How Many Times Jesus Wept in the Bible (Jesus Weeps)

In this broken world, you and I understand weeping. So it is powerful to know that Jesus wept. His compassion and sorrow to weep demonstrate just how much He loves each one of us. 

So how many times did Jesus weep in the Bible? Only twice. And each occasion where He wept is eye-opening and instructive. Let’s look at Jesus’ tears more closely.


How Many Times Did Jesus Weep?
Jesus Weeps at the Death of Lazarus
Jesus Wept Over Jerusalem
Did Jesus Weep in the Garden of Gethsemane?
Does Jesus Weep With Us?
Why Should We Weep Over Our Sin?

How Many Times Did Jesus Weep?

During my research, I ran across various sources that counted Jesus weeping three times or more. Some attributed the “loud cries” of Christ Jesus as actual tears. The original language does not support that interpretation. 

Other references, like the book of Hebrews, count Jesus as weeping when it only refers to the actual times Jesus wept (Hebrews 5:7).

There is a common misconception that Jesus wept in the Garden of Gethsemane. However, on the pages of Scripture Jesus wept only twice. One time for the present suffering of friends, and the other time for the future suffering of His people.

1. Jesus Weeps at the Death of Lazarus 

One of the most well-known instances of Jesus weeping is over the death of his friend Lazarus. 

Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, ‘Lord, he whom you love is ill‘” (John 11:1-3).

Now Jesus loved Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha (John 11:5). He visited them often and enjoyed their friendship.

rain, weep

Jesus Arrives in Bethany

Lazarus had been dead for four days by the time Jesus arrived at their house in Bethany. The book of John tells us what happened next. 

Mary remained in the house, but Martha ran to meet Jesus. “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you” (John 11:21-22). Ouch.

Despite her grief and harsh accusation, Martha still believes that Jesus can perform a miracle. Martha’s grief was not a lack of faith. Like us, Martha understood that Jesus could take hurt-filled questions without writing us off. She clung to the faith that He had given her and believed in a miracle. What a testimony!

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in His spirit and greatly troubled. And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how He loved him!” (John 11:33-36)

The Purpose of Jesus’ Delay

Jesus intentionally delayed going to Bethany and the tomb of His friend Lazarus despite Mary and Martha’s message. Why? “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (John 11:4). 

Jesus knew that his close friend Lazarus’ earthly death was not eternal. And He wanted everyone there to understand that truth, as well.

Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world‘” (John 11:25-27).

Again, what faith! Now the stage was set and the audience was present for Jesus to perform a miracle regarding Lazarus’ death.


Lazarus Raised From the Dead

Only Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. And the entire village had the privilege of seeing firsthand that truth come to life as they went to Lazarus’ tomb:

Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.’ When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out.’ The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go‘” (John 11:38, 41-44).

What a scene to behold! Jesus spoke three power-packed simple words, “Lazarus, come out.” And many of the Jews present at the tomb of Lazarus believed in Jesus. 

Despite our worst moments of pain and suffering, Jesus is our hope and refuge. The Name of the Lord is a strong tower (Proverbs 18:10) and we can run to Him. 

When we believe by faith that Jesus suffered, died, rose from the grave, and sits on heaven’s throne, our earthy death is a precursor to spending eternity with Him. 


2. Jesus Wept Over Jerusalem

The second occasion in the holy Bible where we see tears of sorrow from Jesus is on the day of His triumphal entry. 

And when He drew near and saw the city, He wept over it, saying, ‘Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes'” (Luke 19:41-42).

It would be easy to see that Palm Sunday parade as Jesus’ victory dance into Jerusalem. In reality, it was the beginning of His last days on earth. 

As what we call “Holy Week” began, the people spread their cloaks in front of Jesus’ donkey and cheered as He rode into Jerusalem. But Jesus’s tears reveal that He knew what was coming for the people of Jerusalem:

For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation” (Luke 19:43-44).

The Lutheran Study Bible sums up that moment beautifully: “Jesus weeps over Jerusalem’s present blindness and future fate. His heart still breaks for those who have not yet received His Word” (p.1757).


Did Jesus Weep in the Garden of Gethsemane?

The New Testament reveals that on the night that Jesus was betrayed, Jesus first spent time with His disciples in the Upper Room. 

As they finished with Jesus instituting the Lord’s Supper, they walked outside the city of Jerusalem toward the Mount of Olives.

The Garden of Gethsemane was a walled garden full of olive trees used for extracting oil. Just east of Jerusalem, Jesus and His disciples often met in the Garden. A portion of that Garden remains today which is a truly special stop on my regular trips to the Holy Land.

A. Jesus in the Garden

Jesus spent time in deep, sorrowful prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Here we see this Man of Sorrows in emotional turmoil as He understands the task ahead of Him. 

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here, while I go over there and pray.’ And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me‘” (Matthew 26:36-38, ESV). 

Jesus was sorrowful, yet Scripture does not say that He wept. The Gospel of Luke reveals what happened:

And there appeared to Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony He prayed more earnestly; and His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:43-44, ESV). 

Jesus’ sorrow produced sweat like great blood drops, not tears. The heart of Jesus was broken on our behalf that night because of His deep love for us. 

Saying a simple “thank you” for Jesus’ sacrifice does not even begin to express our gratitude for such a life-changing gift.

B. What Jesus Accomplished in the Garden

The Son of God understood that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). So He took our sin to the cross to offer us the certain hope of eternity with Him (John 3:16).

Upon Jesus that night was laid the entire weight of the world’s sin–past, present, and future. I do not believe we can fully imagine the gargantuan weight of our sin load. Instead of weeping, Jesus prayed.

And going a little farther He fell on His face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will'” (Matthew 26:39, ESV).

In the Garden, our Lord Jesus Christ surrendered His will to God so that we might have everlasting life. Talk about Good News of great joy! 

Our sinful human nature relegated us to hell, but Jesus could not bear the thought. So He offered His perfect life in genuine love to every human being who believes by faith that He died and rose victoriously for their salvation.

Does Jesus Weep With Us?

Jesus is known as the Suffering Servant. Isaiah 53:3 tells us: “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” Jesus knew suffering throughout His earthly life. He was maligned by religious leaders and suffered unimaginable physical pain. 

“Jesus wept” is the shortest verse of the Bible (John 11:35, ESV). It is also one of the most profound statements of Christ’s humanity.

Sometimes the comfort we need amid heartbreaking trouble is to reflect upon a weeping Savior who still weeps for us. But if Christ continues to weep, He continues to suffer. And if He continues to suffer, He cannot say about his atoning work “It is finished” (John 19:30).

However, Scripture confirms that our Lord God grieves: “How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved him in the desert!” (Psalm 78:40, also Ephesians 4:30

Jesus wept on earth. Literal weeping is never attributed to Christ in heaven. But it is certainly accurate and comforting to understand that God’s heart is moved, grieved, and broken by our sin (Genesis 6:6).

rain, weep

Why Should We Weep Over Our Sin?

Let’s start with the simple truth. We are all sinners who fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). And the truth about sinners is that we sin.

Sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2), and it has since sin entered into the world and removed Adam and Eve from paradise (Genesis 3).

The very last thing we want is to be separated from the One who provides eternal life. So we weep over our sin. We confess to our Holy God and receive divine forgiveness.

God sent Jesus to justify and redeem us as a free gift of grace (Romans 3:24-25). Jesus gave His life so that we might have the righteousness of God. When we fall into willful sin (or any other sin), those actions and thoughts spit on Jesus’ sacrifice. 

​Our loving Father sacrificed His only Son for us. The very least we can do is to rely on His strength to live good, godly lives that point people to Jesus.

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About the Author

Donna Snow is a sought-after speaker, multi-published author, and Bible teacher. Her path from unchurched to becoming passionate about sharing Jesus was difficult. Read about her God-breathed journey: “From Unchurched to Becoming a Multi-Published Author and Sought-After Speaker.” If you want to send Donna a quick message, then visit her here.

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