The God Who Weeps (Who Do You Say That He Is?–Part 4)

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead in John 11. There are more life-altering truths in those verses that I could hope to cover in a short blog post, but one in particular has made a tremendous impression on me over the last several years. It’s found in v. 35, one of the shortest in the Bible. It reads simply: “Jesus wept.”

The verse’s length is almost inversely proportional to its profundity. Why do I say that? Well, ask yourself this: why was Jesus weeping?

One might suggest that he wept because his good friend was dead. That seems obvious enough. But is it? Read the full story. Stop and consider v. 11, and vv. 40-42. The fact is, Jesus knew that he was about to raise Lazarus from the dead. In other words, he knew he was about to remove the very problem that we might initially cite as the cause of his tears. Why would he weep at the death of a man—even a friend—he knows is about to live again?

With that in mind, I think it’s fair to say that Jesus is weeping in this passage, not because of Lazarus’ death, but because of why Lazarus had to die in the first place. To look upon Lazarus’ tomb brought Jesus face to face with the tragic consequence of man’s rebellion against God.

At that tomb, the man who knew no sin wept for the brokenness of those of us who cannot—by ourselves at least—escape sin’s power. He could have rightly said, “This is what you all deserve…and more.” But instead he wept. God the Son wept.

They were tears spurred by what is rightly described (if we’re understanding its enormity correctly) as shocking mercy—the same mercy, in fact, that compelled Jesus to yield to the nails of a Roman cross, so that death might be defeated once for all.

Do you see Jesus as coldly indifferent? As eager to render judgment without demonstrating compassion?

Or do you serve, worship, and love him as the God who weeps?

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