Did Jesus Feel Pain or Sadness?

(John 11:32-37) The story of Lazarus offers an interlude of mourning—and the shortest verse of the Bible.

a year ago   •   2 min read

By Jordan Hopkins

We often compare ourselves to other Christians who seem to have it all together.

We're hard on ourselves if we're not skipping through rainbows and conquering giants each moment.

As well, some may claim you must experience perfect health and success today, or you lack true faith.

But, does this reflect the life of our Lord?

  1. Did Jesus feel pain?
  2. Did He experience sorrow and hardship?
  3. And if so, how did He move through it in faith?

Let's dive back into the story of Lazarus for some clear answers on this!

Stepping into Sadness

Jesus reached the town of Bethany and met-up with those mourning over Lazarus' untimely death.

Like today’s memorials, people have gathered to mourn with Mary and Martha. Our Lord steps into the middle of the sadness and handles the death in an unexpected way...

When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

Jesus wept.

Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

John 11:32-37 (NIV)

A Moment of Mourning

I love John’s use of irony in his Gospel. When the some of the people expressed doubt about “he who opened the eyes of the blind,” the truth is a resounding “YES, Jesus could have kept Lazarus from dying.”

But that wasn’t Jesus’s purpose. He wanted to “awaken” Lazarus and to show His followers that He is indeed the “Resurrection and the Life.”

And sandwiched in the middle of this journey is a moment of mourning.

I imagine our current Christian culture in the above scene. We’d puff up our chests and tell everyone to simmer the heck down. We’d say cheer-up, chin-up, and not to worry because “Lazarus is in a better place.”

Instead, Jesus pauses in this moment. Before the mighty climax of the story, Jesus mourns with everyone else.

Jesus feels pain and sadness here.

Lord over Sadness

The shortest verse of the English Bible says “Jesus wept.

He weeps in response to seeing the pain of others around Him. He mourns with Martha and Mary, the sisters of Lazarus. He cries over the loss of a friend.

The holy Son of God feels humanity’s weight—that “covering cast over all people”—death itself.

This small detail in the Gospel of John is important for a few reasons:

  1. It shows Jesus’s humanity wasn’t some kind of posturing or fake life on this earth. He walked through the same sorrows we face.
  2. It demonstrates, as we will see tomorrow, that He is  Lord over sadness and death. Though death touches each person, Jesus has the final word in the end.
  3. If we are experiencing mourning or deep sadness right now, we know we can fall at His feet like Mary and cry out to Him. He will understand and bring us true comfort—not pithy catch-frees. Our pain is safe with Him because He is the Good King.
"Though death touches each person, Jesus has the final word in the end."

Alright, tomorrow is the climactic ending of the story of Lazarus. ? Please don’t miss it!

Missed a day of the Lazarus story? No worries, I have you covered. Click here for the whole series.

Post photo by Moritz Schumacher on Unsplash

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