Re: John 11:35

Date: Thu Jun 18 1998 - 10:48:14 EDT

George Athas wrote:
> Edgar Foster wrote:
> > You may well be right. To play the devil's advocate, however, some
> > might say that those persons mentioned in 11:36 mis-interpreted Jesus'
> > tears. THEY said that Jesus wept out of his love (FILOS) for Lazarus.
> > But could they not have misunderstood the weeping of Jesus?
> Of course there is always that possibility. But considering the circumstances, it makes sense that
> Jesus is upset that Lazarus died at all. His weeping is an obvious sign of that, and probably gives
> rise to the interpretation of the 'others' who probably saw Jesus weeping for a friend that they
> think he could have saved. In other words, they are saying that Jesus' grief is deserved because he
> didn't come to Lazarus' aid when he could have. It's a "serves him right" type of attitude, which
> inevitably moves Jesus to anger.

George and Edgar ~

I weep too... Don't you as well? There is some merit in an emotional
approach to understanding this passage, for if we can weep with Jesus
and thereby enter the drama of the narration, perhaps even bringing
the translation a step forward toward the vivid historical present
[but not quite] and read it "Jesus weeps", then maybe this little
sentence can come clear.

I would tend to look to the antecedents of 11:35 to understand the
weeping of Jesus, and to me the great mystery of this passage is that
it immediately follows "KYRIE ERQOU KAI IDE", in response to Jesus
question "Where have you laid him?", which in turn is preceeded by
Jesus groaning in Spirit and being troubled, following rebuke by Mary.

The very idea that anyone should tell Jesus 'IDE', and especially Mary
and Martha, who have already misunderstood Jesus' relationship to
Lazarus [philos vs agape] and that after reproaching Jesus for not
coming earlier. gave me reason to weep, for Mary and Martha are the
very best that Israel has produced, and even they do not understand
what Jesus is doing.

I weep too...

Jesus sees and knows and beholds [IDE], and is not understood, and
sees the result of this failure, and it troubles him, and he weeps.
Mary is the annointer of his feet [11:2 etc], and carries that
authority, and Lazarus is the final sign in the John gospel. And Mary
and Martha still do not understand...

Having Jesus weep for Lazarus makes no sense to me whatsoever... I
really see him weeping for the fact that those who are most intimately
involved with him are not 'getting it'. The implications for Israel
are clear, but I do not believe Jesus weeps for Israel either, because
He knows what will happen on that issue... He weeps for Mary and
Martha... And perhaps for their 'ministry' at Bethany...

This passage also seems to render well with reading it as
'compassionate weeping', or empathic weeping, which is easily
misunderstood as well by others as to its object, as did the Jews in
the following verse, who understood it as the weeping of a guilty
person at the consequence of His laxity... Which is utterly not the

George Blaisdell

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