What does Jesus wept mean (meaning and significance of the phrase)?

When you read the Bible, you will find a few instances in which Jesus Christ wept. This is an interesting observation, as most bible readers wonder what could make the Son of God weep. This is because Jesus was able to prevent whatever would make him sorrowful. This brings us to the question, “what did Jesus wept mean?”

Jesus wept is the shortest verse of the Bible when translated to English, but it carries an immense significance to Jesus, the people around him at the time, and today’s Christians. John 11:35 says, “Jesus wept,” and explains other things. Although the Bible does not precisely tell us what this means, various religious scholars have implied that Jesus wept means that it is okay for us to feel sad and grieve, as it is only our nature.

So, where in the Bible does it say Jesus wept? How many times did Jesus weep in the Bible? How is the phrase ‘Jesus wept’ used in the Bible? What is the significance of the words Jesus wept? What does Jesus’ weeping mean for Christians? Read on to learn the answers to these questions.

Where in the Bible does it say Jesus wept?

The only time that the Bible directly mentions Jesus weeping as two words is in the book of John 11:35. The story behind Jesus’ weeping can be considered a special one, as this was the first time that people had seen him showing his human side.

The story is found in John 11:1-44 and starts when Jesus visited Mary and Martha, who were Lazarus’ sisters, to resurrect Lazarus from the dead. However, when Mary saw Jesus, she wept as she informed Jesus that his brother could only be alive if Jesus himself had been there before his death.

This is because Mary and Martha had sent a word to Jesus early, informing him that their friend Lazarus was dead. Since they knew him, the two sisters expected Jesus to heal their brother from a distance and not let him die. Lazarus had been lying dead in the tomb for four days, and sorrow had built up among those who loved him.

The Bible reveals that when Jesus saw Mary and the Jews who had escorted her weeping, his human spirit was moved and troubled, and that is when he wept. He then proceeded to where Lazarus’ tomb was and commanded for the stone that was at the entrance of Lazarus’ tomb to be rolled away. He prayed to God, commanded Lazarus to come out of the tomb, and Lazarus was resurrected from death.

What does Jesus wept mean?
How many times did Jesus weep in the Bible? See below

How many times did Jesus weep in the Bible?

Although there is only one most commonly known instance in which Jesus wept, bible scholars from Got Question ministries suggest that Jesus wept three times in the Bible. These scholars record Jesus weeping’s in two passages of the gospel books: John 11:1-45, Luke 19:41-44 and Hebrews 5:7.

The first incident in which Jesus wept has already been mentioned above, revealing that he did so after seeing Mary and the Jews in tears. This was because he was finally moved by his earthly emotions, leading his human spirit to be moved and troubled. John 11:35 says, “Jesus wept.”

The second reason Jesus wept is in Luke 19:41-44 where he weeps over Jerusalem. Just as Zachariah had earlier prophesied, Jesus saw the future of Jerusalem and how it would be destroyed with the people in it by their enemies. “He came closer to the city, and when he saw it, he wept over it.” The people of Jerusalem at the time had not accepted Jesus for who he was and even thought that he was an earthly King that had come to save them from Roman rule.

Lastly, bible scholars imply that the third weeping of Jesus is recorded in Hebrews 5:7, where it states that during his life on earth, Jesus usually made his requests and prayers with tears and loud cries to God, with a thought that he would finally save him from the death that he had already planned for him, to save humankind. “In his life on earth, Jesus made his prayers and requests with loud cries and tears to God, who could save him from death. Because he was devoted, God heard him.”

How is the phrase ‘Jesus wept’ used in the Bible?

Most scholars and theologians agree that the phrase Jesus wept was used in the Bible to show Jesus’ human side and his feelings rather than his spiritual side. With this, they have suggested that Jesus actually wept for several reasons, and we have discussed several of them below.

Many bible scholars have implied that Jesus wept mainly because of his compassion toward his friends. Although he left him to die and even buried for four days, Jesus still had compassion for both Lazarus and his sisters, making him weep when he saw them crying.

Theologians from Christ Win ministries also suggest that Jesus wept over his suffering that was coming. While Jesus knew that he would raise his friend Lazarus from the dead, he was already aware that his earthly ministry was coming to an end, and he would face the most painful death. That is why he prayed three times in Gethsemane and even begged God to remove the cup of suffering from him.

Religious scholars have also stipulated that Jesus wept over his disciples’ lack of Faith. When he asked his disciples to accompany him to Judea to bring Lazarus back to life, his disciples hesitated for a while. They even questioned why he wanted to return to a place where he was almost stoned. The disciples had little Faith in him and needed to understand who he was and the powers he carried entirely. Additionally, we see the little Faith in Martha, as she thought that Lazarus would only rise on resurrection day after Jesus informed her that her brother would rise to life, as seen in John 11:20-24. Jesus knew that will their little Faith, they were yet to understand his doings, yet his ministry was almost over.

John Bloom, a bible scholar from the Desiring God organization, also speculates that Jesus probably wept because he knew the consequences of his action of raising Lazarus back to life. Jesus knew that raising Lazarus from the dead would make him more hated by the Pharisees and the Jewish authority. True to his word, the Jewish authority started plotting how they would kill him after hearing of the miracle he had performed, as John 11:53 records.

What does Jesus wept mean?
What is the significance of the phrase Jesus wept? See below

What is the significance of the phrase Jesus wept?

The significance of the phrase Jesus wept was that it finally proved to the people that Jesus had a human nature just like the rest of the people and that he felt the pain everyone was feeling at the moment.

This phrase also had significance in that it assured the people who were present that it was okay to grieve and cry as it was not a sign of weakness. When he wept, the people around him saw how he loved Lazarus rather than painting him as weak.

Why was it necessary that Jesus weep?

According to Bethany Verret from Bible study tools, it was important for Jesus to weep so that the people around him and modern Christians understand that it was okay to be sad and sorrowful, as Jesus fully understands. Jesus wept even though he knew that Lazarus would still finally rise and live.

meaning and significance of the phrase
What does Jesus’ weeping mean for Christians? See below

What does Jesus’ weeping mean for Christians?

Jesus’ weeping has an impactful meaning to Christians today, as it assures the Christians that Jesus knows when we are going through the most challenging times, he is touched by our suffering (tears). He is working towards wiping our tears and bringing joy into our lives again. Just like how he brought Lazarus back to life, he will bring back our happiness.


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