Today’s Gospel reading was about the raising of Lazarus. In the middle of this story comes the Bible’s shortest verse, “Jesus wept.” What was He weeping about? The people around Him at the time thought He wept for Lazarus, but from our viewpoint, we know that can’t be true. He knew He was going to raise His friend and He would shuffle out of the grave before all those people. What was He weeping for? I think I may have a few ideas. I am not sure what other’s think on this, but this is my t’pence worth.
He wept for Judas and for Jerusalem. You see, Mary ran from her house where she was sitting shiva for her brother. She gets up and rushes to Jesus as soon as she hears He is in the vicinity. She throws herself down at His feet – and John reminds us this is not the first time she has wept over the feet of Jesus.
The twelve are with Christ as He comes to Bethany, and there is little doubt that Judas sees Mary at the feet of Jesus. How angry he had been when she had “wasted” all that wealth and beauty on the Lord. From that moment he had planned to hand the Lord over to His enemies. Just like the Judases today who even phone radio shows with the SAME QUESTION, he resented the cost of worshipping the Lord, God and Saviour, “Why doesn’t She sell it and give the money to the poor?”[she being Mary and the Church] they ask. Of course, like Judas, they have no real regard for the poor, they just hate the wealth given to the glory of God.
Did Jesus weep for all the Judases that over the next 2000 years and more would pretend to be His disciples, when in fact they only wished to serve themselves?
Did He weep for all those people who would observe the raising of Lazerus, just a week before Jesus Himself would be crucified and that despite all the time He had spent with them, it really would take a miracle of this magnitude before many of those present would deign to believe?
Perhaps too, He wept for all those who, even in the face of this miracle STILL refused to believe. For those who would rush back to Jerusalem, horrified by this resurrection and more eager than ever to have this Jesus of Nazareth put to death.
Perhaps He wept for all of us, who in whatever way, have turned from Life to death because we are daft enough to prefer the darkness of the tomb.
It’s just two words “Jesus wept,” but those are words that are sword to the heart of all of us.