We see the spontaneous reaction of Jesus when he joins the sisters of his dead friend Lazarus in an emotional union , in Jn 11:32-35:

When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus began to weep.

In flashback, we see Jesus delaying his visit to Bethany in spite of having been told that Lazarus was ill :

After having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. - (Jn 11:6).

We also see Martha complaining to Jesus for his absence:

Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.(Jn 11: 21)

Now, reading all the things together, one wonders as to why Jesus who had foreseen the death of Lazarus and then came over to bring him back to life, joined his sisters and friends in lamenting for him. Is it that he had stayed away at the time of Lazarus's death with a purpose, as he says to his disciples in Jn 11: 14-15 :

Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

My question therefore is: Was the weeping of Jesus in Jn 11:35 an integral part of the divine scheme of things involving the death and resurrection of Lazarus? To be more specific, was Jesus abiding by the Will of the Father by staying away from Lazarus for four days ? What do the teachings of Catholic Church say on the weeping of Jesus prior to the resurrection of Lazarus ?

  • He might have wept because of unbelieve in him not because he missed Lazarus. Similarly, when he wept over Jerusalem: Jesus wept because of Jerusalem's hardness of heart, their rejection, and their disbelief.
    – Grasper
    Commented Jun 24, 2021 at 16:13

1 Answer 1


When one is a father with a daughter, one can understand weeping when knowing everything is alright, but weeping because one's daughter is hurting, even if she doesn't understand. That's why Jesus feeling the hurt of Mary weeped.

The divine scheme of things is that Jesus' weeping shows that God feels our every pain and hurts with us. A side note is some times we need to wait in our suffering for God's purpose to be fulfilled. In Martha and Mary's case, Jesus waited longer than three days because the Jews thought it impossible to bring a person back to life after three days. No one had ever done this before. Jesus showed he is "the resurrection and the life."

Here is a full discussion to a similar question: https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/1635/in-john-1135-how-and-why-did-jesus-weep/31587#31587

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