JESUS: Jesus Wept, by John Chrysostom

Jesus wept

From Homilies of Chrysostom

Jesus wept.

Seest thou that he had not as yet shown any sign of the raising, and goeth not as if to raise Lazarus, but as if to weep? For the Jews show that he seemed to them to be going to bewail, not to raise him; at least they said,

Behold how he loved him! And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died? (John 11:35-37)

Not even amid calamities did they relax their wickedness. Yet what he was about to do was a thing far more wonderful; for to drive away death when it hath come and conquered, is far more than to stay it when coming on. They therefore slander him by those very points through which they ought to have marveled at his power. They allow for the time that he opened the eyes of the blind, and when they ought to have admired him on account of that miracle, they, by means of this latter case, cast a slur upon it, as though it had not even taken place. And not from this only are they shown to be all corrupt, but because when he had not yet come, nor exhibited any action, they prevent him with their accusations without waiting the end of the matter. Seest thou how corrupt was their judgment?

He cometh then to the tomb; and again rebuketh his feelings. Why doth the Evangelist carefully in several places mention that “He wept,” and that, “He groaned”?  That thou mayest learn that he had of a truth put on our nature. For when this Evangelist is remarkable for uttering great things concerning Christ more than the others, in matters relating to the body, here he also speaketh much more humbly than they. For instance, concerning his death he hath said nothing of the kind; the other Evangelists declare that he was exceedingly sorrowful, that he was in an agony; but John, on the contrary, saith, that he even cast the officers backwards. So that he hath made up here what is omitted there, by mentioning his grief. When speaking of his death, Christ saith, “I have power to lay down my life,” and then he uttereth no lowly word; therefore at the Passion they attribute to him much that is human, to show the reality of the dispensation. And Matthew proves this by the agony, the trouble, the trembling, and the sweat; but John by his sorrow. For had he not been of our nature, he would not once and again have been mastered by grief. What did Jesus? He made no defense with regard to their charges; for why should he silence by words those who were soon to be silenced by deeds? a means less annoying, and more adapted to shame them.


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