Why did Jesus groan and weep when Lazarus died?

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John 11:33-35

John the apostle wrote, “Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept” (John 11:33-35).

Jesus groaned in righteous indignation

Mary’s weeping and that of the intimate relatives and friends of Lazarus was a true display of sorrow, but much of the other weeping was perhaps the superficial wailing which is customary in the Oriental funerals. This superficial wail of the hired wailers is also described in Mark 5:39, “When He came in, He said to them, “Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping.”

The word “groaned,” basically means “to blow” or “to snort [in anger]” (Daniel 11:30). The linked phrase, “and was troubled” (John 11:33), shows the same thought. Hence, groaning shows a troubled mind and a agonizing emotional experience of righteous indignation, caused by the superficial sorrow of the Jews gathered. Jesus knew that these same people who wailed would soon be demanding that He would be crucified. 

Jesus groaned over the destiny of the lost

Jesus groaned in the spirit over the lost for refusing His loving offer of salvation. The prophet Ezekiel described how God felt about His people, “Cast away from you all your transgressions, by which you have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 18:31). But the Lord can’t force His love on sinners. They need to respond to His call of love.

Christ promises all that accept Him eternal life. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). But the decisive element lies with men themselves—“as many” as receive and believe are granted access to son-ship (Isaiah 55:1; Ephesians 1:5; Revelation 22:17).

Jesus wept

In His humanity, Jesus was moved by man’s sorrow, so He wept with the sadness. “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren” (Hebrews 2:17). Because of His identification with mankind “he is able to succour them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18). It is a great comfort to the believers to know that Christ feels our sorrows and troubles, and sympathizes with us.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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