Is it nothing to you, all you that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow, which is done to me…
The crucified Christ is still amongst us. We may even now by faith behold the Lamb of God in the very act of sacrificing Himself for the sin of the world. There are many who do not pass by the Cross on which He hangs. Come joy or sorrow, come honour or disgrace, whether others join you or whether you should be alone, in life and in death, you are resolved in penitential love and joyful obedience to dwell beneath the shadow of the Cross of Christ. But there are others who "pass by." There are scorners and scoffers now, as in the times of old. All who live profligate and wicked lives; all who deliberately indulge in fleshly lusts; the licentious, the intemperate, the covetous, the proud, the revengeful; all who cherish some secret sin and will not give it up; all such "pass by"; for the sight of the great Example of self-sacrifice so condemns those who are resolved on a life of self-indulgence, and the sufferings He endured to save from sin so reproach those who determine to commit sin, that they cannot find any pleasure in their wickedness except as they banish Him from their thoughts; and so they "pass by." It is possible that none of you may be fairly classed either with scorners or profligates. But nevertheless you may pass by Christ. Here are some in holiday attire, tripping and dancing along. Listening to the syren voice of pleasure, they wander off, some in one direction, some in another, in quest of new delights and fresh excitements. They often come within reach of the Cross, but they do not even see it, or they look at it so listlessly that it produces no effect. Others rush past, eager to grasp the phantom. forms which beckon them onward and still fly before them. Here comes one bending beneath a heavy load which eagerly he increases, as ever and anon he picks up some shining bit of earth and adds it to his store. Stooping down and gazing intently on the ground, he does not see the Cross. Miserable man! Eager to multiply riches which increase your cares and which you must soon lose, you neglect the only true, the imperishable treasure, and pass by! Now approach a sorrowful company, in dark attire, their cheeks bedewed with tears, their heads bowed down with grief. Oh, why do you not look up to that great Example of suffering, that Brother in adversity? You are passing by Him who is able to remove at once the heaviest portion of your burden, and by His sympathy to wipe your tears and heal your wounds! Others approach who have often been here before. They stopped at first, and admired, and went on; but now the Cross is too familiar to attract their notice. Here come others apparently determined to remain. They are much interested in the Cross. One sits down to sketch it. Another examines the wood of which it is made. A third measures its height and thickness. It is possible to be profound theologians and eloquent preachers, and yet pass by Christ. Others approach who are too intent in contemplating themselves to consider the crucified One. Not confessing themselves to be sinners, they pass by the Saviour, as having no need of Him. At length others come who resolve not to pass by. They are arrested by the sight of that patient sufferer; they wonder, they admire, they regret their former ignorance and folly, they will amend their lives, they will abandon their sins, they will remain beside the Cross; but it shall be — tomorrow! And so they also pass by! In order to pass by Christ it is not necessary to insult. Ye who have never yet really mourned for sin and forsaken it; who are not earnestly seeking Christ and relying on Him as your only Saviour; who do not imitate His example and obey His commands; ye who are not, for His sake, crucifying the flesh, dying with Christ to sin, that you may live with Christ in holiness; whatever your external behaviour, in heart you are amongst those to whom Jesus appeals, "Is it nothing to you all ye that pass by?" Do not say it is nothing to you because you are not included in the favoured few for whom Christ died. He is the "propitiation for the sins of the whole world," and therefore for yours! You helped to fasten Christ to the Cross. Every sin was a blow of the hammer to drive in the nails. Is this nothing to you? On the Cross God proclaims that He is ready to pardon you and receive you home as His child; and that for this He gave Jesus to die for you. Is this nothing to you? Will you refuse to give heed to the earnest appeal of Him who beseeches you to be saved? What is anything to you if not Christ? If you heard a cry of "Fire," you might selfishly say, "It is nothing to me." But suppose it was your own house in flames? Sinner! it is your own soul which is in jeopardy, and it is for you that Jesus dies.
(Newman Hall, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.