Jesus was Deeply Moved at the Death of Lazarus

Jesus was Deeply Moved at the Death of Lazarus

Jesus was Deeply Moved at the Death of Lazarus.

“When Jesus looked at Mary and saw her weeping at His feet, and at all her friends who were with her grieving, a deep anger (embrimaomai) welled up within Him, and Jesus was deeply troubled.”  (John 11:33).

“embrimaomai” = a Greek word that is rooted in the snorting sound of an agitated horse; this word has been translated many ways, including deeply moved in spirit, profound indignation, greatly distressed, a deep groan, a profound sigh, an emotional shudder, stirred with deep anger. The Aramaic for this verse includes, instead of anger, literally, “His heart melted with compassion.” Much has been said about the Greek idea of Jesus being angry at this scene. Certainly, Jesus was angry at the devil for bringing misery and death to the world, for introducing sickness and suffering into the human experience. Angry perhaps that His beloved creation, the people made in God’s image, had to go through the experience of death. Maybe He was even angry that Lazarus had to go through death in order for Jesus to prove that He is “the Resurrection and the Life,” and that Lazarus’ death and resurrection was needed to get the ball rolling for His own impending Passion.

As recorded in John 11, Jesus received word that His close friend Lazarus was deathly sick in his home town of Bethany. Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha, were very close friends of Jesus, and so this news certainly troubled Jesus. But He decided to stay where He was for a couple of days. Jesus saw a timely opportunity to make a big statement, and unfortunately He needed Lazarus to die to make it. Finally, on the fourth day after His friend’s death, Jesus and His disciples arrive in Bethany, which is only two miles from Jerusalem. Jesus first had conversations with both sisters about Lazarus and their understandable grief. Both Mary and Martha wondered why Jesus delayed in coming. Both women believe in Jesus, and that He has the spiritual power to do great things. Jesus told them not to worry about Lazarus. He told them that He is the resurrection and the life. He has power over death and is the source of everlasting life. Jesus then leads the mourners to the tomb holding the dead body of Lazarus. He offers a prayer within the hearing of everyone in attendance. a word of thanks to the Father for what is about to happen. Jesus then shouts, with authority, “Lazarus! Come out!” Miracle of miracles, after the stone is rolled away, Lazarus does indeed walk out of the tomb, alive. Human death is no match for Jesus’ life. It wasn’t long before Lazarus’ burial clothes were taken off, and he returned to something like a normal life. But of course, Lazarus was never the same again.

 Every so often, we get to observe a more passionate side of Jesus’ human emotions. Jesus reveals many times in the gospels that He is in total union with the human story. The Son of God was fully human. He was recorded in the gospels as being deeply moved with anger, with compassion, with joy, with zeal, and, as a man of many sorrows, was known to be in absolute agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. The Lazarus story is certainly one of those times. When speaking with Mary, Jesus was deeply moved. The various translations have Jesus groaning deeply, sighing profoundly, stamping His feet in anger like an agitated horse, greatly distressed in His spirit. John records in verse 33 that Jesus was also “troubled.” The Greek word there was “tarasso,” and is rooted in the idea of calm waters being stirred up. Jesus had a calm spirit, but in this Lazarus situation it was stirred up. He became disturbed in His mind, agitated when he was usually calm. And of course, there is in this scene the famous verse, “Jesus wept.” Jesus literally had tears of grief and distress flowing down His cheeks. There is no question that Jesus felt deep human emotions, and He wasn’t afraid to express them.