And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,…
Strangely mysterious are these tears! But they were as real as they are mysterious — solemnly and awfully real — the bitterest that ever descended from a grief-stricken countenance. They were the tears of a man, but the expression of Deity; and viewing them in the light of the ancient love and peculiar complacency with which Jerusalem and its inhabitants had been divinely regarded, we may designate them as the tears of disappointed affection. How briny and how many have been such tears, as they have fallen, hot and scalding, from the eyes of broken-hearted weepers! There are the tears of the father, welling up from the depths of parental love, in thinking of his prodigal boy. There are the tears of the mother, wept over a lost daughter — tears that had been less bitter had the green turf received them instead of a memory of shame. Bitter, indeed, are such tears, but not so intensive of sorrow as "the tears of Jesus wept over lost souls." I have read somewhere of a traveller who found a fragment of an arch among the ruins of Jerusalem; and by calculating on the principles of architectural construction, he proved that the arch, when complete, must have spanned the gulf that was near the city, and have rested on the other side. That ruined arch, to the eye of that traveller, indicated what it originally was, as contrasted with what it then was. Sin in the soul reveals the same thing. In man, apart from sin, we see what the soul was made to be. In sin we see what the soul is — a noble thing in ruins. It is solemnizing to walk amidst the vestiges of some sacred temple — to pick up here and there fragments of what were once objects of beauty and strength; to see in one place pieces of an antique window; in another, the segment of a colossal pillar; elsewhere, a remnant of tracery work, with bits of rich and curious mosaic. But what must have been the emotions of Jesus, as He stood there before the collapsed powers, and contemplated the desecrated sanctities of human temples! — souls once so fair in beauty, and so glorious in strength, that the Creator looked upon them, and "behold, they were very good!" Now so completely a wreck that as the Saviour looked, "He beheld and wept!" How fearful is the power belonging to man! Here we see the Son of God — One whose might and dominion over all material forces, satanic agencies, and physical ailments were absolute. No power stood in His way as a resisting medium save one; and this was a power of resistance that opened the floodgates of soul-sorrow, drew tears from His eyes, and broke forth in the convulsive exclamation: "O Jerusalem! Jerusalem!" In the light of these tears what awful responsibility is seen to clothe the human spirit! What power of will! — of a will that can resist the Divine will! "How often would I, but ye would not!"
(G. H. Jackson.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,