John 11:35 “Jesus wept.”
It is the shortest verse in all the Word of God.
Nine letters and two words. Yet what power they portray!
So, what is it that caused the Son of God to shed tears?
Was it that His friend Lazarus had died? One could hardly think such a thought in light of eternity. If Lazarus had died and it was final, he was in a far better place with no sickness, pain, or care. We know this because the Word of God tells us:
Psalm 116:15 “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.”
2 Corinthians 5:8 “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
Was it the pain it caused others He loved? Surely Mary and Martha took the loss of their brother hard. They had sent for Jesus to come and heal him.
John 11:3 “Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.”
Yet, He tarried. He prophesied that Lazarus’ sickness was going to be unto the glory of God. Still, He stayed two days more. Curious. Our remedy to the situation may have gone thus.
If we had heard our dear friend was sick and had the ability and opportunity to heal them, we would have gone immediately. Love for Lazarus, love for Mary and Martha would have compelled us to go quickly to do what we could.
Jesus finally came after receiving their message and found that Lazarus had already been dead four days. Both Martha and Mary wondered why and asked Jesus as much.
John 11:21-22 “Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.”
John 11:32 “Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.”
Was it the grief that was caused by the death of His friend? Surely Jesus was full of compassion to where He felt their loss.
John 11:33-34 “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 maintained all the attributes of God here on earth. Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Omnipotent. He knew what was going to happen when it was going to happen and why. He saw the effects of what He was about to do, and how it would set in motion the course of events leading up to His crucifixion.
So, I ask once again, “What caused the Savior to weep?”
Jesus stood there, tears running down His face. The next events that took place to reveal to us the heart of the Son of God. He declared the purpose of what was about to happen next.
John 11:39-40 “Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?”
IF thou wouldest believe… That little two-letter word “if” reveals much. When He called Lazarus to come out of the grave, many that stood around put their faith in Jesus to save them.
John 11:45 “Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.“
Faith, even great faith, caused Jesus to marvel. But what caused His tears? I believe it was the unbelief of those who, after witnessing a miracle, went to tell the Pharisees about what they had just seen.
John 11:46 “But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.“
What kind of heart would be so hard to have seen a man raised from the dead and not be affected by it? What kind of man would forsake the faith and set their mind and heart to Pharisaical favor rather than eternal life?
The blindness of such a man to the very miracles shown before them would play forever in their mind as they burn in Hell. It would remind them that the opportunity to escape was right in front of them.
How could we ever lessen or cheapen the love of our Savior who came that all men might be saved? Jesus saw what blinded them. He knew that they would leave that place unchanged. I cannot help but think that His heart was broken over the loss of those souls as they left that day to inform the Pharisees of what they had just seen.
Some may believe God to be a cruel Judge that would send a soul to eternal damnation in the lake of fire. That is not His heart at all!
John 3:16 (KJV) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
It is not a hard and fast doctrinal issue to rightly apply just where the tears of Jesus came from that day. But, I truly believe that if we know the heart of God, and seek to be like Him, we will find that we will begin to love what He loves.
The sole purpose of Jesus coming to earth was to redeem sinful man unto Himself.
Luke 19:10 “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
It would break my heart if I did all that I could for those I loved with all my heart, only to see them walk away, unchanged.
It ought to break our hearts when we witness to someone and give them the gospel only to have them walk away, rejecting Jesus. We may never know if it is their last time. But, if we cannot know, we must treat it as if it were.
Would to God our hearts were as profoundly affected over lost souls as Jesus was that day!
May we be the witness we are commanded to be for a lost and dying world!