Isaiah 53:3 tells us Jesus was a man of sorrows and well aware of grief. The scripture goes further telling us in verse 4 that He has borne our griefs, He carried our sorrows. In John 11, we find this on display as Jesus has to complete a mission for the Father that He cannot share with anyone. In the process, He will deny his loved ones service that He can provide in order to prove himself, to give the people another confirmation of Jesus’ messiahship. As He says in verse 15, He was glad for their sake that He was not there. His happiness is founded in a great many things.
First, that He would not save Lazarus through healing instead of letting him die. This would have eliminated the opportunity to show He is the resurrection and the life, this time not only words but actions would testify for Him. True, as with the Centurian’s servant, Jesus did not have to be present to heal Lazarus. Jesus was never one to say one thing and do another. Jesus was also one to act in order to exemplify His testimony. This action however had teeth that would bite the Savior as much as it would the people. It also had an amazing blessing, the joy of providing life to one and sharing life with others He dearly loved. Though sorrow marked the days prior to this event, joy and elation would be the salve that soothes the sores of sorrow.
Second, the temptation to take action amongst great ridicule, peer pressure and great turmoil would be tremendous. That Jesus, whom they have seen repeatedly heal strangers and others simply because of their faith, they were displaying this same faith and would ask why He would not heal Lazarus. He’s happy He did not have to endure those challenges. These are temptations we cannot fathom. Though many of us see opportunities to bless others and miss them, consider the great turmoil in the Savior knowing He can heal a loved one, yet purposefully having to wait to fulfill the command of His Father (Jn 11:37).
Third, that He could distance himself from further emotional turmoil. As noted above, this must have been a most trying time for Christ, yet in the face of this pressure He remains steadfast and focused (Jn 11:6). He was already suffering enough, in His absence He could take pleasure in ministering to others easing the pain in His heart for Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Concentrating on being able to love and minister to others would certainly help ease the pain of this immense challenge.
Is there any wonder Jesus wept. Remember Isaiah 53:4, He bore all that grief. He continually bears that grief as people die daily in sin, condemned. We mourn our dead, the loss develops a hole in our lives. Each eternal loss makes a whole in God’s eternal kingdom. God already died for their sins, they could be with Him if they only believed in the Son. When we consider our losses on earth, consider the Savior who died for the sins of the whole world, what does He regularly loose?