[CF Devotionals] 2010-09-24 - Jesus Wept

Originally Preached 2003-06-25

I seem to have a reputation for preaching a long time. But tonight you're in luck. I wish to preach on two words: Jesus wept. Look with me at John 11:17-37

John 11:35 simply says, "Jesus wept." It is the shortest verse in the Bible so let's take a few minutes to just think on it. Jesus wept.


Jesus, whose name means "Jehovah is salvation" – Jesus, who is God himself, was moved to tears over His creation. The Greeks and other pagans believed in a lot of god. These gods might interact with humans but they were not generally concerned with mankind. As a rule pagans worshipped apathetic uncaring gods so this demonstration of emotion took on greater significance in the Gentile world as the gospel spread to them. If you go back to John 1:1,14 you see a God that cares. God laid down the crown of stars for a crown of thorns. He put aside the robes of royalty for the frail cloak of humanity. He did this because He cared - because he loved the world. This demonstration of compassion was significant to all who saw. Years later Peter possibly recalling this event and others would write, "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." (I Peter 5:7). Because he loved the world and those in it, He wept.


The word we find translated as wept hear is dakruo meaning to weep, shed tears. Basically it means to quietly sob. It is not the Greek word klaio meaning to mourn, weep, lament or, in other words, to wail aloud. Jesus had a tear in his eye but he wasn't crying like Lucy (from I Love Lucy). A commentator named David Guzik observes, "Jesus is greatly moved but not out of control"

Why did Jesus Weep?

In this passage we see friends and family weeping and wailing as Jesus arrives in Bethany. Then the Messiah himself cries. What is up with that? He is God. He already knows what is going to happen so why is he upset? He knows Lazarus will be alive once again so why, then, does He weep? I think examining the scriptures we can see at least five reasons Jesus wept.


    He cried because of sin's results. Romans 6:23 the wages of sin is death. In verse 33 we see that Christ groaned in the spirit. The Greek there means "to snort like a horse". Evidently saying someone was "snorting like a horse" was an expression like now saying "madder than all get out" would be. Anger and indignation are implied. Jesus is upset over one of man's great enemies: death. Jesus knew that in a few weeks he'd conquer death for mankind but here it was claiming one of its final victims.

    Jon Courson wrote, "Perhaps it is because He was reminded that sin destroys, sin kills, sin stinks. Aren't you finding this to be so? Aren't you seeing heartache and sadness all around because of sin? Doesn't it make you heavy of heart sometimes when you realize that precious people are hurting because of sin?"


    Jesus cried for his follower's disbelief. They believed in Him but they did not believe or understand all He said and did. These wanted to believe. Mary even acknowledged that he was the Christ. In verses 23-27, he says Lazarus will live again but Martha doesn't get it. Jesus says, "It will be alright" but they keep weeping and wailing in disbelief. Look at the disciples that lived day in and day out with Jesus time and time again they just don't seem to get it. How many of us have worked patiently with someone and no matter what they just don't get it? Upsetting isn't it? Likewise, our unbelief and misunderstanding must break His heart as well.


    Look at verse 37 some Jews murmur, "Look at Jesus. He cries because he couldn't save Lazarus." This impresses me as the same indignant attitude as those at the cross shouting, "If you are Christ – save yourself." And Satan declaring, "If you are Christ – throw yourself from this temple." Look at Luke 19:41-42. He wailed over Jerusalem's denial.

    Two fishermen were driving along a highway when they came to a crossroad with a "Closed" sign blocking the main road. They noticed fresh tire tracks leading around the sign, so they decided to follow the tracks and disregard the sign. They had gone some three miles when the road ended at a broken bridge. The only thing to do was turn around, and on passing the road block again they observed this inscription on the reverse side of the sign: "It was really closed, wasn't it?"

    Unlike the fishermen we won't be able to turn around denying the signs and reaching the end makes it final. If we deny Christ we won't get a second chance when life's road ends.

Next week we will look at two more reasons. Until then...



All verses are from the King James Version unless otherwise specified.