by Pastor Clark G. Armstrong
Marshall Church of the Nazarene
The Statue of the Weeping Jesus is a statue of the crucified Jesus in Mumbai (Bombay) which actually weeps tears down Jesus’ face due to a combination of the elevation, humidity and temperature of where it is located. As I thought about that statue, I was drawn to study the times when Jesus wept as recorded in the scriptures. I found three main times that it said specifically that Jesus cried or wept. There are two other times when the word cry is used of Him more in the sense of shouting out. There is also one time when it says that he was overwhelmed or filled with sorrow. Let’s look at the three particular times that Jesus cried and ask ourselves “What made Jesus cry?” The first time that He cried makes us ask why He cried on one particular day? That one is on the day or time period when his friend Lazarus had died. It was…
I. As a Result of His Grief from the Loss of His Friend Lazarus. John 11:35 simply says that “Jesus wept.” It is the shortest Bible verse. But it could make a Five Point Sermon: 1. It showed that he was human. 2. He identified with us in every way. 3. He knew the pain of grief. 4. He was not afraid to show his emotions. 5. He loved so deeply. The second passage about Jesus crying makes us ask why did He cry on an everyday regular basis? It has to do with His life of intercession. He cried…
II. As a Part of His Daily Prayers and Petitions to His Father. Hebrews 5:7 says, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.” There are three distinctive things about Jesus’ prayers that are mentioned here: they were Daily, Fervent, and with Reverent Submission. There are Four Kinds of Prayer: Contemplative Prayer, Conversational Prayers, Conventional Prayers, and Cries (crying out to God in prayer). It is the latter kind that is being referred to in this passage. Jesus likely offered all four of these prayers, but we are made to know that he offered the deep heartfelt kind daily “with fervent cries and tears.” It is in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46) where scripture accounts that he was filled with sorrow. One question that we are left to ask is “In what sense can we say that he was heard when he wasn’t granted his request?” It is in the sense that God helped him through His troubles (the cross event) rather than lifted him out of them (it). The third thing that made Jesus cry makes us ask “Why did He cry on the happiest day?” It is connected with the events of Palm Sunday when it says that He went to a lookout point over the city and wept. Why did He weep at that moment when all the city was declaring Him to be God’s Anointed One and their expected Coming King?
III. For the Lost Ones who will Not Receive Him as Their Lord and King in spite of His Sacrificial Death for Them. This narrative can be found in Luke 19:37-44. The verse that says that He cried or wept is verse 41. There are actually three stories in Luke 19. It starts with the account about Zacchaeus the Tax Collector which ends by saying (10), “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” The second one is The Parable of the Ten Minas. It is like the parable of the talents where one servant is given ten, another five and another two or just one. But in this parable, the nobleman is going away to receive a kingdom and ten servants are each given one mina to manage while he is gone. The subjects of the kingdom do not want Him to be made king when He gets there, but He eventually is made king in that place anyway.
A key idea here is the idea of a kingdom and the king. The third story is this one: Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King (Palm Sunday). It ends with verses 37-40. The key verses are 38 & 40: 38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (similar to what the angels declared at the time of Jesus’ birth.) 40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” Then comes the passage where Jesus weeps over the City of Jerusalem (verses 41-44). He is weeping over the Jewish people. He is crying because of all of those who will not accept His atoning sacrificial death on the cross of Calvary for our salvation (those who will not recognize Him as king in their lives). He weeps as he prophesies the things that were to happen when the Roman Emperor Titus would come in 70 A.D. with his legions and destroy the city and the temple, and its people would be dispersed as a result of God’s judgment. Isaiah 53:3 (KJV) describes Him as a man of sorrows acquainted with grief [pain]. It ends that chapter by saying (verse 12b) “For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
The last act of Jesus’ earthly life is chronicled in Mark 15:37 where it says, “With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.” There is no getting around the fact that people who love deeply often cry. People who love deeply feel the pain of loss. People who love deeply pray fervently. People who love deeply weep often for their loved ones and for the world that God loves so. You cannot love deeply without crying. It’s unavoidable.