Saturday, December 10, 2016

Why did Jesus weep when Mary was upset that he was not there when Lazarus died? John 11:35

John 11:35 Jesus wept. 

Why did Jesus weep?  As we read in John chapter 11, Jesus was troubled and wept after Mary had come falling at his feet in grief saying:
John 11:32 Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died."
The near automatic response to why Jesus wept is that he was also sad that Lazarus had died. But there may be another better reason that is hidden in the teaching for this chapter.

If you examine this chapter, its focus is to teach that those believing in Jesus will never die, but be will be risen on the last day (see v24,25,26,27,40,42,45...). Jesus knew Lazarus was dead but had called this sleep (v11). He would not likely be sad for someone that was not dead. Is there another reason he would be sad?

Consider reading the story with the possible understanding that Jesus wept because he was sad and troubled people did not yet understand what he had taught them. He was weeping for those that did not yet believe and very possibly because, they believed when he was there, but lost their belief when he was gone. I came up with this possibility after looking at the Bible's like referenced verses for chapter and verse 11:35.

I'm writing this post to again demonstrate the power of using the Bible's like referenced verses to gain a better understanding of any verse in scripture. Like referenced verses contain at least a small thread of common meaning running through all of them. By discerning a common theme, we can use it to help us understand or confirm the meaning of any verse we are looking at. In this case, John 11:35 "Jesus Wept".

Below I have listed all the Bible's 11:35 verses and have taken some time to ponder over them looking for a common meaning.  After my short analysis, I believe a strong clue to the answer is in these verses. Note how the underlined statements speak of something that was learned or achieved or was lost or taken away.  In each case, people had something, but it was now gone.
Lev 11:35 '…on which part of their carcass may fall becomes unclean;…they are unclean and shall continue as unclean to you.
Judg 11:35 … daughter! You have brought me very low,…for I have given my word to the LORD, and I cannot take it back."
1Kin 11:35 but I will take the kingdom from his son's hand and give it to you, even ten tribes.
Dan 11:35 "Some of those who have insight will fall, in order to refine, purge and make them pure until the end time;…
Luke 11:35 "Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness.
Heb 11:35 Women received back their dead by resurrection;..others were tortured…so they might obtain a better resurrection;
When you examine these verses it is very quickly observed that three of them speak of taking things back (Judges, Romans, Hebrews). This is not such a common expression that you would expect it to be found in a small set of random verses taken from scripture, so it is a fair clue about a possible common aspect to the theme of these verses. Next, we look to see if this clue somehow applies to the other verses in the set? It takes some analysis, but eventually I conclude that the other verses also speak of things going from clean to unclean or from light to dark (Lev, 1Kings, Daniel, Luke). It seems the common thread of meaning in these verses is about someone going from believing to unbelief or from clean to unclean. How might this apply to the Lazarus story?

Why did Jesus weap?  I believe it was because Jesus had taught both Mary and Martha and other disciples that those who believed in him would not die. They exclaimed that they did believe this. But now, when Jesus was not with them, they had lost that confidence or belief in what Jesus had taught them. It seems to be that Jesus was sad and troubled at their unbelief.

Of course, I might be incorrect in my analysis and each person can evaluate this possibility on their own. More importantly my purpose was to explain and give a good example of how the Bible's numbering perfection and Like Referenced Verses is a valuable tool in our Bible study. This blog has many other examples and explanations of how Like Referenced Verses can be used. I hope you get a chance to explore them yourself the next time you need to gain deeper understanding about a verse of scripture.


NOTE: The following three 11:35 verses were not part of my analysis because they are more difficult to discern how they might share a common theme. When I look at like referenced verses, there are always a few that I find I can't attribute to a similar theme. I accept this as a normal aspect to all patterns I look at. 30% or so do not fit.
Num 11:35 From Kibroth-hattaavah the people set out for Hazeroth, and they remained at Hazeroth.
Neh 11:35 Lod and Ono, the valley of craftsmen.
1Chr 11:35 Ahiam the son of Sacar the Hararite, Eliphal the son of Ur,

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