JESUS: He Weeps, by M. G. J. Beets

Jesus weeps

From The Wordless Voice

Jesus wept.

The Jews then said: “Look how he has loved him.”

Some of them said: “Could this man who has opened the eyes of a blind man not have done something so that Lazarus would not have died?”

(John 11:35-37)


We assume, as a consequence of our approach to the gospel as a philosophical text of the highest importance which we are trying to understand in depth, that there is nothing we are told about Christ that does not have a special significance.

In the verses 11:33 and 35 we are told that Jesus is distressed and that he weeps.  These words certainly mean that Christ shares with us our human emotion of grief and so, that he weeps becuase someone he loves has died and because of his strong empathy with Mary and Martha.  He is, in this, one of us, a human being in the intuitive world.  If they would have no other meaning than this, we could read them without much further thought.  In that case, they would belong entirely to the intuitive world in which the grief about the death of a loved one and the tears it makes us shed are the effects of the unbearable distress caused by the apparent absence of the beloved and by the memory of years and events spent together in happiness or sorrow that seem to be lost in the nothingness of the past, and the terrible loneliness caused by both.

But, as we are assuming here, these few words have not been written as a mere description of an event in the course of Saint John’s account of the resurrection of Lazarus, but they must point towards a quite different and more fundamental meaning of grief.  In this sense, grief, the continued awareness of an unsettling absence, is the bond by which we remain linked to the object of our love that only seems to be lost to us, the bond by which we are constantly reminded of the imperishable nature of true love as a universal force driving all being towards, and maintaining, unity, and of the ability of the trivial thing called “death” to sever the bond between us and the object of our love because both we and that object are, in our love and so, in the true freedom we share, eternal, necessary existents belonging together in a single, inseverable unity.

In this sense, grief is not only the subjective emotion in which it may or may not show itself, but, like our awareness of the inner voice of reason, it is a mystical experience, an experience that is not meant and should not be allowed to fade away in the course of passing time, during the remainder of our life.  Grief will gradually reveal itself as what it truly is, a consequence of the longing for the ultimate restoration of the unity with the beloved, the unity that seemed to be lost in death as the severing principle and then turned out to be strengthened and purified by death as the united principle.

If we consider the nature of grief in this light, we understand that our attempt to console a person in his loss and loneliness should only be born from our empathy; in our words of consolation we should try to make him feel that we share his grief and that, in this, we are one with him, and so to alleviate his feeling of abandonment.

But any attempt, by means of word or argument, to take his grief away or to make him believe that it is sinful, can rob him of that which is most valuable to him, the link between him and the object of his love, and tends to harm him and to increase the depth of his loneliness.

And so, Christ’s distress and his tears for the death of Lazarus are the visible signs of his consoling empathy with the grief of Martha and Mary, but beyond this, they are meant to give us, living anywhere and “anywhen” in the intuitive world, the certainty that death is impotent and unimportant, that it cannot sever the bond of true love, that the grief that ought to be with us during the rest of our life, binds us to the lost one in the unity of true love even after we have come to realize fully that the loss is but an apparent and transient one.

This is also the meaning of the resurrection of Lazarus; a visible event symbolizing for the intuitive minds of the spectators the nature of Lazarus as an eternal, necessary being which physical death cannot destroy.

 

 

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