I do not think Jesus wept because Lazarus was dead.
In his book,Your Jesus Is Too Safe, (great book!), Jared C. Wilson, one of the most popular Christian bloggers in the world, writes, “The shortest verse in the Bible, John 11:35, tells us simply that “Jesus wept,” and his tears came from mourning his dear friend Lazarus.” I emailed Wilson and shared my thoughts on why I thought Jesus wept. His final statement in his reply back was “. . . you could be right.”
The verse does not say “Jesus wept because” . . . so any guess is speculation. The best thing to do, when situations as such arise, is to make sure our speculations are born out by the context of the passage (or passages).
Here’s part of what I emailed him and why I think Jesus wept:
. . . Jesus did weep. Yes. But did he really weep because Lazarus was dead? I do not think so. Up to this point, Jesus has healed a boy who was blind, walked on water, fed up to 5,000 people (many commentators believe it was upwards to 20,000 people) with five loaves of bread and two fish, and preached powerfully of the Kingdom of God. Even after all Jesus has done, the people around him are still doubting and not placing their faith truly in him — even some of his closest friends that he spends the most time with. Mary, even after she witnesses much of what Jesus had done, says to Jesus, “Lord, if you would have been here, my brother would have not died” (John 11:32). Here’s what I’ve always thought: Jesus wept because even after all he did people were still not placing their faith in him. They were battling unbelief. Their lack of faith led to the tears, not because Lazarus was dead. Jesus specifically was on his way to heal Lazarus, why would he be mourning over the fact that he was dead? He knew he was going to heal him. The news didn’t shock him. It was the people around him and their lack of faith that led to the tears . . .
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