[b]When Yeshua Wept[/b]
[i]by Asher Intrater[/i]
Scriptures record three times that Yeshua (Jesus) wept. From these passages we can learn something of His heart and something for our own spiritual life.
Victory over Death
The first instance is when Yeshua arrives at the tomb of Lazarus. He felt the sadness of death over all his friends and relatives.
John 11:33, 35-6
When Yeshua saw her [Miriam, Lazarus' sister] weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.
Then the Jews said, "See how He loved him!"
Yeshua wept as He confronted the powers of death and sin of mankind. He felt compassion for mankind's predicament. The fact that Yeshua knew He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead did not prevent Him from feeling the pain and sadness of those around him.
Lazarus' situation is not different from all human beings, as we have all fallen under the power of death. God's love is deep enough for all of us, that God Himself weeps at our sin. It was this love that motivated Yeshua to go to the cross, the grave and hell itself in order to rescue us.
Destiny of Jerusalem
The second incident in which Yeshua wept is at His entrance to Jerusalem. Although Yeshua was born in Bethlehem to fulfill prophecy, raised as a child in Nazareth, and based His ministry in Kfar Nahum (Capernaum), He considered Jerusalem to be His city, the center of His kingdom. Jerusalem is the city of the great King (Psalm 48:2); and Yeshua is that great King of that city.
As He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying,
"If you had known
the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.
Days will come when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you
And level you and your children within you to the ground... because you did not know the time of your visitation."
I am often asked why it is so hard for Jews, particularly Orthodox religious Jews to receive Yeshua as Lord. I reply that one reason is simply our sin spiritual pride, hypocrisy, stubbornness, etc. All human beings have sinned, and we Jews are certainly included in that.
There is also a particular challenge, taking into consideration the difficult history between the "Church" and the Jews. Much of the Christian faith over the past 2,000 years was wrongly presented in an anti-Semitic context, to such a degree that many Jews associate European anti-Semitism and even the genocide of the Nazi Holocaust with Christianity.
However in this passage, we see another secret reason in the sovereignty of God. The gospel was "hidden" from our eyes for a divine purpose. In Romans 11, Saul (Paul) explains that the Jewish people were purposely blinded in part in order to allow the gospel of salvation to spread to the Gentiles. It is part of God's mysterious plan to bring partnership in the end times between Jews and Christians (Ephesians 2:11 3:9). The veil of blindness concerning the gospel is to be lifted from our eyes as Christians begin to pray for Israel (Romans 9:1-3, 10:1, 11:25).
Yeshua not only loves Jerusalem as a city, He loves the people that live there
That's right the descendants of the very people who rejected Him; who are in fact His own relatives. He referred to the Temple in Jerusalem as "My Father's House" (John 2:16). When He returns, He will destroy all the nations who came to attack Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:1-14).
Urgency of Prayer
The third passage that shows Yeshua weeping concerns His daily prayer life.
In the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear.
Even though Yeshua was the Son of God, He lived like any human being. He had to live by faith. He was attacked by the world, the flesh and the devil. He was tempted on the one hand and had people trying to kill Him on the other. He prayed with intensity (James 5:16-17). He was keenly aware of the spiritual battles and dangers around Him. Nothing was taken for granted.
If He had to pray fiercely, energetically, even with tears, in order to walk in holiness and godliness in this lifetime, how much more should we! Prayer to Him was a matter of life and death on a DAILY basis. This should stir us to a new urgency and energy in our own prayer life.
These three passions that caused Yeshua to weep saving mankind from death; establishing the kingdom in Jerusalem; and fervent intercessory prayer should be the passions of our life as well.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon