Why Jesus Cried

This year the Eastern Orthodox Church celebrated Palm Sunday on April 28, and celebrated the resurrection of Lazarus the previous day. This prompted me to look up what Lewis had said about Lazarus. This is from “God in the Dock”, Part I (17), entitled “Some Thoughts”, followed by an excerpt from a meditation from the Russian book, “Day by Day” which touches on the same subject:


“…we follow One who stood and wept at the grave of Lazarus – not surely, because He was grieved that Mary and Martha wept, and sorrowed for their lack of faith (though some thus interpret) but because death, the punishment of sin, is even more horrible in His eyes than in ours. The nature which He had created as God, the nature which He had assumed as Man, lay there before Him in its ignominy; a foul smell, food for worms. Though He was to revive it a moment later, He wept at the shame; If I may here quote a writer of my own communion, ‘I am not so much afraid of death as ashamed of it’ ".

From “Day by Day”:

"[Jesus] comforted both as Almighty God and as a human being who understands all human sorrow. As God he returned the ones whom death had already taken to those who were weeping for them: to the widow from Nain He returned her son; to Jairus, his daughter; to Martha and Mary, their beloved brother!

“But alongside this comfort – all-powerful, supernatural, healing open wounds and wiping away tears – He also comforted in a human way, also indicating to us the way to help and alleviate the suffering of our brothers. This consolation, available to everyone, is a sincere and deep sympathy which shares the sorrow of suffering brethren. “Jesus wept” (John: 11, 35) – these two words express all the power and the warmth of the compassion which engulfed the Savior’s human heart, filled to overflowing with love. These two words open to us the way to lighten and alleviate another’s grief which we are powerless to eliminate.”

I think the author of Day by Day is right when he speaks of “the warmth of the compassion which engulfed the Savior’s human heart” in response to Mary’s and Martha’s tears, not only in response to the horror of death itself, as Lewis says. When I see someone cry, I tend to want to cry myself. It is a human characteristic, one which I think Jesus must have shared.


“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8)