Day 15

When Jesus Wept

from the John reading plan


John 11:1-57, Daniel 12:2-3, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14


So. So is a word that indicates purpose. I am tired, so I take a nap. I am hungry, so I get a snack. My daughter is talking, so I listen (sometimes—she talks a lot).

John 11 turns on the word so. People brought Jesus word that His close friend Lazarus was deathly ill. You’d expect Him to drop everything and rush to Lazarus’s home, especially because Jesus could heal any illness. But He didn’t. The passage says, “so when He heard Lazarus was sick He stayed two more days.” What? Why? That seems insane or negligent or insanely negligent—even more so when Jesus said that the sickness would not lead to death. Of course it would if nobody healed him. But Jesus waited on purpose.

“This sickness will not end in death but is for the glory of God that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (John 11:4). Those are Jesus’ words. Except Lazarus did die. And dead is dead, final, life over. Jesus could have stopped it, and Lazarus’s sisters knew it. Yet He intentionally waited to show up and then had the audacity to say Lazarus had “fallen asleep.”

What was Jesus getting at? What did all this add up to? A display of both His full humanity and full deity, His deep connection to His friends and His power over all.

When Jesus arrived in the town where Lazarus had lived, He walked into the pain of loss. Martha and Mary, Lazarus’s sisters, met Him and—as people do when they are overcome with pain and are grasping for answers—asked why Jesus hadn’t been there to heal their brother. “If you had been here,” they said. If. Jesus had stayed away on purpose. He had let Lazarus die.

But Jesus wept. How could He weep when He had allowed the pain to happen? Jesus wept over the loss of a friend and over the pain of death. He wept over the pervasive evil that steals life from everyone and the devastating effects of sin on the world. He wept for the pain of Martha and Mary. He wept because He was a man who deeply hurt.

Then He showed why He’d waited, what that so was all about. “Lazarus, come forth,” He commanded. (John 11:43). Jesus gave death an order to depart, and it did. For a moment He pulled back the curtain and gave a glimpse into the resurrection to come, the impending death of death He would bring about by laying down His own life.

In that moment, in the midst of mourning, Jesus proved the hope that all His followers have, a hope greater than death.

Written by Barnabas Piper

Post Comments (5)

5 thoughts on "When Jesus Wept"

  1. Forrest says:

    We must believe that all is possible for Jesus , especially when his timing is different from ours

  2. Ken Fuller says:

    A couple time during the telling of this story about the death and resurrection of Lazarus, John tells us that Jesus was angry. It seemed to be associated with those times the Jews around Him showed hopelessness in a time of death. Then He says in John 11:40, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” Many weep at the time of death because they have little hope and faith in God’s promises to us. Let’s encourage one another as Paul encouraged the Thessalonians, “For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.”

  3. Phil says:

    I personally don’t think Jesus was weeping for the death of Lazarus, but rather, because He cared for Lazarus, and the women so much that it physically pained Him/ hurt Him to have to let Lazarus die in order to get the women to believe in Him. He was RIGHT there for them and yet they still needed to see a physical work just to believe Him… seeing is not always believing; that is why faith is such a strong and yet difficult thing to keep in tact at all times! Jesus IS and always WAS! I pray that my faith only grows stronger each day!

  4. Kevin says:

    Sometimes it takes dying, for God to show his glory. That can be literal, or dying of ourselves daily. It can mean we need to die of our own ways in a certain aspect of our life, so that God may make it glorify him when he chooses. God works on his own time and I can’t be one to step in and make it mine.

  5. Nick Crawford says:

    For me, Jesus’s power over all is something I can think on pretty easily, but to see Jesus deeply moved by His people’s hurt was something I needed to be reminded of. Jesus cares about our hurt. He gets in our hurt so that we don’t go through it at alone. He stepped into our broken world, took our hurt, sin, guilt, shame and fear to the cross with Him so that we could have hope in all of those feelings. To know that Jesus cares and is moved deeply by our pain and suffering, though he went through the greatest suffering, is something I need to ponder on more often. Thank you Jesus.

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