Real men don’t cry, or so they say.
But Jesus was as much of a man (and more) who ever lived, and He cried. Three times, at least.
One of them was at the tomb of His good friend Lazarus.
But why? Why did Jesus cry when Lazarus died?
In a way it doesn’t make sense at all.
Here’s an excerpt:
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. . . . So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. . . .
Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. . . .
Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go” (John 11).
In a way things don’t really add up. If Jesus knew He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead, why did He cry? It doesn’t make sense that He would grieve over His friend’s death if the friend was about to come to life again.
So why then did He cry?
I think it was because He saw the grief around Him, and He knew it wasn’t supposed to be this way.
Death wasn’t supposed to happen. He hadn’t created people to see them die, yet death was everywhere. People grieved and suffered and cried.
I think Jesus was overwhelmed as He thought about how sin had messed everything up so badly.
He cried, not as much out of love for Lazarus as it was love for everyone and anger at what had happened.
God hates death—why it’s here, what it does, what it represents.
The story has a happy ending, though, not just for Lazarus but for everyone who follows Christ.
For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:52-57).
Jesus cried because He hated sin, and this same passion led Him to the cross, to the grave, and out of the tomb, so that one day He could dry every tear.
Have a great Thursday!