There are 2 main references to Jesus weeping. They are instructive and challenging for us today.
The first situation where Jesus is described as weeping, we can relate to. We have all been in similar situations. Sad situations in which tears flowed readily and grief was expressed sometimes loudly. Jesus wept when He saw the grief of Mary and Martha after their brother Lazarus had died, ‘“Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept.’ John 11:32-35.
However there is something unusual about this incident. It says that Jesus was “deeply moved.” The word is (embrimáoma, ἐμβριμάομαι) which can mean strong indignation or deep grief. He was also “greatly troubled” where the word is from (tarássō, ταράσσω meaning to disturb or to stir up.) The scene affected Him deeply. So much so that He wept.
An interesting truth
This is where it gets very interesting. In verse 33 we are told that Mary and those who were with her were all weeping. But there are 2 main words for “weeping” in the New Testament. One is ( klaiō, κλαίω) meaning to sob, to wail aloud or bewail. That’s what Mary and the others were doing, weeping loudly in deep grief.
We note though that when Jesus is described as weeping in the same situation, a different word is used. It is the second word for weeping, namely (dakrúō, δακρύω) meaning to shed tears or to sob quietly. It raises this question. Why didn’t Jesus show the same depth of grief that Mary and the others had shown? They were wailing or grieving loudly. He was shedding tears! We get an answer by looking back to what Jesus said when He heard of the death of Lazarus. ‘[Jesus] said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.”’ John 11:11. In brief, Jesus was moved by the expressions of grief He had witnessed BUT He wasn’t grief-stricken because He knew He was about to do something about the situation. He was going to restore Lazarus back to life. There was no need for deep grief knowing He would bring Lazarus back to life.
A Challenging truth!
Jesus wept on another occasion. It was when He entered Jerusalem shortly before His death. We read how that situation was described, “And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it … “ On this occasion it was not a quiet sobbing or the shedding of tears (dakrúō, δακρύω) as we saw in John 11:35. Rather it was the deep gut-wrenching cry of grief or despair that came from His lips (klaiō, κλαίω). Why? Because this situation was something He could not change, even though He would have longed to have done so. This was His lament, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side 44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” Luke 19:41-44. He had been sent by God to be their Messiah, their Saviour. He would live and die for them. But they had rejected Him and God’s purpose for themselves through Him.
This is similar to the passage in Mat 23:37 where Jesus also lamented over the hardness of heart of the people of Jerusalem and their rejection of Him. (In truth, their rejection of the Almighty God Himself in rejecting God’s purpose through Jesus.) He cried out, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! “Mat 23:37. They had been given many opportunities to respond to Him but they had failed to do so. Judgment would follow.
He was grieving deeply because He saw what their rejection of Him would involve for the people of Jerusalem. How haunting are the words of Jesus in some translations, “I would …. but YOU WOULD NOT!” Rejecting their long-promised Messiah, and the purpose of God in Him, they would come out from under their God’s protection. A catastrophe would inevitably follow for the people. Jesus saw it all about to happen and He wept, deeply, for them!
It was all so unnecessary! How much better to have received Him, the One whom God had sent to save them from their sins.
The challenge to us today! How does Jesus see you and me?
Does He see you as His friend?
To those who believe in Him and receive Him, He gives the privilege to become children of God. As such they are brothers and sisters in Christ. He calls them His friends as He said to His disciples “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:13-15.
When He left this earth, He did not leave us alone. He gave us another Comforter or Helper to be with us forever. In fact, to indwell us. To impart His presence in and through us. Jesus promised, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. 18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.” John 14:16-19.
Until He returns at the end of human history as we know it, He prays for those who are His, for His friends, “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” Hebrews 7:25.
Does He see you as His enemy?
Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Luke 11:23. It seems that in Jesus’ eyes there is no “sitting on the fence.” Nor are there simply “interested or disinterested observers.” Nor are there “fellow travellers.” One is either for Him or against Him, in His opinion. As He told us. For our good!
Who in their right mind would want to be opposed to Jesus, the Creator, the Saviour, the Lord and the coming Judge of all the earth?
The First coming of Jesus into the world gave humans a choice, to accept Him or to reject Him! As John wrote, “He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:10-13. Some chose to believe Him and to receive Him. Others chose to reject Him.
The Second coming of Jesus into the world brings no further choice.
There are no second chances. Judgment will be made according to the choice we have made in this life. The choice about what to do with Jesus, “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” Heb 9:27.
Is that how we see ourselves? “Eagerly waiting for him?” If we don’t see ourselves in this light, perhaps He doesn’t either! Now that would be a real problem! For us!
But for those who have received Him and believed in His name, as they eagerly wait for Him to return, there is a God-given confidence, “And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.” 1 John 2:28.
The whole Good Friday to Easter story gives meaning to what the world is all about. In the simple words of the verse that is called the “gospel in a nutshell” we are told why Jesus came, and died, and rose again, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16. God saw a world in need. Spiritually perishing in their sin. He chose to send the world a Saviour, His own Son, who died for the sin of the world on Good Friday and rose from the dead on Easter Day. As we put our trust in Him and receive Him into our lives as our Saviour and Lord, we are saved. We belong to Him! Friends! Forever!
It is so easy to become His friend. Not by being good or doing good, for we could never be good enough nor do enough good to qualify. But if we pray to the Risen Lord, something like this, He will become our friend! “Jesus, I am sorry for trying to live life on my terms, not yours. Please forgive my sin. I invite you to come into my life to be my Saviour. I want you to be the Lord and Master of every part of my life from this moment on. Thank You Jesus for your promise that You will come in as I open the door of my heart to You. Guide and strengthen me by Your Holy Spirit so that I may live for you and to Your glory. AMEN.”
Blog No.274. Posted on www.jimholbeck.blog on Saturday 31st March 2018