“Jesus Weeps For Unbelief”
After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
If you’re anything like me, your natural reaction to pain and disappointment is often to get angry at something or someone. When someone breaks our heart, we begin to build bitterness toward them. When someone betrays us, we start spreading the story so “everyone will know what they did.” When someone dies, we often direct our grief, doubt and anger at God. Because we’ve been told all our lives that God loves us. Well, if that’s true, how could He possibly let my grandma/aunt/cousin/mom/dad/sister die? I don’t know what loss you’ve experienced, but fill in the blank… “God, how could you let ________ die?” Or maybe you’ve even gone this far… “God, I can’t believe You’d do this to me! I hate you!”
In verse 21, Martha accuses Jesus of not coming in time. “If you’d been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.” In verse 32, Mary echoes her words… “If you’d been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.” In verse 37, random people start saying things like, “Couldn’t Jesus have kept Lazarus from dying?” Reading between the lines, I can just imagine the conversations that had been happening over the four days between Lazarus’ death and Jesus’ arrival. I can just almost hear a crowd turning into a mob. I can sense the tension of friends turning bitter and entertaining anger. I can feel the pain that Jesus must have felt to arrive and hear His friends, His followers, questioning Him and accusing Him.
It’s at this moment that John tells us Jesus’ only reaction is to start crying. Why would He do that? Is it because His friend has died? Well, maybe, but He actually knows He’s getting ready to bring Lazarus back to life. So why would He cry right now, moments before He restores Lazarus’ life?
Jesus always weeeps over unbelief. God’s heart breaks when His creation rejects Him and refuses to believe in Him. When followers of the Resurrection don’t believe death can be defeated, it breaks the heart of the Resurrecter.
Do you believe? Or are you angry at God? Are you doubting God? Are you questioning the power to resurrect? Is God weeping over you?