Lazarus must come and help him with these sisters whom he could not get to believe! Lazarus had tasted of death, and knew what it was; he must come and give his testimony! His sisters fancy he has gone to the nowhere of their unbelief; he must set them at rest. It was hard upon Lazarus, but he must come and bear the Lord company a little longer, and then be left behind with his sisters, that they and millions more might know that God is the God of the living, and not of the dead. Can any Christian believe it was from love to Lazarus that Jesus wept? It was from love to God, and to Martha and Mary. He had not lost Lazarus; but Martha and Mary were astray from their father in heaven. “Come, my brother; witness!” he cried; and Lazarus came forth. Oh, the hearts of Martha and Mary! Surely the Lord had some recompense for his trouble, beholding their joy! Lazarus had to die again, and thanked God, we may be sure, for the glad fact. Did his sisters, supposing them again left behind him in the world, make the same lamentations over him as the former time he went? If they did, would you not say it was most unworthy of them to be no better for such a favor shown them? Would it not be hard to persuade you that they ever did so behave? They must have felt it would be a shame not to be patient when they knew there was nothing to fear. It was all right with him, and would soon be all right with them also! I imagine you agreeing heartily with this.
Why, then, should you be so miserable when a loved one is taken from you?
Jesus Wept, But Why?
“Can any Christian believe it was from love to Lazarus that Jesus wept? It was from love to God, and to Martha and Mary.” The shortest verse in the Bible, “Jesus wept,” is also one of the Bible’s deepest passages.
MacDonald takes these words to mean that he was weeping from the love of God for Mary and Martha, who had grown bitter in their grief over their brother’s death. Jesus had waited for days after receiving word of Lazarus’ illness, which had disturbed the sisters. The first words that come out of Martha’s mouth as Jesus arrived days after Lazarus has died were, “Lord if you had been here my brother would not of died…” How many in suffering a loss have said similar words to God, wondering why Jesus, the Great Physician did not arrive on the scene and heal their loved one, as he has done with so many? Even though, throughout our lives and the history of mankind, there have been miraculous healings for some and not for others. In the end we must realize that all healing is but temporary, as we all must die sooner or later. It is an appointment we shall all keep.
Still, that truth doesn’t prevent us from thinking our situation deserves special consideration, and we should always be healed, at least until we have reach our nineties. Our anger then arises when we find that we have been ignored. At least we think we have been ignored, though that is never the truth with God. He never ignores his children, and is always working for their growth and eternal salvation. But he is looking at our eternal development and we are often looking for temporal satisfaction. As MacDonald put it, God is easy to please but hard to satisfy. He is pleased with our first few steps, but won’t be satisfied till we can walk as full grown women and men. So, he might satisfy us at times with momentary healings, but the days will come when healing isn’t needed, but deeper growth is. As God said to St. Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is perfected in weakness.” God is perfecting his work in our lives, and he is longing for Mary and Martha to come to a deeper truth. He longs to see them move beyond their grief to a deeper understanding of his ways.
But I thinks there is more as to why Jesus wept. As MacDonald mentions, Jesus is not weeping because he lost Lazarus, for Lazarus is in a better place, and sorrow for him has passed. But, Jesus might also be weeping because he knows that he must bring Lazarus back from all the glory he is experiencing and set him, once again, in this world of suffering, and that he will have to go through the dying process again. Lazarus was returned to a world of pain, to serve a greater purpose for his life and the life of his family and in the greater purposes of God. For it is after Lazarus is raised that the Scripture says that from that moment on they plotted the death of Jesus. So, Lazarus' return from the dead not only encouraged the faith of his sisters and of all those who witnessed it, but it also set in motion the terrible circumstances that God would use to redeem mankind. These are many reasons for tears. We rarely look deeply enough at the words and the situation to see how wonderful, miraculous, and terrifying was the moment.