JESUS WEPT (JOHN 11: 35).
BY: OKPAN CLEOPAS (Evangelist).
To weep is to express sorrow, anguish, or grief by shedding tears. Whenever we see someone weeping we immediately know that there is a problem. Weeping is an emotional expression on the part of humans. It is not a sign of weakness at all. Instead, it is an expression of one’s feelings when in pains, while suffering, and when sorrowful.
Our text simply says “Jesus wept.” This is contained in the account of the apostle John concerning the death of Lazarus and how the Lord Jesus reacted to the news.
WHY DID JESUS WEEP?
A great man like Jesus was not expected to weep easily in public for any reason. But He did! He expressed His emotion through shedding of tears when it mattered so much. He could not hold back the tears when He saw His friends weeping. “He groaned in the spirit and was troubled” (John 11: 33). Surely, Jesus must have a very serious reason for weeping the way He did at the grave of Lazarus.
1. Jesus did not weep just because His friend, Lazarus, died. After all, death is inevitable; all must die someday (Heb. 9: 27). Moreover, Jesus knew He had the power to raise Lazarus to life. So, why should He weep because his friend died?
2. Jesus did not weep because Lazarus died a young man. In the matter of death, age does not count. Both young and old are dying in our world. What is important is that we must not die before our time, occasioned by a life of wickedness and foolishness (Eccl. 7: 17).
3. Jesus did not weep just because He did not quickly respond to the call of Mary and Martha to visit and heal His sick friend. He did not also weep simply because His friend was buried in His absence.
So, why did He weep?
Jesus wept because His friends, Mary and Martha, lost something valuable. He groaned in the spirit and was troubled over their loss of a brother. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11: 21). Mary also said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11: 32). The loss that the two sisters suffered was so touching such that Jesus was moved to tears when He saw them weeping and sorrowful.
The incident of the death of Lazarus was not the only time Jesus wept. Jesus also wept over the city of Jerusalem for their unbelief and wickedness toward God’s message and His servants (Matt. 23: 37 – 39). Jesus mourned over the city that was once the centre of Israel’s worship to God for many centuries. Now this city of terrible and false religious leaders went on to kill all who were sent to her with a message of repentance (Heb. 11: 32 – 40). They wanted to kill Jesus the way they killed the Old Testament prophets. So, Jesus saw the future of Jerusalem; He saw the destruction that was coming in A.D. 70. God had forsaken them, because they forsook God and His message. They were going to suffer a great loss. Jesus mourned because of the loss they were going to experience, which was going to be fatal. He said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her. How often I wanted to gather your children together, even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you would not. Behold, your house is left to you desolate. For I say to you, you will not see Me from now on until you will say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’” (Matt. 23: 37 – 39).
JESUS IS WEEPING TODAY
Jesus is weeping today for Christians who have taken it upon themselves to grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom they were sealed for the day of redemption (Eph. 4: 30). People like these, who fall away from faith and put the Lord to open shame, are impossible to renew to repentance (Heb. 6: 4 – 6). By their actions, they hurt the Lord deeply, and have lost the hope of eternal salvation. Paul’s admonition to the Philippians was: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2: 12).
Jesus is weeping today because of the many false prophets and teachers who are teaching strange gospels that are meant to take care of their belly and not to save souls (Rom. 16: 17, 18; 1 Tim. 4: 1 – 3). Paul says, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan masquerades himself as a messenger of light. Therefore, it is no great thing if his ministers also masquerade themselves as ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works” (1 Cor. 11: 13 – 15). Jesus also warns of false prophets (Matt. 7: 15 – 20). These ones fail to understand the nature of God’s judgement against them for adding to and subtracting from God’s word (Rev. 22: 18 – 19).
Jesus is weeping today because many people in our world do not attach any importance to the final destiny of their souls. This is why messages of repentance and obedience to the will of God do not make any sense to them. Jesus’ question is this: “For what will it profit a man if he will gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16: 18).
Why did Jesus come to the earth to suffer many things and die a shameful death on the cross? It was to redeem the lost souls (John 3: 16 – 18). He is interested in our souls’ salvation. Therefore, it hurts Jesus Christ to see the world He came to save deteriorating into sin and destruction. It pains Jesus deeply when men reject Him and His word, which has been employed as judgemental standard (John 12: 48). Every time we disobey God, we lose something great and beneficial to our souls. Every time Jesus is rejected, the hope of salvation is lost. He said to the Jews, “For if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8: 24). When a person dies in his sins, he has lost his soul forever. Jesus weeps for this kind of people.
Dear friend, your soul is much more valuable than anything you can think of in this world. So, do no lose it. Those who will lose their souls in hell are those who reject Jesus’ love (John 3: 16), His way (John 14: 6), and His truth (John 8: 32; 17: 17). These are the people Jesus is weeping for. Are you one of them? Please, do well by repenting of your sins (Luke 13: 3), confessing Christ as the Son of God (Matt. 10: 32, 33), and be baptized for the washing away of your sins (Acts 2: 38), so that you may be added to the body of Christ, His Church (Acts 2: 47; Eph. 1: 22, 23; Col. 1: 18). Do not allow Jesus to weep over the loss of your soul.