How Deep Is God’s Love
John 11:30-44 NASBS
Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha met Him. Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and consoling her, when they saw that Mary got up quickly and went out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. So the Jews were saying, “See how He loved him!” (John 11:30-36)
When Mary and Martha sent word that Lazarus was sick, he took a few days journey to Judea, even though he knew that Lazarus was already dead. He planned to raise Lazaraus from the dead (John 11:11-13).
Yet when Jesus saw the people weeping for Lazarus, he was deeply moved and he wept. Why did Jesus weep when he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead a few moments later?
Jesus’ weeping was different from that of Mary, Martha and the others there. The Greek word used to describe his weeping was dakruō, which means ‘to shed tears’ (to cry silently). On the other hand, the Greek word used to describe Mary’s weeping was klaiō which means ‘to sob and wail aloud’.
Martha believed that Lazarus would resurrect again on Judgment Day (John 11:24-27). Yet she wept aloud. It could be due to the pain of separation from her brother Lazarus. But what caused Jesus to weep silently then?
Seeing Jesus’ reaction, the people clearly saw his close relationship with Lazarus and concluded, “See how he loved him!” If I were there and saw Jesus weeping for Lazarus, I would probably arrive at the same conclusion too. Jesus was moved by the people’s sadness and by Lazarus’ death because he loved them.
How I wish I was there to witness and understand Jesus’ love for Lazarus, because that’s the same kind of love he has for me too.
Jesus’ weeping causes me to rethink the value God places on the relationships we have with our loved ones. Death separates us from our loved ones and this is a hard pill to swallow. Jesus understands and feels our sorrow. In the same way, God feels sorrowful when our sins separate us from Him. Sins separate us from one another too. Think about the hurts some of our friends are going through because they were hurt by the sins of people they have once loved and respected. We hurt each other unintentionally because of our sins, and we are blinded towards reconciliation too. We need to open our eyes to see how sins separate us and hurt our relationships.
But some of them said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have kept this man also from dying?” So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, “Remove the stone.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me.” When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” (John 11:37-44)
Jesus called out to Lazarus in a loud voice, and Lazarus emerged from the tomb. Jesus resurrected Lazarus so that Mary, Martha and the people there could “see the glory of God” because they believed him.
Jesus had raised two other people from the dead, the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17) and Jairus’ daughter (Luke 8:40-53). Chronologically, Lazarus was probably the third person he raised from the dead. Jesus himself was resurrected after he died too.
Jesus made it clear that he was sent by God, and that God loves people. He was not secretive in showing who he was and how he loved. Jesus called out to Lazarus aloud, to make his intention clear to others that God’s glory will be displayed.
Many of us care too much about how others look at us when we show Christ’s love. We often don’t care, or don’t want to show that we care. Neither of these are what we see in Jesus. He cared and loved openly, and he still does that, for us. I question myself, am I like Jesus in the area of love?
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. (John 14:12)
True Christianity is to do what Jesus does. We can be like Jesus, loving and showing love, and people can see Jesus through our lives. Since we’ve experience the love of Christ, we should know how to show the love of Christ to others too. And if we have forgotten about God’s love for us, then we ought to rekindle that memory.
Jesus’ love raised Lazarus back to life. In the same way, Christ died for us while we were still sinners because of his love for us, and we too are spiritually resurrected.
We may not be able to raise someone from the dead but we can love others the way Jesus loves us. Let us love others intentionally and clearly because we are in Christ.
Andy is the head of compliance for an international bank and is happily married, with three daughters. He became a disciple of Christ three decades ago, and studies God's Word passionately. He desires to be constantly led by the Spirit. Andy joined the Central Christian Church in 1990.