There are 3 references of which I can find that specifically refer to the emotions of Jesus being demonstrated by crying and/or weeping. The things that make us cry are generally things that affect our hearts deeply…beyond the obvious physical pain in the body that generates tears fairly easily.
“Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, ‘If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.’”
Jesus wept over Jerusalem due to their blindness. The residents and leaders of the city did not recognize nor give honor to the Son of God visiting them. He knew that this city would reject and kill him. He came to bring reconciliation between them and their God (e.g. “peace”) but the provision of the peace agreement would be rejected because they would reject the messenger who was authorized to establish this new covenant. But now, these things that “make for their peace” are hidden from their eyes. They are blind. (Ref. Acts 10:34-43) Verse 36 says, “The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ – He is Lord of all.” This was truly the opportunity to install the rightful KING over the Jewish “Kingdom”. During the time of Samuel, their forefathers chose to have a king-like other nations. They rejected God as their King. Here was HIS “offering of peace” after they had lived under the rule of their own appointed kings for almost 3000 years (Saul – 2850BC).
Jesus knew what would soon happen to him in Jerusalem. His emotional weeping was not for his own comfort and sacrifice. He was weeping about His people’s hardened hearts, who insisted on living under the rule of kings of men. (Luke 20:14 Jesus prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem which took place in 70CE.) This, I believe, could have been avoided if the people had recognized “the time of their visitation.” If they had received Jesus as their KING…and received HIS KINGDOM, the implication is that Jerusalem may not have been destroyed. However, they rejected the LORD’S peace plan. This left them exposed to living with the results of living their lives out from underneath the covering of the new covenant…exposed to their enemies…helpless in repelling the armies of Titus. (Luke 20:9-18) Jesus continued to prophesy this coming event to the chief priests, scribes and leaders of the people via the Parable of the Vine-dressers. These leaders knew that He was referring to them when He said that they would be answerable to the Owner of the vineyard, and they would be destroyed. Indicated in this story, these leaders knew who Jesus was; but, He was a threat to their “business, gig, livelihood, position, authority, power and influence.” Just like Lucifer was intent on stealing God’s glory, they were intent on stealing God’s vineyard. These leaders knew that they needed to dispose of the Son in order to steal what was rightfully His. This murder was already plotted in their hearts. When Jesus told these leaders that the Owner would come and destroy them, they answered “Certainly Not!” They did not believe Jesus…and Jesus wept over their UNBELIEF. In essence, these leaders called Him a liar. They believed IN God, but refused to believe God…proclaiming the TRUTH to be a lie.
“Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, ‘See how He loved him (Lazarus)!’ And some of them said, ‘Could not this Man who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?’”
Mary had just made the same comment that if only Jesus was there before her brother died… Was it really a correct assessment that Jesus’ heart was hurting because Lazarus had died? Or that He saw how hurt Mary and Martha were by their brother’s death? Was it His love for the family and followers that caused Him to groan in His spirit? All of these folks present had seen Jesus perform miracles of healing and deliverance. In that context, if only HE had gotten to Lazarus while he was alive, Jesus could have healed him. Mary and their friends had witnessed Jesus’ healing power, but had not given any thought to His RESURRECTION POWER. Could it be that he was weeping over His friends’ UNBELIEF? They must have been familiar with the Old Testament stories of Elijah raising the dead. Even though they knew him as Messiah, they did not really understand the limitlessness of Messiah’s power. But, Lazarus had been in the grave for four days…already, his body was starting to decay.
This resurrection act was a demonstration of Him being Lord over all Life because He wanted them to “believe that the Father had sent Him.” He wanted to undergird their faith so that when He went to spend 3 days in the grave, they would have a point of reference that “prophesied” His own resurrection to them. They had actually witnessed Lazarus being raised from the dead. Why should they question the reality of the reports that Jesus had actually been raised from the dead when His time came?
“(Jesus) who , in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to HIM who was able to save Him from death, and was hear because of godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.”
Jesus had instructed the Twelve to not fear those who could kill their bodies, “But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28) His prayers were to be “saved from death”…not from “dying”…not even from dying in horrible pain. Death for all mankind meant bodily decay (e.g. “corruption”). The prophecy (Psalms 16:10) that the Messiah would not suffer the corruption of bodily decay was fulfilled (Acts 13: 37) in the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Could it be that as the Son of Man Jesus was pleading with His Father to sustain him through this first ever resurrection from corruptible to the incorruptible…that the temptation of UNBELIEF would not derail the fulfillment of this prophecy in His life? While in the flesh, Jesus had to deal with the desires of the flesh – chiefly, “self-preservation”. As long as Jesus was in the flesh His Adversary had access to tempt Him. Perhaps Jesus was praying that His own faith would not falter – not being distracted by what was about to happen to his flesh. Perhaps He was asking for sustaining power to hold onto the revelation of His Father’s promise that His body would not see corruption even though it took on all the sins of the world. While the “same” Lazarus was raised from the dead…a glorified Jesus was resurrected with a new body.
QUESTION: What breaks Jesus’ heart?
ANSWER: Our UNBELIEVING hearts.