John 11:35; Heb. 5:7; Luke 19:41

By David J. Riggs

   A. There are three occasions in the N.T. where it is stated that  
      Jesus shed tears.
   B. All three occasions have their own deep significance.
      1. They prove that Jesus was a "man of sorrows and acquainted
         with grief" as was foretold by the prophets (Isa. 53:3).
      2. They prove the humanity of Jesus. As well as being God, He
         was a human being like you and I. He shed tears, as all
         humans do from time to time.
   C. People who weep do not generally have much of a following.
      1. People are looking for laughter and lightheartedness        
         instead. An old poem says, "Laugh and the whole world laughs
         with you. Weep and you weep alone."

   A. The tears of Jesus on this occasion, as we already said, prove 
      the humanity of Jesus. 
   B. You wouldn't think that man would have problems regarding this,
      but they have.
      1. Gnosticism - "All flesh is evil; therefore, Jesus did not   
         come in the flesh. (2 John 7)
      2. The book of John, which main theme is the Deity of Jesus,
         also shows that He was very much a human being like you
         and I.
         a. John 4:6-7; 11:33,35; 19:28 - Thus, he was subject to
            weariness, pain, misery death, etc., as all humans are.
         b. John 1:14 - "The word "flesh" has various meanings in
            the N.T., but here it has reference to human nature.
            (1) John shows that the divine and human nature of
                Christ became fully united.
            (2) The relation of the two natures to one another will
                forever remain a mystery, far above our              
                comprehension, but a better explanation cannot be
                found than in the Council of Chaledon: "We, then,
                following the holy Fathers, all with one consent,
                teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord  
                Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also   
                perfect in be acknowledged in two       
                natures unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly,     
                inseparably...the distinction of natures being by no 
                means taken away by the union, but rather the        
                property of each nature being preserved, and         
                concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not    
                parted or divided into two persons, but one and the  
                same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord  
                Jesus Christ..." (N.T. Commentary on John, by William
                Hendriksen, p. 84)
      3. Not only does the expression, "Jesus wept" show that He
         was a human being, but it shows that He was a person of
         tenderness and compassion.
         a. Example: It shows His love for Lazarus, Martha and
            Mary. (John 11:5,36)
         b. More importantly, it shows that He will likewise have
            sympathy for us. (Heb. 4:15-16)
         c. He came to bind up the broken hearted. (Luke 4:18-19).
         d. He invites all to come to Him for consolation and rest.
            (Matt. 11:28-30; Rev. 3:20)
   C. We need to be more and more like Jesus. (1 Peter 2:21)
      1. We need to sympathize with those in trouble. (Rom. 12:15; 1
         Cor. 12:25-26)
      2. Jesus did more than weep and we ought to do what we can
         to dry the tears of others (1 John 3:17)

   ANGUISH." (Heb. 5:5-9)
   A. Without doubt, this has reference to the events in the garden  
      of Gethsemane.
      1. Matthew's account - Matt. 26:36-45
      2. Luke describes more fully the agony of that occasion. (Luke
      3. The Hebrew writer adds the matter of tears. (Heb. 5:7)
   B. Some have trouble understanding this behavior of Jesus. In     
      other words, "Why would He shed tears at all if He were God, a 
      diving Being?"
      1. We must not forget that Jesus was fully human as well as
      2. As a man, facing the cross would give the hardest mental
         anguish that any human being had ever known.
      3. His willingness to redeem fallen man, and His unfailing
         determination to do the will of the Father, led Him to      
         calmly drink the bitter cup of the cross.
      4. Also, as a divine person, He knew of the glory that was
         beyond the cross. (Heb. 12:2)
   C. Thus, a weeping Jesus, learned obedience by the things which he
      suffered and became the author of eternal salvation of all who
      obey Him.
      1. His tears could not substitute for His own obedience. Even
         the tears of His own Son, did not cause God to change His
      2. Our tears cannot substitute for our obedience (Matt. 7:21; 2
         Thess. 1:7-9)
      3. Jesus' tears show that the pathway of obedience is not      
         always easy.
      4. Also, the example of Jesus gives us strength. We need to
         look unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. (Heb.

   (Luke 19:41-44)
   A. As the city lies before Him, stretched out before His view, the
      Master's prophetic eye beholds a sharp contrast: on the one    
      hand a beautiful city and on the other a smoldering, hideous   
      ruin, thousands upon thousands of the city's inhabitants doomed
      to death.
      1. Bursting into tears Jesus laments   vs. 42. 
      2. But, up to now the opposite course had been followed.
         Instead of penitence there had been hardening; instead of
         conversion, apostasy. 
         a. Certainly, it was not due to His lack of concern for
            them. (Matt. 23:37)
         b. They did not recognize the season when God in His
            grace visited them.
         c. As always, when sinners harden themselves, God, in
            turn, will pour out His wrath upon them.
            (1) An embankment - To go over the wall.
            (2) Surround you and close you in on every side - This
                left no room for any to escape. Many of those who
                tried to flee were killed.
            (3) Annihilation of population - A horrible blood-bath.
            (4) Not one stone upon another - Complete demolition
                of the city. (See Josephus, History of Jewish War,
                Book VI, p. 271; Book VII, p. 1-3).
   B. Surely, if the Lord were here today, instead of rejoicing, He
      would be weeping about the condition of the people. 
      1. Even the door of grace is not entirely closed, but He,
         through the eye of prophecy, could see it rapidly closing.
         a. Many today are not interested in saving their souls.
         b. They are not interested in coming to the Lord. They
            could, but they will not. 
         c. Surely the Lord would be grieved over the indifference
            He sees in the church.
            (1) There is indifference toward His authority. There is
                much division in the brotherhood which has crippled  
                us as a strong force in converting                   
                demoninationalists. (Eph. 4:3).
            (2) There is indifference toward His worship. There is
                much formality. (Matt. 15:8)
            (3) There is indifference toward lost souls. We lack the
                zeal of the early church. (Acts 8:4). Jehovah's
                Witnesses and Mormons put us to shame.
      2. The promised vengeance upon the wicked is coming. (Heb.
         a. We are in the period of longsuffering now, but someday
            the longsuffering of God will run out (Rom. 2:4-5)

   A. The tears of Jesus.
      1. We see Jesus weeping at the tomb of Lazarus. These were
         "tears of sympathy."
         a. He likewise sympathizes with us. (Heb. 4:15-16)
      2. We see Jesus weeping in the garden of Gethsemane. These
         were "tears of anguish" (as He faced dying on the cross).
         a. "Though he were a Son..."  (Heb. 5:8-9)
      3. We see Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. These were "tears of
         sorrow" (as He thought of their impenitence and of God's
         vengeance upon them).
         a. Surely the Lord is weeping regarding the condition of
            many today.
         b. Even today the door of grace is not entirely closed, but
            the day is coming when it will be closed forever.
            (1) Let us take advantage of our day of peace, our day
                when God's visitation is upon us for good.
            (2) Jesus shed tears. Let us let those tears soften our

Chart #1:
John 11:32-44 - "Tears of Sympathy"

Shows the humanity of Jesus - John 1:14; 4:6-7; 19:28

A person of tenderness and compassion - Heb. 4:15-16; Luke 4:18-19;
Matt. 11:28-30

Jesus set the example - 1 Pet. 2:21; Rom. 12:15

Chart #2:
Heb. 5:5-9 - "Tears of Anguish"

Agony in the garden of Gethsemane - Matt. 26:36-45; Luke 22:41-46

Why would He shed tears at all?
   Hardest mental anguish
   Redeem fallen man
   Joy set before Him

Became the author of eternal salvation
   Tears no substitute for obedience
   Not always easy
   Gives us strength

Chart #3:
Luke 19:41-44 - "Tears of Sorrow" (about others)

Grieving over their impenitence - Matt. 23:37

Grieving because God's destruction was coming upon them
   Gross impenitence
   Gross indifference
   God's vengeance