And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,…
We are touched by the tears of a little child; for they are the sign of a genuine, if a simple, sorrow. Much more are we affected by the tears of a strong and brave man. When a man of vigorous intelligence, accustomed to command himself, gives way to tears, then we feel that we are in the presence of a very deep and sad emotion. Such were the tears of Christ. Twice, at least, he wept; and on this occasion we understand that he gave free vent to an overpowering distress. The tears of Christ speak of two things more especially.
I. HIS TENDER SYMPATHY WITH HUMAN SORROW, The grief which now overwhelmed the Saviour was (as we shall see) very largely due to his sense of its past and its approaching guilt. But it was also due, in part, to his foreknowledge of the sufferings its inhabitants must endure. An intense sympathy with human woe was and is a very large element in the character and life of Jesus Christ.
1. It was his compassion for our race that brought him from above - that we by his poverty might become rich.
2. It was this which, more than anything else, accounts for the miracles he wrought. He could not see the blind, and the lame, and the fever-stricken, and the leprous without tendering them the restoring grace it was in his power to bestow. He could not see mourning parents and weeping sisters without healing the heart-wounds he was able to cure.
3. It was this which drew to himself the confidence and affection of loving hearts. It was no wonder that pitiful women and tender-hearted children, and men whose hearts were unhardened by the world, were drawn in trust and love to the responsive Son of man, whose step was always stopped by a human cry, to whose compassion no stricken man or woman ever appealed in vain.
4. It is this feature of his character which makes him so dear to us now as our Divine Friend. For in this world, where sorrow treads so fast on the heels of joy, and where human comforters so often fail us, of what priceless value is it to have in that Everlasting One, who is the Ever-present One, a Friend who is "touched" with our griefs, and who still carries our sorrows by the power of his sympathy!
(1) Let us thank God that we have such a Friend in him; and
(2) let us resolve before God that such a friend will we seek and strive to be.
II. HIS PROFOUND REGRET FOR THOSE WHO ARE IN THE WRONG. With what eyes do we look upon human sin when we see it at its worst? How are we affected by the sight of a drunkard, of a thief, of a foul-mouthed and fallen woman? Are we filled with contempt? Many bad things are indeed contemptible; but there is a view to be taken which is worthier and more Christ-like than that; a view which is more humane and more Divine - a feeling of profound pitifulness and sorrowful regret. It was this which filled the heart of Christ when he looked upon Jerusalem, and that called forth his tearful lamentation. Much was there about that city that might well move his righteous anger, that did call down his strong, unsparing indignation (Matthew 23.) - its spiritual arrogance, its religious egotism, its fearful pretentiousness, its deep-seated hypocrisy, its heartless cruelty, its whitewash of ceremony without with all its corruptness and selfishness within. But Jesus forebore to denounce; he stopped to weep. He was most powerfully affected by the thought that Jerusalem might have been so much to God and man, and was - what she was. Jesus Christ was not so much angered as he was saddened by the presence and the sight of sin. He might have withered it up in his wrath, but he rather wept over it in his pity. This is the Christian spirit to be cherished and to be manifested by ourselves. We must contemn the contemptible; but we rise to higher ground when we pity the erring because they are in error, when we mourn over the fallen because they are down so low, when we grieve for those who are afar off because they are astray from God and blessedness. But we must not only weep for those who are in the wrong because they are in the wrong. We must do our utmost to set them right. "How often" did Christ seek to gather those sons and daughters of Jerusalem under the wings of his love! How often and how earnestly should we seek to reclaim and to restore! - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,