In the NIV of the Bible in the Gospel John 11:35 it states "Jesus Wept" In the next verse 11:36 John states: 'Then the Jews said, "See how he loved him!" '
In all the sermons I have heard and studies I have read, I still don't agree with the implication John wrote. In this story, I feel empathy for Mary and Martha, and with the grief they show, I comes across to me, Jesus demonstrated one of the most powerful forms of love, empathy.
Firstly, I don't think Jesus reacts for feels the same way 'we' do about death, for us death in permanent and was implied by Mary's comments in John 11:21 and even after Jesus told her he would rise again, Mary still did not understand the full meaning of his comment for she said in 11:25 "I know he will rise again in the resurrection of the last day."
Even in the reaction Jesus had to hearing of Lazarus's death, he did not come to his aid until 4 days past his death and not once during the dialog captured from the time Jesus heard of Lazarus death to the time he met with Mary did he reveal any empathy, sorrow, for Mary, Martha or Lazarus.
It is my humble opinion, Jesus was not weeping because he loved 'him', I am assuming Lazarus, it is he is weeping because he felt empathy for Mary and Ruth for the feeling of loss they are feeling.
Has one of your children or someone you know reacted to a situation which is reasonable for them, but since you may have gone through the process before, your reaction is not as heightened?
Here is an example from my own life. My daughter is playing with her favorite doll, her older brother comes over and grabs the doll and yanks on the dolls arms, legs and head, all departing from the body. My daughter screams in horror her favorite doll just 'died'. I hear the screaming and my daughter races to me to tell me of the victimization of her doll and I need to come take care of her pain right now. To her dismay, I am in the middle of something and can't get to it right now. Now, even if I am not busy, I already know I can put the doll back together, I've done it before. Yet, when my daughter shows me the broken doll and I see the sadness on her face, I am feeling empathy for the pain she went through to watch her brother dismember her favorite doll. My compassion is for her feeling of loss, thus I too get moved to tears because I feel and understand her feeling the emotions she went through believing her doll was gone. Even when I tell her it will be ok, she does not stop crying, I assure her we can fix the doll just like new. And offering her a new one is not good enough, she liked 'this one'. After I reassemble the doll and present it to her, does her disbelief, tears and doubt go away.
As a parent, I have often cried behind closed doors for losses my children go through even though I know it will be ok in the end. I think Jesus was doing the same for Mary and Martha.
I know I may be wrong and I firmly know what is written in the Bible, but ever time I read this story, I continue to feel Jesus was showing the same compassion we would show to someone we care about having gone through or is going through a tragic event.
I often find myself feeling empathy for those who I care about, I think empathy is one of the most powerful emotions, it's a powerful form of love.
Jesus Comforts the Sisters
Jn 11:17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
Jn 11:21 "Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask."
Jn 11:23 Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again."
Jn 11:24 Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."
Jn 11:25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
Jn 11:27 "Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world."
Jn 11:28 And 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." 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 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.
Jn 11:32 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."
Jn 11:33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 "Where have you laid him?" he asked.
"Come and see, Lord," they replied.
Jn 11:35 Jesus wept.
Jn 11:36 Then the Jews said, "See how he loved him!"
Jn 11:37 But some of them said, "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?"
Versus from NIV gospel of John 11:17-37