Conntecting the Dots

Why are You Crying?

Jesus asked super-insightful questions and one of my favorites is, “Why are you crying?” Here’s the context.

It was the third day after Jesus’ crucifixion. According to Matthew 28, a violent earthquake took place that morning because an angel came from heaven to roll away the stone that covered the entrance to Jesus’ tomb. When Mary Magdalene and several other women showed up to visit the tomb, the angel told them not to be afraid, and then he said, “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you” (Matthew 28:5-7 NLT, emphasis mine).

The women stepped inside the tomb where they saw another angel. (Mark 16) The account as recorded in Luke 24:4 says Mary saw two angels in the tomb. In both passages, the angels repeated the message that the angel by the entrance declared to the women: Jesus wasn’t there because He had risen.

why are you crying?

To call Mary’s morning “extraordinary” would be an understatement. Imagine—she’d experienced an earthquake and multiple angel encounters, and she’d seen a massive stone rolled away to reveal an empty tomb where Jesus’ body linens lay minus the body. All the evidence pointed toward the truth of the angels’ words: Jesus wasn’t there because He had risen. You’d think Mary would have danced for joy, but she did the opposite. She stood alone outside Jesus’ tomb and wept.

The Greek word for weeping denotes “continually weeping.” In other words, Mary cried and cried and cried. This poor soul was distraught with a capital “D.” At one point, the angels in the tomb posed the question: “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away and I don’t know where they have put him,” said Mary. (John 20:13)

Jesus appeared a few moments later and asked her the same question: ”Woman, why are you crying?”

Some theologians suggest that the angels and Jesus spoke to Mary in a tone of rebuke. “Woman, why are you crying? What’s wrong with you? Don’t you get what’s happening here?” I disagree because Scripture tells us that the Lord bottles our tears. In other words, our tears matter to Him.

I think Jesus and the angels asked the question in an inquisitive manner: “Woman, why are you crying?” They didn’t do this for their benefit; they already knew the answer. They asked the question for Mary’s benefit, to help her identify the lie she believed and replace it with truth.

Let’s Ask Ourselves the Same Question


Sometimes we do the same thing as Mary did. We tie ourselves in an emotional knot because we allow our difficult circumstances to consume our thoughts. We think we’re the only ones who have ever encountered such a problem. We feel like no one cares and there’s no way out. Others try to encourage us, but their words fall on deaf ears. We lose sight of the truth, and then we lose hope.

When we feel discouraged, we would do well to pause, take a deep breath, and ask ourselves the question: “Why are you crying?” The answer will bring clarity about our beliefs.

Mary’s beliefs denied the truth before her. All evidence pointed to Jesus’ resurrection, but she was convinced that someone had stolen his body. She believed a lie and therefore lost hope.

What do we believe in the face of disappointment or the death of a dream or the loss of someone we love? Do we allow our thoughts to take us down the wrong path into a place of hopelessness? Or do we fix our thoughts on the truth of who God is, on His unfailing love for us, on His power to overcome any challenge we face, and His presence with us?

When we find ourselves deeply discouraged and without hope, let’s ask ourselves the question, “Why am I crying?” The answer will bring clarity about our beliefs. Let’s be honest with ourselves, identify lies we’ve believed, and choose to live from the truth instead.

No matter how dark our circumstances appear, the truth is that Jesus is alive. He has overcome the grave. Let’s look for Him in our circumstances. He is with us, and everything is going to be okay.

May I pray for you? “God, thank You for the hope that comes in knowing Jesus is alive. Help us face our difficulties with that truth in mind. Guard our minds from dwelling on anything less. In Jesus’ name, amen.”


Be blessed with this song’s truth – Jesus is alive!

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