Jesus Wept

I really haven’t understood much of this Lazarus story, but this I understand; Jesus wept when he witnessed Mary’s sorrow. I imagined this scene in my mind, and felt Jesus’ great compassion in witnessing and knowing of another’s sorrow. It seemed to be his tender heart actually feeling the overwhelming grief that Mary and Martha and their friends felt, and he wanted to bring solace and comfort to these friends who were in such pain. This is the hallmark of compassion.

One of my favorite mystics, Mechtild of Magdeburg wrote:

“When you drink the waters of sorrow
You shall kindle the fire of love.”

This part of the Lazarus story touches me deeply, and reminds me of a time when I once had a terrible loss. Several months following my loss, I saw a friend who had not heard. When I shared with her the sad events that had taken place, she immediately welled with tears; she was able to so quickly comprehend and share my sorrow. We talked for a while, me mostly, while she listened with an acute empathy that was so loving. I was overcome with gratitude for her natural ability to deeply understand to some degree the pain I was feeling. Her compassion was tangible, and with it she brought me much solace that mere words from others had been unable to reach. I feel a special bond with this friend that remains to this day.

In this Lazarus story, I have been trying hard to comprehend the resurrection, the miracle if you will, wondering all the while, what are we to learn from it? What meaning does Jesus resurrecting a deceased person have for our lives today? Our loved ones will surely not be resurrected, even though we may want to believe it might be possible. If I consider this story from a mythological standpoint, it begins to read and sit a little differently for me. In mythology, this could happen, and embedded within the story is a lesson to be learned or an experience to identified with.

Mythologically speaking, Lazarus’s resurrection speaks to me of an eternal dimension, where it is possible that time does not exist, death is not forever, and dreams really do come true… In this dimension, fate could be altered, God ‘always’ hears us, and for ‘he that believed in me’ anything is possible. Perhaps this is the supernaturalism Crystal writes about. It must occur in a different dimension than the one we live in, because anyone who has suffered great loss knows that just praying or wishing it could be different does not make it so.

So, back to what are we to learn? What is the take-home message? I would say it might be this: When Jesus says, “I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believed in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die,” we are given a powerful message. I read that in this sense resurrection indicates the elevation of consciousness from lower to higher states, especially from identifying as a personality and a body to a kind of superconsciousness such as Jesus had. Even if a person is physically or spiritually dead, their soul, not identified with bodily life or ego, remains very much alive, especially in the hearts of those who loved them, indeed of God, and in this way they are elevated in spiritual consciousness.

As I think about my experience, it is rare that when someone dies, I only remember my pain or how awful it was. This seems true for others, too. Don’t we always seem to elevate the person who passed, almost holding them as if on a pedestal to look up to and remember fondly? Even if we do not initially feel this way, time has a way of softening our memories, easing our pain, bringing peace and closure to losses of all kinds. This is true in my experience. For this, I am very grateful, and have been truly blessed. This is a compassionate God who walks the ground of our Being – nurturing both inner and outer compassion. This is the gift we give to one another, and to ourselves. It truly kindles the fires of love.


6 responses

  1. Hi Meredith :-). I was touched by Jesus weeping too. That is the part of him I like best – his compassion. I’m sorry for your past loss. My mom died three years ago and my sister and I are still trying to come to terms with the suffering she endured and her loss to us.You said …Our loved ones will surely not be resurrected, even though we may want to believe it might be possible. … I think this is actually the christian teaching – that everyone will be resurrected after death. I can’t say I absolutelu believe it, but I have hopes 🙂

  2. Oops! Sorry – I said it was the christian teaching that people will be resurrected, but maybe it’s only a catholic thing?

  3. Hi Crystal,Re: resurrection, I was referring to being brought back to life right in front of us – like Lazarus was. This isn’t in my experiential repetoire.My heart goes out to you, as well. Recovery from a loss can be so arduous. Most often, there is just no quick way through it. When my baby died, friends told me, “It (the grieving) just takes as long as it takes.” My father died in January, and this loss is still so very fresh. However, his passing was peaceful and his suffering was not long. Now and then, I look up to his picture, and I just well with tears. I miss him, as you do your mom. May this sorrow continue to soften us and bring us to deeper compassion for others.For me, there is only resurrection for these precious ones in my own heart. And now, with times passing, this is finally enough.

  4. Merdith, ah, I see what you mean about resurrecting. So sorry that you lost your baby – I can barely imagine how painful that would be. I think you’re right, there is no timetable for grieving.

  5. Resurrection of the living and the dead is a basic Christina teaching — though various folk interpret it differently.Note that Lazarus and others raised by Jesus were not resurrected. They died again.There si the promise of resuurection to eternal life (and also to judgment) that scripture witnesses to and for which Jesus’ resurrection stands as a kind of promise for.Then there are the mini-resurrections that pepper our lives and point to the power of God’s spirit — they act as reminders that as much as we like to mange outr lives the final fruits of our labours are in God’s hands.

  6. It seems alot of people see this differently, I however studied it and even shared differences with my daughter, the fact that Jesus wept is not because he was sharing a sorrow, why should He? He was there to bring back Lazarus from the dead. In the Mcarthur commentary bible it says he was angry at their unbelief that He is able to bring back the dead, In the King James version Jesus “groaned” the greek meaning of groan is to be troubled, upset and or angry, at this point one can apply it to their life how they see fit, I apply according to the Word, He wept because He was upset with them end of story .

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