John 11:28 – 37
28 When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, ‘The Teacher is here and is calling for you.’ 29And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. 30Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ 33When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. 34He said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ 35Jesus began to weep. 36So the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’ 37But some of them said, ‘Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?’
Martha went back, and called Mary, telling her that Jesus, “the Teacher”, had arrived and was asking for her. Mary had stayed at home, weeping, when Martha had gone out to meet Jesus. There were many friends and acquaintances who had come up from Jerusalem to console the sisters, and they were in the house with Mary. When Mary heard that Jesus was there, she got up and went to him, and they followed. Mary knelt at Jesus’ feet, and repeated her sister’s words, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Jesus saw her grief and that of those who came with her, and he began to weep. (In the King James this is translated as only 2 words, “Jesus wept”, and was the shortest verse in the Bible.)
Jesus wept for a friend. He had compassion for the grief of the sisters. In this we see the true humanity of Jesus – he was a man who cared for his friends, and grieved with them, feeling their sorrow. In the passage to come, we will see the true divinity of Jesus – for he will raise the dead. But, for this moment, remember that he wept for the ones he loved, feeling their sorrow and grief. When we come to that point where we walk in the wilderness, in the valley of the shadow of death, Jesus is there with us, he feels our grief and weeps for us.
Those who had followed Mary commented on his tears, “See how he loved him!” But the controversy is still there – there is always someone ready to be critical! Others said, “Humph! If he had come sooner he could have saved him from dying!”
But Jesus ignored them – and asked Mary and Martha to show him where they had laid him. And Mary leads him to the tomb. The sisters are thinking that Jesus wishes to go to the tomb to grieve with them there. But there is more to the story —