Jesus in every part of his life among us was incredibly profound. He taught like no one else. He possessed an authority that baffled his listeners. He rebelled against the status quo of religion. He was submissive unto death. Any christian can give you a specific moment that suspends in the vastness of their heart, in which Jesus did/said something so profound that they could forget it. It could vary from his healings, to his parables, to his mercy, to his compassion, and to his sacrifice. What was it for you?
I have a moment that interferes with my thoughts on a constant basis. Unlike most people, the supernatural Jesus isn’t what grabs my attentions; its the compassionate Jesus which blows my mind. It could be that our world is so dark and vile and filled with entities that the supernatural isn’t as unfathomable to me anymore, but acts of pure love and kindness. You may suppose I am pointing to the crucifixion. Though that was the crucial moment in all of history, it isn’t what I speak of at this time. The moment that conveys caused me to look at Jesus is a new light is in John 11:35.
Jesus wept. Jesus cried. Jesus shed tears. Why?
Let me ask this in another way. Okay, you ready? Here it goes.
Why did God cry?
The trinity is a terrible and beautiful thing for Christians. We are simply flabbergasted by the idea of God being in 3 persons (3=1) and have tried to explain this but fail miserably each time. We break down at failing to understand this using human logic. People have lost their faith or created a new faith over this doctrine. One of my pastor’s favorite quotes states (paraphrased a bit): If you deny the trinity you lose your soul, if you try to understand the trinity you lose your sanity. We will fast forward to the end, most denominations believe that Jesus is God; a God that cries.
There have been several theories that tried to answer this question.
1) Jesus cried because of the lack of faith of Lazarus’ family.
Big issue with this. The idea that Jesus cried because of lacking faith troubles me. I have had my moments of lacking faith and don’t believe the things of God, does this mean I made Jesus cry. I certainly hope not, I feel bad enough for making my dog cry. If this theory is true, why weren’t there more tears shed during his ministry. The disciples had plenty of doubt and whether Jesus had the ability to do something. Why would Martha’s lack of faith disturb Jesus so much? Was she at a higher standard of Jesus?
2) Jesus cried because it was his fault Lazarus died.
Death is not of God. Death is a product of the curse of the fall of man. I don’t believe Jesus wanted his friend to die. I mean, what kind of friend want’s another dead? Go and tell your friend that you want them to die. It won’t turn out well. It can also be asserted that Jesus felt bad that he didn’t make it in time. The idea that God does evil thing is heresy to his name. God works thing to the good. God does give cancer, illness or death. God is able to bring good from these kind of thing which is evident with the rest of this story
3)Jesus cried because of the pain.
Did Jesus know that Lazarus would die? Debatable. Did Jesus know Lazarus was worth something? Yes, because God sees value in all of us. I believe not Jesus cried because of a faith issue or a blame issue, but a pain issue. When Jesus arrived people were hurting, weeping and in mourning. Jesus’ heart broke for these people. He showed acknowledgement of their anguish. Jesus cried with and probably sat with them. We get an idea that Jesus can’t relate to us or that emotional pain is a distant concept. Here, that ideology is demolished. People shouldn’t feel as if God doesn’t understand their pain of loss because Jesus felt it.
Jesus is in the funeral homes. Jesus is in the ERs. Jesus is in the Hospice homes. Jesus is in the mist of loss not as an advocate but as a comforter and supporter. People, mainly men, get the idea that crying is weak. Jesus cried and he is certainly not weak. He cried because it was a time to cry (Ecc. 3:4). We need to cry with those who cry, we need to mourn with them, we need to feel their pain. Christianity need men and women willing to experience life with the hurting. WWJD?