1Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. 3So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, "Lord, he whom you love is ill." 4But when Jesus heard it, he said, "This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God's glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it." 5Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, 6after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.
7Then after this he said to the disciples, "Let us go to Judea again."' 8The disciples said to him, "Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?" 9Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. 10But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them." 11After saying this, he told them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him." 12The disciples said to him, "Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right." 13Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. 14Then Jesus told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead. 15For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him." 16Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him."
"Jesus wept" is the shortest verse in the Bible. Two words in English. Three words in the original Greek, which includes a definite article. "Jesus wept" comes from John 11:35. The passage above provides the background for "Jesus wept." This passage clearly indicates that Jesus remained longer at a place rather than hurrying to where Martha, Mary, and Lazarus were, in Bethany. Jesus stayed back on purpose. What purpose? So that Jesus would arrive after Lazarus had died. Why? So that the Son of God might be glorified through the raising of dead Lazarus to life.
If this is the case, when we read "Jesus wept," the weeping is not because Jesus was sad to hear about Lazarus' death. Jesus already foreknew that. The word for "wept" is not the same as the "weeping" of Mary's (11:33). The shedding of Jesus' tears is out of his being deeply moved. In the Greek, it's more like "outraged." Jesus is more upset at the people's unbelief, for the people were grieving like pagans. "Like the rest of mankind, who have no hope" (1 Thess. 4:13). The people around Jesus think he's crying because he's in despair. The people around Jesus do not get Jesus. Jesus is disturbed, outraged, and sadden about how little they understand him. It is true that Jesus loved Lazarus. But Jesus' tears are not for the loss of a loved one. It's for something else, more disturbing from Jesus' point of view.
Let's pray: Lord Jesus, we confess You are the Resurrection and Life. Help us to perceive you rightly today. That we would not miss out on you. That we would not consider who you are in our lives. Be glorified by manifesting your presence and your character in and through our lives. In your name, amen.