11:31 The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there.

32 When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. 34 He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus began to weep.

36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

Something more than just Jesus being sad is going on here.

In verse 33, when Jesus is confronted with the heart-break Mary expresses at the death of her brother, John writes that

Jesus was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved.

There are two important words in this short statement. The Greek word translated “greatly disturbed” in embrimomai. It only appears five times in the whole New Testament. Two of these occurrences are here in the story of Lazarus. One of the other places this word appears is in Mark 14:5 where an unidentified woman in the home of Simon the leper anoints Jesus’ head with “costly perfume of nard”. Some who witness this extravagant act of devotion “spoke against her with embrimomai (“offense”). They are offended by this anonymous woman’s behaviour. The word carries a sense of indignation much more than sorrow. Jesus is indignant in the face of his friend’s death.

Jesus is also said in this encounter with Mary to have been “deeply moved”. The Greek word is tarasso. It means agitated, troubled or stirred up.

There seems to be something in the events unfolding around Lazarus that have caused Jesus to be deeply offended and to feel profoundly upset. Jesus is offended by human mortality.

Paul called death an “enemy” (I Corinthians 15:26). There is no doubt, this is the way it feels. The separation that appears to be caused by physical death seems unnatural and wrong. According to Genesis death is a fissure in the fabric of creation (Genesis 2:17). It was never part of the original design. Death was introduced into the fabric of the human condition in response to the self-will of human beings.

Jesus is standing on the edge of this broken reality. Although, he knows there is life beyond physical death, he remains deeply disturbed that the tragedy of death has become a necessary part of the human journey.

What gives me hope that there is a reality beyond the reality of physical death?