And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,…
The sight of Jerusalem, then, as Jesus was about to enter it, suggested the thought of national misery and degradation. He looked on the Temple, the place where the adorations and sacrifices of successive generations had been offered; it was now profaned. He looked on the city, the metropolis of Judaea, and the scene of high solemnities, and it was peopled by transgressors; was soon to be reduced by the might of a conquering power, its streets to be drenched with blood, and its buildings to be razed. Our Lord might chiefly allude to outward calamity, but can we doubt that the moral state of Jerusalem's inhabitants was what gave Him most concern? The doom spoken of descended as an act of vengeance, inflicted by God. But Jesus thought also of a still more pitiable wreck. He reflected on the consequences of unpardoned sin. It was not merely the overthrow of tower and palace, the destruction of what had been for so long a "house of prayer"; this called not forth an expression of such deep concern. It was principally an idea of the spiritual ruin coming upon such as had transgressed against so much light and warning, and who had resisted such earnest and oft-repeated pleadings.
I. In further speaking from these verses, we may consider, first of all, the words to imply, that the people of Jerusalem HAD ENJOYED A "DAY" — OF GRACE, NOW DRAWING TO A CLOSE — a time which had not been followed by suitable and adequate improvement.
II. Let us consider our Lord's manifestation of feeling and His words on this occasion, as showing THE IMPORTANCE OF IN TIME ATTENDING TO THE THINGS THAT "BELONG TO OUR PEACE."
III. It would appear that THERE IS A SET TIME ALLOWED FOR DOING THIS. Though it were true that the spirit of God ceases not to strive with man; though there were not danger of the sinner being wholly given up to his idols, yet to defer so great a work is hazardous and foolish. Is that the best time for turning to God when languor and decay are attacking the frame?
IV. Our Saviour's declaration, when He bewailed Jerusalem's impenitence, is A PLEDGE OF HIS CONCERN FOR THE STATE OF SINNERS GENERALLY. Observe how long-suffering He was, saying still, "Turn ye at My reproof." They had slain His prophets; they were about to shed His blood; they had cast dishonour on the law and appointments of the Most High, provoking Him to anger; yet Jesus' sorrow showed the grief that filled His soul. These were the words of One who knew no guile, and to whom iniquity was abhorrent. Be encouraged therefore, O sinner, however many thine iniquities and pungent thy sense of guilt, to seek His favour.
(A. R. Bonar, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,