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  • Writer's pictureChris Steele

The Tears of Jesus

Be Strong, Be Well — Wednesday, December 9, 2020

It’s hard for mere humans to fully understand the nature of Jesus Christ as God and man at the same time. But this is exactly what He was and is (John 1:1-3, 14; I John 3:2; 1 Timothy 2:5).

In His human form, the Lord shared in the emotions we all have, all while maintaining His perfect nature. He could be happy and rejoice or He could be sad and even shed tears.

Isaiah foretold of Christ as "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief" (53:3). In the New Testament, John tells us “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). This Greek word for “wept” is only used once in the entire New Testament here in this passage. It means a silent, tender weeping.

Why did Jesus cry at the tomb of Lazarus? He knew His friend was in a better place. The Lord also knew there would be rejoicing among family and friends, as soon as He raised Lazarus from the grave. Jesus may have cried because Lazarus would be brought back to a life of troubles.

Is it possible that our Lord wept because His heart was overwhelmed with sympathy and empathy for all those who were grieved and crying around Him? John wrote, “Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” (John 11:33, 34).

It is comforting to know that Jesus still shares our feelings of sadness and grief when we have lost a dear loved one in death (cf. Hebrews 2:17; 4:15, 16), even though He knows our loved one will be resurrected one day (John 5:24-29).

The tears of Jesus are seen again when He cried over the impending doom of the city of Jerusalem. In Luke 19:41 the Greek word now is a cry of anguish that others could hear. This was a cry of great sorrow due to the loss of many souls who refused to believe in Him and be saved. This occasion was a few days before the people of Jerusalem would demand, “Crucify Him. Crucify Him.”

We see Jesus’ tears again in the Garden of Gethsemane as He was contemplating His crucifixion (Hebrews 5:7). Could it be our Lord’s anguish was because He soon would be bearing the weight of the world’s sins upon Him as He hung on the cross? (cf. Galatians 3:13; Hebrews 12:2).

When we think of sin, we should think of how it grieves our Lord when we succumb to it. Our repentance should reflect the grief necessary to turn us away from sin. How much more do we want rejoicing rather than sadness and tears. Oh, how we want to see the Lord's joy rather than His tears!

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!“ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. (Luke 15:4-7). —Chris

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