Why did Jesus weep when Lazarus died?


by Shawn Brasseaux

“Why did Jesus weep when Lazarus died, since He knew that He would raise Lazarus from the dead?”

What a question! I can think of three reasons why Jesus wept.


Jesus Christ is the most unique Person in all the universe because He is fully God and fully Man. He is not 50 percent God and 50 percent Man, but 100 percent God and 100 percent Man. Because He is God, He has the power to take upon Himself a human nature. That is exactly what He did at His incarnation in Mary’s womb. Hence, Jesus would eat, sleep, exercise emotions, et cetera. While weeping is normally considered feminine (not masculine), Jesus Christ Himself corrected such an invalid view. Yes, He knew He would raise Lazarus, but until He raised Lazarus, as a Man, Jesus wept. It was not weakness; it was just an exercise of the seat of emotions that He had gained when He became Man.


We read in John chapter 11: “[31] The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there. [32] Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. [33] When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled. [34] And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.”

When Jesus saw Lazarus’ sister Mary weeping, and when Jesus saw the crowd of Jews weeping with her, He was deeply moved in His innermost being. Thus, He was influenced to weep with them. He knew their pain, He too loved Lazarus, and He showed them that He felt that pain. The Lord Jesus Christ was not a callous, apathetic Man who found enjoyment in the suffering of others. He was a compassionate Man! He was a dear, personal Friend.


Verse 35, the Bible’s shortest verse, says, “Jesus wept.” By weeping, Jesus showed how much He loved Lazarus. Verse 36, “Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!” Had Jesus just stood emotionless at the tomb, He would have given the impression that He was glad or unconcerned (apathetic) about Lazarus’s decease. What would you think of someone who stood by a loved one’s tomb, someone who exhibited no melancholy emotions? This person had been friends with the deceased, and yet he or she would show no sense of sadness? It would be awkward. Jesus did not want to come off as rude or uncaring; He was a personal God who needed to show personal affection!


Jesus was fully God and fully Man. He was undiminished Deity and perfect Man. He was just as human as we are (He slept, ate, felt emotions, et cetera), but without sin. That is why He cried. Yes, He knew He would raise Lazarus again, but He felt the sting of death anyway. He identified Himself with those who were also mourning for Lazarus. The Lord Jesus Christ was a compassionate Person. He had (and still has) pity on us humans, we who are suffering under the effects of the curse of sin (sickness and physical death).

Martha confessed that Lazarus would rise again at the last day, and yet surely she mourned: “[23] Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. [24] Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” The Jews came to comfort Mary and Martha, indicating they were both mourning (verse 19). Although we know the Lord will one day resurrect our deceased loved ones in Christ, we still stand by their graves and cry, do we not? Likewise, Jesus knowing the future still felt the grief of Lazarus’ temporary departure.

Also see:
» Is Jesus Christ JEHOVAH God? (COMING SOON!)
» Does the Bible teach the concept of the Trinity/Godhead?
» What happened to those saints raised from the dead in Matthew 27:52-53?

4 responses to “Why did Jesus weep when Lazarus died?

  1. Pingback: When the LORD Turns Israel’s Captivity #2 | 333 Words of Grace

  2. Pingback: Is cremation a Biblical option for Christians? | For What Saith the Scriptures?

  3. Pingback: How should we cope with the death of a pet? | For What Saith the Scriptures?

  4. Pingback: How was Jesus Christ “raised again?” Why “again?” | For What Saith the Scriptures?

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