John 11:38 “Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.”
This wasn’t Jesus’ tomb, but that of Lazarus, dead by then four days. Why did Jesus groan inside Himself as He approached it? That’s something to ponder.
Jesus knew. He knew who would betray Him. He knew who would abandon and who would deny Him. He also knew what kind of death He Himself would die. And as he approached Lazarus’ burial place, He knew that a tomb like this awaited Him. Soon. In only a few days.
Can we even begin to grasp the depth of anguish Jesus felt in the days and hours leading up to His crucifixion? No, but it behooves us to try.
My first husband died a horrible death from alcoholism. It so stressed his mind and body that blood oozed from his pores. In other words, he “sweat blood.” It does happen.
Jesus was so stricken, in the darkened Garden of Gethsemane the night before the cross, that he sweat blood. It did happen (Luke 22:44).
Here, several days earlier, how must he have felt, walking up to a sealed tomb with a dead man behind the great stone shutting it off, with weeping women around it, sobbing in profound grief? Picture of worse things soon to come.
He knows not only the suffering he is about to endure but also that which they will suffer. All their hopes will be shattered—theirs and the disciples now with Him. He has told them over and over that He must be “lifted up” (John 3:14; 8:28), must “give His life for the sheep” (John 10:11), but He knows they haven’t processed it, haven’t been able to accept it. And they will be blindsided by the deepest throes of dismay and grief possible.
“Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.”
“‘Where have you laid him?’” He asked. They said, “Come and see” (John 11:33-34). After these two verses comes the shortest in the Bible, but one of the most loaded: “Jesus wept.”
Why did He weep? Why did He groan? Because He knew. He knew far more than any of those surrounding Him could begin to bear knowing.
But after He then prayed, He also “cried out with a loud voice” (verse 43). Not the words He would later cry out on the cross, but, “Lazarus, come forth!” Because He also knew that resurrection would follow death and burial.
“And he who had died came out…”