When Jesus saw her [Mary] weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” He asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept.
John 11: 33-35
I am amazed at how profoundly effected Jesus was at Lazarus’ funeral. He knew what He was going to do. He had come to raise Lazarus from the dead as a testimony of who He was but it upset Him greatly to see Lazarus’ family suffer. Jesus did not pass through the experience unscathed. John uses very strong language to describe Jesus’ response. Where it says, “He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled” John uses a highly emotional verb: tarasso
tar- as’-so: 1) to agitate, trouble (a thing, by the movement of its parts to and fro) 1a) to cause one inward commotion, take away his calmness of mind, disturb his equanimity 1b) to disquiet, make restless 1c) to stir up 1d) to trouble 1d1) to strike one’s spirit with fear and dread 1e) to render anxious or distressed 1f) to perplex the mind of one by suggesting scruples or doubts
It means to shake to the core, to completely upset. It might help to understand this word if we were to imagine it’s opposite. The Hebrew word Shalom is translated as, “Peace,” but it means so much more. Shalom is more than just not fighting. Shalom is rest in the completeness of God. It is complete order, peace on every level. Jesus experiences the exact opposite of that at Lazarus’ funeral. He is gripped by emotion and shaken. Why was Jesus troubled? Why did Jesus cry? He knew what he was about to do? The funeral was about to be canceled!
Death is part of the old order that Jesus had come to do away with. Paul says that Death will be the last enemy to be defeated. (1 Cor 15: 26) Death is part of the old order, the old way of doing things and a disciple of Jesus is part of the new. Paul says that anyone who is in Christ, “is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor 5:17) In the end Jesus will return and obliterate death (Rev 21:4) but we live in the time in between. We are living in the now and not yet of God’s Kingdom.
The old order is passing away but parts of it still remain. The gospel is that the Kingdom of Jesus is coming into place but is not yet fully realized. In light of that fact, even Jesus cries, but he does not weep for those who die. Jesus weeps for those who are left behind. Our God suffers as we do and is acquainted with our grief. A disciple mourns with those who mourn (Rom 12: 15) but not as one without hope (1 Thes 4: 13). We mourn in anticipation of things being set right. We trust that what is incomplete and imperfect will be made right.
Come Lord Jesus! (Rev 22:20)