After setting the stage the first part of the chapter presents the divine purpose in this event. Jesus has a clear picture of how things will play out: “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” v.4; “for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.” v.15 and “Your brother will rise again.” v.23. Yet in the later part of the chapter we see Jesus’ humanity surfacing: “he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.” v.33, “Jesus wept.” v.35. He was deeply troubled and wept (which is the only record of him weeping).
Now this is encouraging for us because knowing the bigger picture (the divine perspective) did not stop Jesus … yes, Jesus … from being saddened by the situation. He didn’t approach this with some kind of detachment saying: “Yeah, I know it’s bad from a human perspective, but, man, if you only knew (like I do) how amazingly things will turn out, you would be filled with joy and not be sad.” Even Jesus could not pull this one like so many Christians try on themselves or on others. In the situation, regardless of the overarching divine purpose, there is pain, things are bad and there are legitimate reasons to grieve. In Jesus we learn that is OK to acknowledge that the divine purposes don’t always work out smooth, but that there is pain and suffering, that they are not always clean but sometimes they could be messy. In v.38 we find a Jesus who works out God’s plan thinking: I wish it was different, I wish there could be another way (which reminds us of his prayer in the garden about His imminent death).
As we follow in the way of Jesus it is good to be reminded that it is OK to embrace our humanity.