Summary: Two reasons, "For the wages of sin is death..." Death brings tears. "The gift of God is eternal life." Faith in Christ brings hope. Unbelief brings even greater tears!
“Why Jesus Wept?”
When Jesus was told that Lazarus was sick, the disciples did not want Jesus to go to Jerusalem. The text would suggest three reasons they could have used to try to talk Jesus out of making this trip. These same three reasons are excuses people use for not obeying God in “going forth” into the fields of harvest today!
Three reasons not to go…
1. They do not need you.
Jesus had said that Lazarus was sleeping. The disciples then said,
”Well then, don’t bother Lazarus, he needs his rest.” When Jesus replied that he was dead, the disciples thinking was they probably have plenty of other mourners, Jesus, you are not needed!
2. They do not want you.
When Jesus insisted on still going to Bethany, the disciples reminded Jesus that he last time that he was near Jerusalem, he had received death threats.
The most difficult thing about Christianity is suffering the rejection that comes from identifying with Christ and the cross.
3. You can’t do anything about it.
If Lazarus was “dead,” their would be nothing that Jesus could do about it, so why bother!
Of course, Jesus would go to Bethany to come to the aid of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. Why? How can we use the life of Christ to help us overcome the excuses that others may give to hinder our efforts for ministry today?
Note these three reasons for going from Christ in rebuttal to the doubts of the disciples.
Three reasons to go…
1. They do need me.
Where ever you find a hurting heart of a suffering saint, you will find Christ there! The world needs Christ!
We need to be careful not to swallow the underlying lie of “Separation of Church and State.” Our children need Christ. Our nation needs Christ. People need the Lord!
2. They will want me.
Jesus saw this occasion as an opportunity to glorify his Father. One day Christ will be “wanted.” He will be glorified and all of the nations will call him Lord.
3. I can do something about it.
Thomas was right. Jesus would be crucified. The disciples would die with him. But following the death of Christ would be his burial and his resurrection! Not only would Lazarus be “raised” from the dead, but all of redeemed humanity would be given the same hope!
The title of this message is “Why Jesus wept.” When Jesus did come to Bethany, verse 35 says “Jesus wept.” Why? Let me suggest two reasons:
Why Jesus wept?
“For the wages of sin is death…”
Jesus wept because he saw first hand the wretched results of the curse upon mankind. He saw Mary, Martha, and the others weeping. He wept at the tomb.
When we see the devastation that sins brings in the lives of others, we too, should weep with those who are weeping. The wages of sin is death.
“…But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
The second reason why Christ wept could be found is the last part of Romans 6:23. Jesus had the power of resurrection and life. There was but one requirement that Jesus asked of Martha in order for him to exercise his full authority over death, hell, and the grave, “Do you believe in me?”
If you take this entire message in perspective, that question is the prevailing question of the text. “DO YOU BELIEVE IN ME?”
In response to the earlier reasons of the disciples for not going to Bethany, Don’t go because they do not need you. “DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM?” Don’t do because they do not want you, “DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM? Don’t go because you can’t do anything about it, “DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM?”
There were these two reasons for the tears of Christ on this day. First, because he saw first hand that “the wages of sin was death,” and secondly, because he could offer them “the gift of God is eternal life,” and the hearts of so many around him did believe in who he was!
Note that at this time in the ministry of Christ, he had already stopped his public healing ministry. This would be his last miracle performed prior to his resurrection from the dead. He had been rejected by the nation of Israel.
When I am confronted with a family that has been experienced the great hurt of sin in their lives, it brings a greater hurt to my heart when I see this same family rejecting the only true source of power and help. Christ. This hurt brings a double portion of tears!
Martha gave the right answer, she said, “I believe that you are the Christ.” Because of her faith, Lazarus would receive resurrection and life. Faith in Christ makes the difference!