"When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved."
We are missing something in this translation. The New English Bible is probably closest to the original Greek in offering, "Jesus was moved with indignation and greatly distressed" but it still does not convey the full impact of the original. Two words describe Jesus's emotional engagement
when he sees the weeping of Mary and the crowd of official Jewish mourners who surround her. The first means literally 'to be moved with anger', or 'to admonish sternly', and also to 'snort like a horse'. Mark's gospel uses the same word in the story of the woman who anoints Jesus, to describe the reaction of hue he disciples to her wastefulness - 'they scolded her, or admonished her sternly'. We tend to assume that confronted by the outward display of grief by Mary, Martha and the crowd,
Jesus empathises and joins in with their behaviour. But in fact the Greek is saying something else. It is saying that his responses included indignation and perplexity. For the second word - ταρασσω - translated in our version as 'greatly moved' means to 'stir up' (like the waters of the pool of
Bethsaida ) and in the case of a person to be churned up, troubled or perplexed.
So why is Jesus indignant - even angry - and perplexed? ...