Tears Over Death

“Jesus wept”—this is the shortest verse in the Bible (in the original it’s one word!). But about what did He weep? He wept when he arrived at Lazarus” tomb, because of his death. Yet, He knew that He was going to raise him from the dead. Indeed, He purposefully postponed His visit to Bethany until fours day had passed and there could be no question raised about the resuscitation of a person who had wrongly been thought to be dead. So why did He weep?

It also says that Jesus “groaned.” That’s connected with the weeping. Actually the original word indicates that the groaning was in anger. That too adds information about what took place.

Jesus wept because he saw the sorrow that death occasioned in His close friends, Mary and Martha. There was no reason to weep over Lazarus himself. He was angry because of the effects of sin upon those He cared for. Jesus was not cold, impassionate, uncaring. Indeed, He cared so much that He was deeply affected by this death; that He allowed it to show openly. And He didn’t think that it was unmanly to do so.

Christians who have the strange idea that crying at a loved one’s death is somehow or other unspiritual are surely wrong. But, at the same time they can have full assurance that if the dying loved one was a Christian, things are actually better for him.

“What if you are a Christian and the one who died is not? How could you be happy in heaven if he’s not there?”

Surely you, too, will weep now. Perhaps, even more profoundly. But when you recognize that things are not better for him, you still will have the assurance that someday, when you go to be with the Lord, you will see things exactly as He does. You may not understand now, but because you will Have God’s perspective, you will be happy in heaven.


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