This is perhaps the shortest sentence in the bible. And yet it holds an entirety of God’s being.
When sisters Martha and Mary told Jesus that Lazarus,their brother, his dear friend, had died, Jesus wept. Now this might seem like normal occurrence. Of course, everyone who comes to know of their friend’s untimely demise would weep. It is what is expected.
But what is unexpected, is Jesus bringing Lazarus back to life. One word from Jesus, and Lazarus wakes up from him supposedly never ending slumber.
That brings us back to our original question. If Jesus knew Lazarus would come back to life, why did he weep?
Picture this (Spoiler alert).
You are watching Avengers Infinity War for the first time. As you watch your favourite characters dissipate into nothingness, it feels as if Thanos himself is squeezing your heart, draining it of every drop of blood. And as you leave the cinema theatre, you are left with a numbness that slowly spreads all over your body. But then you realise that most of the apparently dead characters already have future movies announced. And you know, that most of them, if not all, are bound to come back in those movies. Now things don’t seem as bleary. Now, watching the movie again won’t crush your heart anymore.
My point being, if you know the happy ending to a story, the minor setbacks during it, won’t matter as much.
Why then, did Jesus weep, knowing Lazarus would remain dead only for a short while? Notice that it is said that ‘Jesus wept’ not ‘Jesus cried’. What made it so unbearable to him? Was it the sight of Martha and Mary broken hearted? Or was it witnessing the ruin to which Satan has led humanity? Was he foreseeing his future? Or was it knowing that neither his own death, nor his resurrection, would be enough for some?