"Where have you laid him? Take away the stone. Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" (John 11:34-40)

Within and between these statements by Jesus indicate an often-hidden aspect of who Jesus was and a critical part of his teachings.

Here is the text surrounding these statements:
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. "Where have you laid him?" he asked. "Come and see, Lord," they replied. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, "See how he loved him!" But some of them said, "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?" Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. "Take away the stone," he said. "But, Lord," said Martha, the sister of the dead man, "by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days." Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" (John 11:33-40)
Why did Jesus weep? Was he crying because he was mourning the death of one of his students?

Certainly not. After all, Jesus taught his students not to mourn for the dead, and to discern between life and death:
"Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead." (Matt. 8:22)
Rather, Jesus was responding to the sadness of those around him for the death of Lazarus' body:
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.
This means that Jesus was not troubled by the death of Lazarus' body. He was troubled by those around him not understanding the difference between the living person and the physical body.

The physical body is merely a temporary vehicle we drive around for a few decades and then leave. The physical body is also not even a permanent structure while it is alive. It is always changing. Science has determined that all of the atoms and molecules making up our body today will be gone and replaced by new atoms and molecules within five years. This also means that within five years we have changed bodies.

Meanwhile, each of us - spirit-persons who drive these temporary physical bodies - continue to live, unchanged, within the body. And when the body dies, the spirit-person leaves the body.

Jesus knew this. So he was not saddened by Lazarus' death. He knew Lazarus would be fine. But he was saddened by the fact that those around him did not understand this most basic tenet of spiritual life.

Martha did understand that the living person lives on, as she had commented on resurrection (see previous verse).

But sadly, this basic lack of understanding among the others regarding the physical body has continued through the centuries of ecclesiastical sectarianism. Furthermore, because of this lack of understanding regarding our spiritual identity, the interpretations and even translations of Jesus' life and teachings have often been faulty.

And it is this very lack of understanding by those around him that deeply troubled Jesus. Jesus loved these people. He truly cared for them spiritually, and he was saddened by their lack of understanding. He was trying to teach them, but they were focused upon the physical trappings - Jesus' miracles and so on. They were not trusting in his message. They were too engorged in their identification with their bodies and their own goals for physical happiness.

The false self-identification with the physical body is very strong. This is because we want to be away from God. God has allowed us to forget Him by creating a false identity. Because love is based upon freedom, God gave each of us the freedom to love Him or not. Those of us who chose not to love God landed here in the physical world and took on temporary physical bodies in order to exercise our freedom.

It was necessary for us to take on temporary physical bodies to escape our real selves because by nature each of us was created to love and care for God in our own unique way. Therefore, loving service to God is our natural activity, and our spiritual bodies - ourselves - are shaped around our particular relationship with the Supreme Being.

In other words, in order to get away from God, we must take on a false identity and live in the illusion that He doesn't exist.

We often see this type of activity elsewhere - where people will assume another identity in order to escape their current situation. A wife and mother might dress up in some tight jeans and toss her hair and go out to a young-person's night club to escape her identity as a wife and mother for a night on the town, for example.

In the same way, we are "dressed" in our physical bodies so we can forget God's existence and chase our fantasies for awhile in the physical world. While this wasn't so much our choice as a requirement, the end is the same - we were teach tossed out of the spiritual realm and forced to take on false identities in order to express our desire to be away from the Supreme Being.

The question now is whether we want to return to God or not.

Should we decide we want to return to our relationship with God, the question then is whether we are really ready to return to our natural position of loving and caring for the Supreme Being.

This is precisely why this physical world isn't just fun and games. God created the physical world to allow us to ignore Him, but He also designed it in such a way as to help us rehabilitate. For this reason, the physical world is also a place of consequence, where every selfish activity has a consequence.

God also sends His representatives to bring those who want to return to Him back home. This was Jesus' mission, and how he described himself:
"If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but He sent me” (John 8:42)
So Jesus is clear that the Supreme Being sent him to help us return to Him. So it troubled Jesus how few were actually hearing his message.

This is precisely why Jesus said the above statement: "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"

Many of today's ecclesiastical sectarian teachers like to interpret "believed" as believing that Jesus died for our sins. They say that this is all we need to do and we are saved. But is this really what Jesus was saying?

Jesus was standing right in front of them. He had not been crucified. So he was obviously not talking about them believing he died for their sins.

The word “believed” is being translated from the Greek word πιστεύω (pisteuō). This means, according to the lexicon,“to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in.” What is being described, then, is trust.

Jesus was telling the people around him - the Jews and his students - that if they simply trusted his teachings then they would see God's glory. In other words, they would return to God. Jesus provides the means to return to God. It is his teachings. He was asking them to hear his teachings and follow his instructions. He was trying to teach them to give up their false identification with this temporary physical body and the illusions of happiness - materialism - of this physical world. He was essentially asking them to re-develop their loving relationship with the Supreme Being:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matt. 22:37-38)


(For a translation of Jesus' statements from the Gospel of John without sectarian institutional influence, see the Devotional Translation  - translated from the original Greek texts.)