“Lord, if you had been here, our brother would not have died!”
With these words, Martha confronted the Lord Jesus. They had always been a close knit family, and Mary, Martha, and Lazarus had included Jesus in that intimate circle. They had great faith in Jesus, believing that He was the Chosen One, the long-expected Messiah, having seen many of the miracles He had performed in confirmation of His claims. So when Lazarus got sick, they quickly sent word to Jesus that the one He loved was sick.
But Jesus was too late. He arrived to the wail of the mourners, heart-broken over their loss. And now Martha comes out to meet Him, angry, hurt, and disappointed.
As they move towards the tomb where Lazarus was laid, Jesus sees and hears the pain of this family. The Scriptures tell us that “He was deeply moved and troubled.” And then it records these two little words, “Jesus wept.” It is the shortest verse in our English Bible but how profound and moving these words are.
They remind us that Jesus cares. When we are hurting and grieving, it is difficult to remember that. We may, like Martha, lash out at God, blaming Him for not being there when we needed Him. But Jesus never scolded Martha. He just gently encouraged her to believe.
Jesus told Martha that Lazarus would rise again. She believed that He would rise again at the last day. But Jesus made a remarkable claim: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he may die, he shall live… Do you believe this?” Martha replied, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God.” (John 11:25-26).
When Jesus came to the tomb, He publicly demonstrated that He was indeed the resurrection and the life. He called out to the man who had been dead four days, “Lazarus, come forth.” And death gave up its claim on the man.
Yet if Jesus knew what He was about to do, why was He weeping?
Not only did Jesus feel their pain, He also was seeing the devastating effects that sin has on this world. This world is not the perfect place God created; it has been disfigured by sin and its effects. Jesus had come to deal with what Paul calls our final enemy, death (1 Corinthians 15:26). Since the cause of death is sin, Jesus had to die to deal with your sin and mine. And by His resurrection, He demonstrated that He had indeed conquered sin and death and hell.
But there is another scene in which we see Jesus weeping. He is approaching the city of Jerusalem, knowing that the time of His death is at hand. He knows that the vast majority of people in that city have rejected Him, and He knows that their judgement will shortly befall them (Luke 19:41-44).
Jesus came to save His people from their sins, but He never forces Himself on anyone. That is why we hear Jesus crying, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem… How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37).
The Lord Jesus has come to offer you the hope of eternal life through the forgiveness of your sins. He will not force Himself on you, but if you ask Him, He will save you from sin and its eternal consequences. Then you can have the assurance of resurrection and eternal life. Will you trust the Lord Jesus as your Saviour today?