Christ weeping over Jerusalem
OUR blessed Lord generally travelled on foot; but when he went up to Jerusalem to suffer, he rode, not only to shew his readiness to endure the cross, but that the words of the prophet might be fulfilled. …
Perhaps the rest of the company beheld Jerusalem with wonder, admiring its lofty domes, its stately structures, and magnificent temple; and might be ready to say, What city like unto this great city? But Christ was differently affected: he feels for its miseries, and pours out a lamentation.
Let us now consider more particularly what he did, and what be said on this affecting occasion.
I. What our Lord did: “He beheld the city, and wept over it.”
They were the tears of an affectionate father over his rebellious children, or of a compassionate judge pronouncing sentence upon a criminal. …
He wept for those who wept not for themselves, and because they did not weep for themselves; not for any disappointment respecting them, for things were as he knew they would be; but for their obstinacy and approaching ruin. More particularly,
1. He wept for the sins they had committed, and the evil treatment which he himself should receive at their hands.
2. He foresaw the calamities that were coming upon them, and desired not the woeful day. Their city and temple should be destroyed, and their whole nation dispersed into all parts of the earth.
3. Spiritual judgments also awaited them, and this was matter of still greater lamentation.
4. The final consequence of all this also affected the compassionate Saviour; namely, their everlasting ruin in the world to came.
II. Consider what our Lord said as well as did, when he came near and beheld the city - If thou hadst known even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid, etc.
1. The whole of religion is expressed by knowledge: “If thou hadst known.”
2. That which it chiefly concerns us to know is “the things which belong to our peace.”
3. There is a time to which this knowledge is confined and which is here called “this thy day”.
4. When the time is elapsed, our case will be forever hopeless. Now the things which belong unto thy peace “are hid from thine eyes”. Now all the preaching and bearing will be of no use: it is no longer an accented time or day of salvation.
(1.) Did Christ weep for sinners ; and shall they not weep for themselves? Does not God call us to weeping; and does not our case call for it? Let us look to him wham we have pierced, and mourn. Let us be in the gall of bitterness till the bond of iniquity be broken. O that God will take away the heart of stone, and give a heart of flesh.
(2.) Let us beware of rejecting the gospel, and trifling with our privileges, lest we be given up to final impenitence. Insensibility is the forerunner of destruction. “Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you; for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have the light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.” John 12:35, 36.
(3.) Let those who are truly acquainted with the things which belong to their peace be thankful, and adore the grace which has made them to differ. “Ye were once darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord. God is the Lord which hath shewed us light; bind the sacrifice with cords unto the horns of the altar.” Ps 118:27.
Did Christ o’er sinners weep;
And shall our cheeks be dry?
Let floods of penitential grief
Burst forth from every eye.
The Son of God in tears,
Angels with wonder see!
Be thou astonish’d, O my soul,
He shed those tears for thee.
He wept that we might weep,
Each sin demands a tear;
In heav’n alone no sin is found,
And there’s no weeping there.
[One of Beddome’s best known hymns, it is 587 in the book]