When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept.
We see Jesus' amazing empathy in action right before he raises Lazarus from the dead. John's gospel account makes it clear that Jesus is fully aware that within moments the weeping of those around Him will turn to joy. He knows He is going to raise Lazarus. Yet, Jesus still weeps. This is surprising, and important.
Why does He weep? I think Jesus must have been weeping out of empathy for the pain and sorrow of those around Him. But notice that Jesus not only felt the pain, He entered into it. Jesus was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3). He knows what it is to suffer. But instead of being hardened by His experiences, He learned how to relate to us more fully from it. Jesus understands the difficulty of daily life and empathizes with your pain.
This tells us two things:
- Your pain matters to God. He weeps when you weep.
- It’s okay to mourn the death of our loved ones. Scripture says that believers should not mourn as those who have no hope, but it does not say that we shouldn't mourn. Jesus wept even when He knew resurrection was just around the bend. So it must be okay for us to weep when we lose a loved one, as long as we do not mourn as though there were no resurrection coming at all.
Do you weep with those around you? Do you feel their pain?
Any of us who hope to follow the example of Jesus must learn show empathy like He did. Look for opportunities to take up the burdens of those around you, to comfort them or to simply join them in their pain. As you do, you will become more like the Savior.