Lazarus to die He often lets a vital part of our lives die. Though He is there to help us through it He doesn’t stop it. It may be the hardest aspect to grieve. It may be the hardest aspect to understand. We have to let it go.

    Lazarus, Mary, and Martha let it go. They accepted it. They did not get angry or bitter. Their hearts were broken. If they never knew the Lord Jesus it would be different. When He came, Mary and Martha were very glad to see Him, but had to express their grief. They had to express their faith. But they also had to express their acceptance of their brother’s death in the Lord’s presence.

    Having fulfilled all the requirements, they assisted in enabling the miracle by their own correct and proper spiritual attitudes. The Lord had advance knowledge of this, of course. He knows everything. After all the proper greetings and brief discussions, “grieving it out” so to speak, it was time for the new day.

    This is what I would like to express here. Though the Lord will allow nature to run its course and allow something in our lives to die, even though we put much effort in doing all we could to keep it alive, it also means that He will do something new to essentially replace what was lost, in some way or another. We know this because we know He promises to restore. He came to give us abundant life. If something vital pertaining to abundant life has been removed against the will of God through sin and incorrect choices, the Lord will replace what was lost according to our faith, our attitude, and His timing. The enemy will not get the last say.

    With the Lord Jesus, according to His will, every story has a happy ending.

    Liked by 1 person

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