What Jesus Taught Us When He Wept

by Gospels

Gospel of John 11:11-45

The sisters of Lazarus sent word to Jesus, saying, “Master, the one you love is ill.” When Jesus heard this he said, “This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that he was ill, he remained for two days in the place where he was.Then after this he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home. 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 of God, God will give you.”

Jesus said to her,“Your brother will rise.” Martha said, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” He became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Sir, come and see.” And Jesus wept.

So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.” But some of them said, “Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man have done something so that this man would not have died?”

So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay across it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him, “Lord, by now there will be a stench; he has been dead for four days.”

Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus raised his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you for hearing me. I know that you always hear me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me.”

And when he had said this, He cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”

The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. So Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.” Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what he had done began to believe in him.

– John 11:1-45

Sunday Gospel Reflection April 3, 2022

Depending on what Mass you go to this weekend, you may hear the Gospel reading about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.  This Gospel reading has always helped me to reflect more on the humanity of Jesus.  Jesus weeps for his friend Lazarus. 

Jesus, who knows all things and already knew that Lazarus was dead before anyone told him, wept. 

Jesus, who knew that He could raise Lazarus from the dead at any moment, wept. 

To weep is to feel sadness and emotional pain, which Jesus was clearly subject to in this moment.  When it comes to our emotions, we frequently want to hide them, suppress them, or not feel them at all.  It is also a temptation to view reason and logic as superior or somehow disconnected from our emotions. 

While our lives are often a balance of the two, we cannot discard or dismiss our feelings as unimportant or unreasonable.  If Jesus was perfect and felt strong emotions, then we should expect to experience the same. 

However, it is important to know that our feelings are not always an accurate reflection of what is happening to us, our identity, or God’s love for us.  Our feelings of anxiety, sadness, and anger can lead us to conclude that God does not care about us or love us, but this is absolutely not true.  If you find yourself struggling with difficult emotions, it might be a good idea to pursue counseling, even if just to give it a try.  Counselors are here to help people process difficult emotions and find new paths forward with a balance between thinking and feeling.  This week, consider reflecting on the difficult emotions in your life and how tied they are to the humanity of Christ.  Also, consider reaching out for help if you find difficult emotions becoming a barrier to your spiritual life.

Image: James Tissot, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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